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Reading material June 12, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.
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Part of my course preparation is to read as much stuff as I can, both fiction and non-fiction. As such, after four months I finally finished Matt Ridley’s brilliant Nature via Nurture. Ridley is exactly the kind of science writer I dream of becoming: well-read, down-to-earth, clear, very knowledgable and extremely witty. Genome was largely responsible for me getting through my final year honours paper and I couldn’t resist borrowing this one from the resources at work (which I am responsible for!). Nature via Nurture tackles the long-running ‘genes vs environment’ debate, with Ridley arguing that it is not one or the other, but a combination of both, the extent to which depends on the trait and the circumstance. He doesn’t so much argue the case, as beat you over the head with it several times, but Ridley being Ridley, it’s all fascinating, well-thought out stuff and a fascinating insight into science past, present and future. He also does like his weird animal experiments which, given my recent work, seems rather poignant.

With the science reading done, I’m trying to get back to the classics. Picking up from my large list of ‘books to read’ on my shelf, Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is now a third of the way through. I’m still on my mission to read one of every great writer’s books and Hemingway is pretty good thus far. Not knowing too much about the Spanish civil war, I’m very impressed by the depth of his knowledge and the vividness of his descriptions. He does like his metaphors though and I’m not too sure of his use of old English “Thee”, “Thou” etc. in translating Spanish speech. Plus the protagonist is weirdly always referred to by his full name ‘Robert Jordon’. But let’s see how it goes.

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