Books I Read in July

Here are the books I’ve read in July, in chronological order.

Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible: This is probably my fault for leaving this on my shelf for so long, but this book is already outdated, because it was written in 2008. I didn’t find this book as educational or informative as Hyperspace, and I was disappointed in it. I found the book repetitive and tedious at times. I will continue to read books about physics, but it may be a while before I revisit Michio Kaku. The psychic animals that I shared earlier still remains the best part of the book.

***

a village lifeLouise Gluck’s A Village Life: I already wrote about this somewhat extensively yesterday, so I thought I’d just leave another part of a poem that I loved, Solitude:

“Now we return to what we were,
animals living in darkness
without language or vision –

Nothing proves I’m alive.
There is only the rain, the rain is endless.”

***

Catch-22Joseph Heller’s Catch-22: I am planning on writing a book review about this soon, but what is there to say that hasn’t already been said over the last 50 years? This book is dark, hysterical, satirical, and deeply moving. I never wanted it to end, and I understand now why a girl I went to school with wrote “Yossarian Lives!” on the front of her notebooks and binders. I will try to watch the movie adaptation soon as well, but I am a little nervous to see it as a movie – have you seen it before?

***

Speak NowKenji Yoshino’s Speak Now: I have been thinking about Yoshino recently in light of the presidential race. The way that he humanizes and explains the position of those who disagree with him has really spoken to me. It may be easier for him because his “side” won the case, but the book was written devoid of anger and blame while still being extremely personal. I think that is such an accomplishment in and of itself. It is a kind of grace that I find myself lacking, and I try to remind myself of it whenever I am upset with what I read in the news.

***

the buried giantKazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant: This was Mary’s pick for our next book club meeting. I’ll be sharing a reading guide and some discussion questions next week as I sift through all of the information out there. For now, I’ll say that I thought this is one of the best books by Ishiguro that I have read recently. I didn’t like When We Were Orphans or A Pale View of Hills very much and was almost ready to throw in the towel on Ishiguro.

Advertisements

Physics of the Impossible – Psychic Animals

I just finished reading Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible, which explores and explains a lot of the different things we see in science fiction novels. One of my favorite chapters was on telepathy.

te·lep·a·thy (noun): the supposed communication of thoughts or ideas by means other than the known senses.

Guess what? According to Michio Kaku, telepathy is not impossible – just not the kind of psychic powers that we see on tv – like mind reading, future telling (sorry, tarot aficionados!) The most interesting part of the chapter though, in my opinion, was a brief history on telepathy, which included the animals that duped humans. Here are the psychic animals (all horses, for some reason) that Kaku mentions.

(A photograph of Clever Hans, not Morocco, since obviously no one could have photographed 1590)

Morocco the Horse:  One of the earliest cases of a psychic animal, Morocco the Horse lived in the 1590s. Morocco could spell, do math, and identify people in a crowd. He was so popular that Shakespeare wrote him into his play, Love’s Labour’s Lost as “the dancing horse.”

Moth: Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here

is three studied, ere ye’ll thrice wink: and how

easy it is to put ‘years’ to the word ‘three,’ and

study three years in two words, the dancing horse

will tell you.

Continue reading