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05 February 2014


Catching up with my blog-reading ... this makes me think of an offhand comment made in THE CAVE AND THE LIGHT, a history of the warring influences of Plato and Aristotle in Western civilization (yes, I can see your eyelids drooping, don't worry, I'm not recommending it; I mean, I'm enjoying the heck out of it, but I'll bet it's not your thing)

Anyways, he notes that while almost all real scientific work is owed to Aristotle's emphases -- careful observation of the natural world, categorization based on details, building incrementally upon previous work -- almost all *histories* and popular accounts of scientific discovery are actually more Platonic -- that is, focussing on the sudden "aha!" moment of clarity, cutting through the illusion of assumptions, and revealing in stunning brilliance that which we had always subconsciously "known".

(Which is possibly why I, with my Platonic leanings, adore popular science books, and spouse, a Real Live Working Scientist, can't stand them!)

Actually, now I'm kind of interested in The Cave and the Light book you mention. Although I suspect it might also be beyond me at this point in my reading life. Fascinating premise, though.
What DOES your spouse, the Real Live Working Scientist, like to read, if I might be so nosy?

Ha! That's a good question, since he's always asking me to "get me something to read, you know what I like, something trashy."

And after 25 years of marriage and more than that of Readers Advisory, I still find myself stumped sometimes.

He loves histories of exploration and colonization (especially those with a "Great Man" focus, like Tim Jeal's books and the new LAWRENCE IN ARABIA), and books about planes -- I bought him STICK AND RUDDER after your glowing review, and it's always on his nightstand -- and space opera with great worldbuilding, and police procedurals set in cities he knows very well, like London and Nairobi.

If there's a common thread there (beyond sense of place), I've yet to tease it out.

Fascinating! And so glad to know others have enjoyed "Stick and Rudder" (and describe it as "something trashy"). Has your husband seen the book "The X-15 Rocket Plane" by Michelle Evans? A fabo history of the plane that immediately preceded space flight. I indexed it last year, and although it's not really my subject area, I really enjoyed it. Can't help you with police procedurals, though, I don't know those very well.
Funny and nice that he trusts you to bring him something, whatever, though. That's got to be one of the marks of a great marriage. :)

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