I have just begun a family vacation by the beach in Massachusetts. Of course, I brought my favorite books with me. I have three I am working on now, and each one is bringing me great joy:
1. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn
This is my second reading – the first was when I was in college. This is a powerful book that broke open a new discipline. It describes how science progresses, which is not at all the way it appears looking backward through time. It’s easy to think of scientific progress as the relentless acquisition of mutually agreed upon knowledge, but that is far from the truth. The lessons learned from studying how science evolves is a great model for how any kind of knowledge spreads.
2. The Overstory: A Novel, by Richard Powers
An extraordinary read. Using the lives of ordinary citizens the author takes us into deep time to experience the larger unfolding of nature and humanity’s place in it. His scientific rigor is stupendous, as are his prose and ability to hook the reader in the story.
3. Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
Baldwin is a visionary who was able to articulate the raw influence of race on America and simultaneously deliver incisive insights that dramatically expand the field of possible futures. His heart is on display as he takes you into personalities modeled from his own childhood. “Mountain,” Baldwin once said, “is the book I had to write if I was ever going to write anything else.” Especially timely today, it is a tour de force and will transform from the inside out.
Every day (vacation or not) I read 25 pages of something! What will you read this week?
“The beauty of reading is that it lets you travel in a way you could never know.”