Recent Books — Smil, Candide, Wiesenthal

candideThe last set of books I read had some stinkers, perhaps not suprising given that I was surfing through popular genre fictions. Decided to raise my standards a little bit:

  • Harvesting the Biosphere by Vaclav Smil. Some random blogger recommended this book, it’s a descriptive survey of human consumption of the planet’s biological resources. Not very prescriptive, but interesting and great background data. Boy could the author use some data visualization advice tho, a few charts would go a LONG way.
  • Candide by Voltaire. What a fun book. My knowledge of mid-1700 European politics and intellectual movements is pretty thin, so thankfully the notes give a lot of context. We need a modern version of this talk written with our idiotic current government and politics as the setting.
  • The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal. This was in the house, I think one of kids had to read this at some point. Probably best read as part of a discussion group or class, the book is not that long or engaging, but the discussions could be very enlightening.