My favorites from my reading last year? Here they are:
Book That Best Hears Both Sides
Mapping the Origins Debate
Naturalistic evolution? The debate among those who care is hot, heavy and contentious. Along comes Gerald Rau, who can actually hear all sides (and who helps us do the same), presenting strengths and weaknesses of six views in as generous, gracious and civil a manner as possible. A model for us all to emulate in this age of bipartisan extremism.
This is the book I have found myself most frequently telling others about in the past year. It’s practical, wise, well-written and excellent for individuals (buying a car, choosing a college, considering retirement) or organizations (hiring and firing, making strategic decisions, replacing old copiers). Good for just about anyone who has a decision to make.
The Book I Most Often Kept Saying “Yes, But” to Myself As I Read It
A People’s History of the United States
Can’t deny that Howard Zinn has his facts right. And the
result is American history that is not pretty. Too often terrible choices have been made, most notably regarding Native Americans, slavery and unnecessary wars. But while the facts were right, I kept saying “yes, but” throughout the book to his interpretations. Do we really live in a world where economics determines everything? Is that really the most important thing about humans? Did nothing good happen in the last five hundred years? Yes, I recommend the book, but . . . .
I Remember Nothing
Nora Ephron, perhaps best known as the screenwriter for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, offers a collection of delightful and witty essays on ordinary life. Found myself laughing aloud throughout.
Most Blogged About on Andy Unedited (tie)
Stylish Academic Writing
As in 2013, this category was won by books on writing. Stylish Academic Writing appropriately makes professors and graduate students sit in the corner for their jargon-filled, abstract, impersonal, sleep-inducing prose but also gives excellent pointers for overcoming the forces of academic conventions. In Good Prose a writer and editor who have worked together for forty years talk about the craft of nonfiction writing from both sides that offers sage advice well worth taking to heart.