Thursday, August 13, 2009


Stack of last minute, late summer reading (less than 2 weeks before school starts).

Alva Noe, Out of Our Heads: Why you are not your brain, and other lessons from the biology of consciousness. Hill & Wang, 2009. Just about done with this. Whereas Clark (below) still, in the end, separates consciousness from the world, Noe does not. Noe: "Notably, neither Clark not Chalmers has sympathy for the idea developed here that consciousness itself can be explained only if we make use of such an extended conception of the machinery of the mind" (p. 196)

Andy Clark, Supersizing the Miind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension. Oxford, 2008.

Maggie Jackson, Distracted: The erosion of attention and the coming dark age. Prometheus Books, 2008. Got this last summer, but finally sitting down to work my way through it. It really brings in a broad range of research.

Winifred Gallagher, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life. The Penguin Press (2009).
Somewhat disappointed in this; it's more "lite" than Gallagher (which is more densely researched). Though as an argument for the need to pay attention in life, especially to others in one's life, to meditate, &c. it's a useful book.

Hal Niedzviecki, The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors. CityLights Books. Just starting on it; it seems a fun read. (Thanks to Greg S for the recommendation)

And I've been lapped by Thomas Pynchon. His latest, Inherent Vice, is on the bedside table. Just six pages, in, but it's reading fast and seems lots of fun. Meanwhile, I'm still only on p. 322 of his last one, Against the Day, which I really like, but don't get great swaths of time to read. 763 pages to go (and the font's a couple points smaller than Inherent Vice, too)!

Still haven't cracked Neal Stephenson's Anathem, and am just over halfway through Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, which doesn't quite have the spark of the earlier ones in the series. Every few months I pick it up and read a couple of chapters.

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