March Reading List

Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett
TP takes on war, the military and misogyny on his own terms and after his own now famous style. The setting is of course Discworld and the technology of the day, is approximately C18 in old money, but as always the parallels and satires apply very well to the present day. The one criticism being that he is just a bit too jolly to give these bastards the savaging they deserve.

Expecting someone taller – Tom Holt
TH’s first book, Wagnerian gods, Rhinemaidens, Nieblung and a unprepossessing accidental hero called Malcolm. I was pleasantly surprised by it, normally I am quite mocking of Tom Holt, and while it is second division stuff (when compared to the greats of English comic fiction) it has its moments and his heart is in the right place.

Rethinking Innateness – Elman, Bates, Johnson, Karmiloff-Smith, Parisi, Plunkett
A ground breaking collaboration that aimed to mark a break with boring old ideas of nature and nurture and to develop an approach to and outlook on cognitive neuroscience that is properly informed by the very latest thinking in neurophysiology, connectionist simulation and developmental psychology .

Luminous – Greg Egan
Another one of his head spinning, neuron tangling collections of cognitive science fiction short stories. Almost better than his extended books, so many different ideas introduced and delivered with enough detail to get you thinking but not so much as to do it all for you.

The Impressionist – Hari Kunzru U75 march bookgroup choice.. wrote about this one earlier

The Sexual Outlaw – John Rechy
A cockumentary (if you will) on the ins & outs of gay cruising and hustling in mid 70’s Los Angeles. Mostly a mixture of unrelenting sex-hunting, vain insecurity and posing and monstrously unjust legal persecution by the police. But with occasional moments of true tenderness, passion and poignancy.

The Act of Creation – Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler must have eaten whole shoals of fishes in his time, and surely has to wear his baseball caps on the widest popper; He’s one sharp cookie. As this sweeping survey of the creative impulse in arts and sciences ably demonstrates. The breadth and depth of his learning are illustrated with countless quotations and insightful analysis of the works of diverse creative geniuses. Joyful and inspiring (if a little sweeping in its theorising!)

Reefer Madness – Eric Schlosser
The author of Fast Food Nation (which taught me that chipped potatoes really are made cartoon style with a water cannon and a tennis racket ) returns to take a meticulously researched look at marijuana, soft fruit and pornography – the perfect ingredients of a quiet night in.


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