How about a reading list?

It has been a thrilling whirlwind. I’m in Boca Raton with my family for Passover to relax, and the last thing I want to do is spend the time on the computer. But knowing that you dear readers sit and wait with bated breath for my next blog post, I’m whipping up something. Instead of linking to things that I’ve read as I usually do, I will link to things I am planning on reading when I have the time, that are sitting in my bag or my browser window. Keeping an exciting to-read list is essential as it gives me something to look forward to, and I post it in the hopes that you will read some of it and we can discuss!

  • The book Death and Life of Great American Cities, which I am halfway though. Jane Jacobs was an academic celebrity in the 70s, and her criticism of what makes cities livable and unlivable is still relevant today.
  • The Upanishads, a classic book of Indian spirituality. Thanks for the suggestion Aartik!
  • I was asking a lot of questions about the three dimensions–specifically, where are the three dimensions? I get the usefulness of the labeling convention, but I wonder if it’s just a mathematical construct and unrelated to the actual structure of the universe. I don’t think any physicist would say there is some universal xyz axis just chilling there. So my question is, how has this labeling construct seeped into and limited our understanding of the real world, and are there alternate ways to quantify space? So I’m going to read about Minkowski space and continue this fruitless line of Google searches.
  • My cousin copied me on a debate he had about Free Will. My ideas about this are pretty fixed, but I do think it’s a cool contradiction that we can *not* believe in free will but at the same time experience the world as if we have freedom. I think it’s a similar thing as us believing we are part of a computer simulation (why not?) but not being able to really feel this – we cannot experience something that is greater than ourselves in this way. So I’m reading Wikipedia for Free Will, Neuroscience of Free Will, and Compatibilism and Incompatibilism.
  • I’d like to watch some of the top 10 Film Courage interviews, including #5 with Ted Hope
  • Speaking of Ted, I want to read 2 (one two) blog posts of his that I have been saving for later.
  • We’re planning on watching Lust, Caution tonight, which was called one of Ang Lee’s most ambitious works.

I guess I cheated with the videos. Oh well.



3 Comments to “How about a reading list?”

  1. Daniela 28 March 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Jane Jacobs is in the canon of urban studies books. Curiously enough, she was no scholar, just an old lady who loved her community. Would love to hear your thoughts on Death and Life. Also, if you become particularly interested in the subject, I’d recommend following that up with the Power Broker, which is about Jacobs’ arch-nemesis, Robert Moses. There’s been a recent book about Jacobs called Wrestling With Moses, which has gotten great reviews as well.

  2. Mike 28 March 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    Thanks for the tips! I have heard about Wrestling With Moses (I think I saw it on the shelf of a bookstore) and it sounds very interesting. So far her observations are totally spot on. I do think it’s funny, though, that she talks about “finally approaching the question of the city with rigorous scientific inquiry” and then her entire book is anecdotal. But that just points to a) how unscientific city planning used to be and b) how making a discipline data-driven is a many-step process.

    Have you read Wrestling?

  3. Daniela 28 March 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Haven’t, but definitely on my reading list! Maybe that’ll be next for me. We should read and discuss.

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