Book 52: Darwin’s Origin of Species by Janet Browne (2006)

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Another biography of Darwin. I don’t know how many more books about evolution should I read. I just felt really sorry for Alfred Russel Wallace. He rarely gets any credit, and all he did was letting Darwin to be the celebrity.

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Book 51: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife (2000)

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I think I just learned more about zero than I’d ever care to know. The first part of the book is more about the history of zero, which is interesting. The second part of the book contains some math and physics mumbo jumbo, which I only skimmed through at best. Hey, I already took all the Calculus and Physics classes that I needed. I’d like to move on with life, please.

I never really thought about the concept of zero. It means null, void. It’s bizarre the way Aristotle and even Descartes refused to admit there’s a zero, a void. I find it hard to believe that the Western rejection of the concept and the Eastern acceptance made all the difference as far as their development of science went. I remember thinking in elementary school why 0 can’t be divided by 0 to get one, but that was as deep as I got. For the most part I didn’t care. Still don’t, actually.

Interesting book, though.

Book 39: A Short History of Christianity by Stephen Tomkins (2005)

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This is the best history book I’ve ever read. It covers literally (almost) everything about Christianity – in a considerably thin book. I have of course read countless times about Martin Luther and the Reformation, but most of those writers are a bit sketchy on everything else. Either that or I kept being an inattentive reader during the exact same periods. This book, though, made me aware of who did what when how in Christianity. My life is complete now.

Oh, and a random fact: Hitler was inspired by none other than Nietzsche. Take that, you vegetarians.

Will definitely read this book again in the future. I’m reserving other thoughts for my other (private) blog.

Book 36: The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia by Noah McCullough (2006)

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This book was written by a ten-year-old who became especially interested in politics after the Florida fiasco. Wouldn’t he have been still in kindergarten back then? He must be a real genius . . . or something. I don’t doubt that his editor must also have worked extra hard before this book was published. I’m sorry, but I highly doubt that a kid could write that well. It’s bad enough he’s led us to believe that he knows politics. Cute stuff, though.

What is strange is the way he expresses what I swear is an admiration to George W. Bush. If I didn’t know any better, I could’ve sworn he is Republican. Glad he’s not allowed to vote until another eight years.

Book 35: The Book of General Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (2006)

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 Hello, people. I’m back.

We will start today with one of the best books I have ever read. It is as informative as it is well written. It corrects several myths that have persisted and informs us on facts that we would never have bothered to look up on our own. Among other things, I learned that that we have at least nine senses, there are at least fourteen states of matter (as opposed to just solid, liquid, and gas), and Alexander Fleming wasn’t the one who discovered penicillin. A particularly memorable phrase is the authors’ description of the Oompa Loompa as “multicolored futuristic punks with Mohawks hairdos.” I’ll certainly remember that for a long, long time.

All in all, a very nice book. A quick read and I was sorry I finished it so fast.

Book 32: Painless American Government by Jeffrey Strausser (2004)

Nice and concise.

Book 21: Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter (2004)

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I’m sorry, I thought I knew what “concise” means. At 600+ pages including appendix and index, this is the thickest book I have to read this week. I only ended up skimming it though. Even though I’ve never been an especially good Catholic, I actually know the history of the Church. (See how it is capitalized? That makes all the difference.) Of course it helps that I also took a couple classes on Western civilization and read The Da Vinci Code. I am truly the enlightened one.

Although comprehensive, this book may be even better if it were more engaging. The author tries so hard to cover everything about the Church from A to Z that he barely brushes upon the more interesting parts. I mean, come on. All I wanted was some sensationalism and made-up anecdotes. Those would have kept me awake.