And would you recommend it to anyone else?
This topic by suggestion...
I just finished Enlightenment Now: The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress by Steven Pinker Viking Press
After so many "eons" of the current embarrassment in Washington DC, I needed to read something containing good news. The anthropologist Steven Pinker, has been researching how humanity is progressing over the years since the Enlightenment (1780's AD) It asked the questions What is going badly? and how can we make changes so the bad thing are lessened?
Pinker has some amazing findings. On just about every aspect of life, humans are doing much better than ever before. It may not seem that way living in the current mass media environment, but he will give you the straight history of just what people have been experiencing and doing since the Enlightenment began. And it is a global situation.
Mind you, I do not read light-hearted novels. I like hardcore non-fiction, that is not so easy to read and comprehend. I guess Noam Chomsky warped my perception of reading way back in the '80's. He was the first author I read after I finished all the Hobbits and Universal Hitchhiking and etc stories. Fiction is still great, but I mostly read non-fiction now. I find reality to be vastly weirder than anything imagined. This book was a lot of history. It got dry at times. I trudged thru it.
Mr Pinker has outlined huge improvements to the human experience, but all that can go away rather quickly. What I got out of this book was a way to be confident humanity is making huge leaps forward. Despite all the groups that want to pull us backwards, the mass of humanity is moving rather quickly towards a situation in which things like war, famine, disease and pestilence will disappear from our lives. It is happening. We can look at history and see how far we have come at ending these things. We have to be steadfast in not letting go of the one idea that has been so effective at helping people to live better lives. The universe will not provide nervana quickly. The Enlightenment has afforded us a means to make progress. Don't let the naysayers sway you away from progress. The finish line won't be achieved in our lifetimes. We can evolve over hundreds of generations. It will be better that way.
It was a good book for me to read. It did not give any answers, it only showed how the ideas of the Enlightenment are still alive and solving problems. There is no indication it is not going to lead us astray very far because within rational thought is the constant asking is this the best answer? We make corrections and making these corrections are expected.
Just finished Jorma's "Been So Long." I love it a lot. You might also.
What I especially like because it's such a nice change from so many memoir-type things I've read lately that are all about bad-mouthing other people, is that even as he's describing pretty dark stuff, theirs and his, he's quite candid about his own self. Even in the case of people that it's pretty much a cliche to talk bad about, he doesn't do it. There's much heart and sweetness as a result. Also an impressive array of misadventures that make you really happy he's still there to tell the tale. And a nice afterword by Jack.
Gearheads, whether guitars, cars, or bikes, will be in heaven, as he's a bit inclined to geek out over that stuff, but I like that too.
I've been wanting to read that, especially because The Body and Shawshank. Just been waiting to see it on the cheap at a used bookstore. I went thru a phase where I really wanted to read books of movies I like. The Green Mile for example. Loved the movie. The book, not so much. I, personally, don't think King is that good of a writer, but his stories, they can sometimes really captivate me....
I've got huge respect for the guy, but I just don't like the dark stuff. I'm partial to the Different Seasons collection (three of the four of which became movies), which includes Shawshank and The Body (aka Stand By Me), but even that isn't exactly sunny.
marye, If you like King's writing but not his subject matter, you might enjoy "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" by King. It's a well written psychological horror novel that isn't as dark or gruesome as many of King's novels. I read it a few years ago and gave it to my daughter to read after I read it.
Now I really like his writing. He's an incredible craftsman. It's his subject matter I have trouble with. I don't like spending time on the dark side.
Shawshank Redemption is one of the most satisfying stories ever, though.
But now I'm onto to The Insulted and the Humiliated. I don't know why I'm into reading their less famous works. It seems to take me a while to get going, then the book flies to the finish. I just love the way they write. I while back I started Thomas Wolfe's O Lost, the complete text of Look Homeward, Angel, and Kerouac's scroll of On The Road. It just something about how all these guys put words together. Like I can't read much Stephen King, for example. I love his mind, but not his writing...
I recently read Resurrection. It took me a while to get going, but worth it. I love Tolstoy...
I need to order that. I went to the booksigning at the Fillmore the other night and bought the book. But there's no substitute for Jerry's own voice.
It's so great to hear Jerry in his own voice. I love the reflections on Cassady. Especially the 'directing' the bus into the pole part in Chapter 5, pt. 2. I laughed out loud!
P.S. The item might be in your local library if you are lucky!