Bradbury does for the emotional and social effects of robots what Asimov did for the logical and programming side. Most of the value comes from the clBradbury does for the emotional and social effects of robots what Asimov did for the logical and programming side. Most of the value comes from the classic novella that starts things off -- "I Sing the Body Electric," although the others are mostly thought-provoking as well, especially in the context of other books I'm reading at the same time -- "What to Think About Machines That Think" and "The Age of Em"...more
A book about the Star Wars phenomenon for those who haven't read any books about Star Wars. Cass Sunstein is a law professor (the most cited!) and behA book about the Star Wars phenomenon for those who haven't read any books about Star Wars. Cass Sunstein is a law professor (the most cited!) and behavioral economist (Nudge). Sunstein provides a bit of light entertainment here with a rambling story of the story of Star Wars, basically a pretty smart lover of pop culture talks about how stories are generated. The best bits are the discussion of how Star Wars fits with various myths and mythmakers (is Darth Vader the redeemer who is sacrificed), and a description of how the Supreme court interprets the constitution.
Yup, the Constitution. I found this part a bit scary because of the way it strives to justify judges basically making up whatever they feel, so long as it advances the story with some vague nod to the course it is taking. If it seems like the right thing, the thing that fits, is for Luke to be Darth Vader's son, well, reinterpret what you have to and ignore what you can't. (really, I must admit, a brilliant relation -- if you aren't buying it, you will when you read it.) This doesn't, perhaps, make any less sense than a blind obedience to the original meaning of the rules, but it does make less sense than trying to be as faithful to the original intent...at least to me. But this is, amazingly, perhaps the best defense and description of what the non-Originalists think they are up to.
But this book was fun and I'm glad I read it, even if it doesn't live up to the enthusiastic blurbs on the back!...more
Without a doubt, Mr. Dangel is now one of my favorite poets. I've been reading the book for years now, starting over at the beginning each time that IWithout a doubt, Mr. Dangel is now one of my favorite poets. I've been reading the book for years now, starting over at the beginning each time that I picked it up again. These poems spin stories, evoke emotions, stir up memories and transport me into a world that, while very different from my own, seems also one that I have inhabited, or should have inhabited, or if life was just a bit different would have inhabited. A rural life of limits and opportunities.
I read these poems with a sense of longing for the lives I haven't led and for my past that I can’t return to, even when they make me laugh.
In "Farming the High School Homecoming" he writes
Still, we were never in danger of believing we could cover our plainness with ceremony and tin foil.
It's not clear if any of the homespun people in this book are the author, or even people he actually knew -- but they feel true in the way that it is important for poetry to be true, and thus they are beautiful even as they eschew the decorative beauty of extravagant metaphor and lyrical allusions. Still, though, these poems are finely crafted, the language carefully chosen. I read these poems aloud to my family. I like reading them aloud, those few I have read, because it slows me down and I realize the care that he’s taken. Also, because I want to own them somehow, to say, I am like these people, sometimes, or could be.
I feel that I should make this more practical somehow, that my words aren’t doing their job of informing you, the reader, about this book and its functional properties. Practically speaking, there’s very little information about the book itself thus far – that quote I gave isn’t even typical. If this were a Consumer Reports – or even a New York Times – book review it would be severely lacking. The book is structured as a number of smaller books, each has its own character and style, some are more to my taste than others. They feature many characters and points of view, some, like the adolescent Arlo and Old Man Brunner, will show up over and over, others will be there only once. The tone is both elegiac and wryly humorous and you should read it if you even like this poem a tiny bit:
Farming in a Lilac Shirt
I opened the Sears catalog. It was hard to decide-dress shirts were all white the last time I bought one, for Emma's funeral. I picked out a color called plum, but when the shirt arrived, it seemed more the color of lilacs. Still, it was beautiful.
No one I knew had a shirt like this. After chores on Sunday, I dressed for church. Suddenly the shirt seemed to be a sissy color, and I held it up near the window. In the sun the lilac looked more lilac, more lovely, but could a man wear a shirt that color? Someone might say, "That's quite the shirt." I wore the old shirt to church.
And every Saturday night I thought, Tomorrow I'll wear the shirt. Such a sad terrible waste-to spend good money on a shirt, a shirt I even liked, and then not wear it. I wore the shirt once, on a cold day, and kept my coat buttoned.
In spring I began wearing the shirt for everyday, when I was sure no one would stop by. I wore the shirt when I milked the cows and in the field when I planted oats-it fit perfectly. As I steered the John Deere, I looked over my shoulder and saw lilac against a blue sky filled with white seagulls following the tractor, and not once did I wipe my nose on my sleeve.