The Reading List: 1

This post is not about your reading list. (For that, you should Read The Syllabus.) No, this is about my reading list--the things that I'm reading at the moment. I'm not going to include the endless, neverending stream of journal articles. Here instead are some of the books I'm currently reading...

I've just finished SuperFreakonomics, which is an economics book. Wait wait wait! I didn't say it was an economics textbook, did I? No, I didn't. It's a really engaging book, looking at the microeconomics of... Wait wait wait! It's not boring, really--just check out the reviews at Amazon.com. The stories they present are interesting for their own sake, but as a psychologist, I like the intersection of psychology and economics, in what's called "behavioural economics": how our behaviour is affected by perceptions of incentives.

Right now, however, I've just started "reading" Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. Why the quotes? I'm actually listening to it as a audiobook. Although I bought the book when it first came out, I never seemed to have time to sit down and read it. I didn't want to start reading it and then have to put it aside and do work or something. Neil Gaiman is just about my favourite author; every story he writes is like a coconut cream pie with pecans, deep-fried in chocolate and covered with whipped cream. I would not want to put that down. Listening to this during my commute makes the time just fly by. Bonus: The Graveyard Book is up next! Extra bonus: if you're short on cash, these audiobooks are available from the Edmonton Public Library (membership: only $12/year).

I'm never reading just one book. Also, I'm always reading something work-related. Fun, but work-related. Right now, that's The Frog Who Croaked Blue: Synesthesia and the Mixing of the Senses by Jamie Ward. Synesthesia is a curious phenomenon in which people experience a stimulus in the usual way (like seeing a letter), but also having a cross-modal experience (seeing a letter in a particular colour, when it's actually just gray). For many years, it was pooh-poohed, but there a ton of neuroscience research being done on it now. I'm reading this to prep for a lecture on synesthesia I'm writing for my Advanced Perception course.

What are you reading? Tell me in the comments below.

Why aren't you studying?

13 comments:

Jordan said...
on

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
Wild Justice by Marc Beckoff
and Current Directions in Abnormal Psychology.

Naturally, with school being in session, these books are largely on hold at the moment.

Anastasia said...
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The Oxford English Dictionary. I'm up to "D" now...

Briana said...
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1. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
2. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
3. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Nadia said...
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The books/dvds listed in my class syllabi.

Anonymous said...
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The author of Superfreakanomics was on the Colbert Report some time ago; he seemed like a really interesting guy. There was a Discovery Channel special on Synesthesia, focusing on a woman who could taste sound, it was amazing.

Adam said...
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The Man Without Qualities - Robert Musil
Happiness: A History - Darrin. M. McMahon
Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction - John Heil
and a translation of the I Ching

Karsten Loepelmann said...
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@everybody: those are some interesting choices! I was expecting a lot of Dan Browns, Stephen Kings, The Lovely Bones. Maybe the people who read those books opted not to admit to reading them? (Full disclosure: until 1985, I read Every. Single. Thing. that Stephen King wrote. Since then: none.)

Or perhaps university students are not into mass-market fiction.

@Anastasia: I hate to spoil the ending for you, but it involves zythum.

@Anonymous: yeah, the documentary was When Senses Collide, broadcast on the BBC as Derek Tastes of Earwax, which is available on Google Video. Pretty neat...

Anastasia said...
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...well, now that I know the ending there is no point in reading it anymore. Thanks a lot Mr.Spoiler.

Amanda said...
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Currently I'm reading "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor. She's a neuranatomist out of Harvard who experienced a stroke and the book is about her experience and subsequent recovery. It was written for someone who has no knowledge of the physiological workings of the brain, but it's very interesting to get the personal perspective you don't get from a textbook...

Along those lines, one of the best books I've read in a while is "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. This story is fictional and was written from the perspective of a psychology professor who develops Alzheimer's and chronicles her disease progression. It's very interesting to see how her memory fades and how AD affects her and her family. Again, this is a personal account you wouldn't get from a textbook, which is why I like it!

Briana said...
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Speaking of the best books we've read lately,

In terms of science fiction, I was very impressed with the novel "Spin" by Robert Charles Wilson. It's about the erection of a planet-spanning shield around the Earth.

In terms of nonfiction, "Cannibal" by Lois Jones is very well written and insightful. It details the life and crimes of Armin Meiwes.

In terms of fantasy, "Nightlife" by Rob Thurman is quite entertaining.
"There are monsters among us. There always have been and there always will be. I've known that since I can remember, just like I've always known that I was one... Well, half of one, anyway."

In terms of mystery, "The Picasso Scam" by Stuart Pawson is a solid read. The main character is an English detective who bends all sorts of rules to catch the criminals.

And, finally, in terms of romance, "Last Girl Dancing" by Holly Lisle is great. It's a wonderful narrative of a serial killer sought by a detective and her partner.

...Yes... I read a lot...

Anonymous said...
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If you like fantasy novels I can think of no better than George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones. It is simply unparalleled.

Anonymous said...
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I'd just like to point out that membership for the Edmonton Public Library is absolutely FREE for students! I'm always getting a ton of audiobooks, cds, movies and real books on occasion. You can even pick up holds at the ever so convenient 'EPL Go' Location in Cameron :D

Anonymous said...
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At the moment, I am slowly reading through the comments left on each of your blogs. Hooray for reading week; it gives me all the time in the world to read anything and everything, except for the textbooks.

For your information though, I am not studying right now because it is 5:40 AM and I am probably going to sleep in about 30 minutes.

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