Words, words, words - Macleans.ca

Words, words, words

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UPDATED: John Ralston Saul is the new head of PEN International

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As usual, I have far more books sitting unread than read.

Last night I finished Age of Persuasion, the new book from Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant, the creators of the CBC radio series. I hope to interview Terry and Mike soon; meanwhile, it’s the sort of book where if you like the show, you’ll like the book.

I’m halfway through Joseph Heath’s Following the Rules: Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint. It’s his new book of serious philosophy; to a large extent, it’s an answer to the perennial undergraduate question of whether morality reduces to self-interest. It’s the hardest book I’ve read in a long time, and I’m very out of practice in this kind of philosophy.

A few weeks ago, I read the first few chapters of Diego Gambetta’s Codes of the Underworld: How criminals communicate. It’s excellent — all about status signalling amongst lowlifes.

I got 45 pages into Inside the Stalin Archives, by Jonathan Brent. I put it down when I realized I couldn’t give it the attention it needs at the moment. It looks great so far.

I bought The Anti-Communist Manifestos, by John Fleming. Not sure if I’ll get around to reading it.

Frans de Waal’s The Age of Empathy is on my desk. I love monkeys and monkey politics, but I still haven’t finished his last one. For some reason I think I already have the gist of it.

I can’t wait to dig into Transition, the new novel from Iain M. Banks, as soon as I finish re-reading Neuromancer. It’s not as good as I remember; I realize now that when I think of the classic William Gibson book, it’s Count Zero.

What are you reading, or not?

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