nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Update on What I'm Reading


The latest list of recommended reading is at the bottom of this page. Some comments on those items.

--A History of Histories, by John Burrow. How the writng of history has evolved over 2000 years, from record keeping to an art form. Easy, engaging guide "from Herodotus to the 20th Century."
--Last And First Men, by Olaf Stapledon. Future history sci-fi. Stapledon writes about what will happen to mankind for the next millions of years, evolving physically and mentally, until the end. You have to just hang on and go for the ride.
--One Soldier's Story, by Bob Dole. Senator Dole was thought to be one of the smartest guys in Congress back in the 90's. I remember when he ran for President against Clinton in 96. There was an incident when he fell off a stage, and friends and the press made fun, not knowing he was wounded badly in the shoulder in WWII, underwent a dozen surgeries and was in the hospital for over a year...only to be left with a near-useless right arm. He always tried to cover it up, by holding a pen in his fist. This is his autobio of the war.
--Freedomnomics, by John R. Lott, Jr. Dr. Lott, then a professor at the Univ of Chicago, was the first to publish data that showed More Guns-Less Crime, for which he was castigated, of course. Those trends have subsequently been validated. He now takes a broader look at economics, assessing market capitalism in an environment of disdain for enterprise. Decidedly contrarian thinking, but provocative and often on target.
--Joseph Andrews, by Henry Fielding. Needs no introduction. One of the first novels in history. A masterpiece of irony and social criticism.
--The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. I don't need to describe this. I'm reading parts of it because I did everything I could to avoid the homework assignment in college, and it's a unique document on government.
--Daybreak - 2250 AD, by Andre Norton. classic sci-fi from 1961. Norton was a ground-breaker in coming-of-age fiction in the genre. Many of her books emphasized our relationships to and with animals.
--A World Lit Only By Fire, by William Manchester. A controversial reconstruction of late medieval history. I read this almost twenty years ago, but enjoyed it so much I'm re-reading it.
--Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane. This is the book from which the Matt Damon movie was made.
--What Is Good And Why: The Ethics of Well-Being, by Richard Kraut. A philosophical work arguing that previous work on what is "good" (Hobbes, Rawls, Nozick) has been inadeuate in not addressing "The Good"'s necessary relationship to human well-being...to be a "good" something must be "good for". A rough go.

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