Saturday, October 22, 2011

God's Brain, by Lionel Tiger and Michael McGuire

I can’t get enough of these books about the cognitive science behind spirituality. Let’s face if, if there’s a God, He is happening in our brains. If there isn’t a God, something is happening in our brains that makes us believe in one, or at least want to believe in one.

What exactly is going on when we believe? Is there a reason for it, speaking in terms of evolution? Does a belief in God and religion serve a positive brain function? It would seem so, think Tiger and McGuire.

Basing their theories on the latest in neuroscience, brain chemistry and primate behavior, they find that God IS in and He/She/It serves a very important role -- something they call brain soothing. In living our lives, our brains endure stress,The brain needs to be satisfied chemically and, God beliefs and interacting with other people with such beliefs performs that need. They do a great job developing this interesting theory and show how it works.

Whether one believes in God or not, one will come away with a deeper respect for human belief and all but the most dogmatic believers from either camp will find some illumination here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, by Scott McConnell

There have been several biographies that have come out about the enigma who was Ayn Rand, but this one not your average biography. Sort of a Rashoman meets 60 Minutes, this is a collection of 100 interviews with people who knew her, worked with her, or just met her or heard from her.

The people range from celebrities like Raquel Welch to maids and fans.It is a terrific collection of perspectives on a very fascinating woman.

The one thing that impressed me the most is the thing I have always gotten from Rand, from interviews and videos. Regardless of her shoot-from-the-hip prose and her rather dismissive and arrogant manners on the subject of ideas, she was still a little Russian woman like a million grandmas I knew growing up in Brooklyn and on Long Island.

Or as Patrick O’Connor, her Trotskyite editor at NAL said, “After lunch I went back to my office and reported to my bosses, ‘She’s just a lovable little lady from Leningrad.’”

She was a complicated, real woman, and a very sweet one, even if she was a Class-A freak when you got her going philosophically.

The only criticism I have the book is not enough negative interviews, The author obviously paints a flattering picture here, and I suppose that’s his intention, but I would rather have read a book with more anti-Randian views.

I hope someone does a book like that in the future, but for now, this is a an invaluable addition to any study of Rand.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth - Book Trailer

Trailer for the second book in the adventures of Nathaniel Cade - Chris Farnsworth's entertaining Vampire Secret Agent series which started with Blood Oath. Visit his site for more news on the series.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, by Christopher Moore

I believe I have found my favorite Christopher Moore book. Having read most of his work by now, and finally getting to Lamb, I think I have reached the book I'll read a few times, and always think of as "the one." I’ll still have to check out one or two more, but Lamb is so funny and so wise, so full of love and snark, plus speaks to me so personally that I doubt Moore can outdo this.

It’s a terrific book and definitely one of his best by any standard. Charming, witty, with that natural inner goodness and love of people found in all of his work, Moore’s Joshua is first of all a man in his time -- sort of. History blended with nonsense blended with Biblical fun creates a memorable, very real Jesus in Josh. Goodness shining through humanity is done in a way that I simply have not seen in all those inspirational Jesus books, Moore’s Joshua is a truly human Son of God.

Biff is the ultimate sidekick -- a warrior cynic who truly loves his friend. Moore delights in human relationships and the humor it entails to love and trust one another, in Lamb he creates the true buddy.

If you have never read Christopher Moore before, this is a great start. If you ever wanted to know more about Jesus, and can't handle reading those Bible not the best start, but a fun one.

Either way if you want to smile aplenty and think a lot, read this book.