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Bun's Books

Currently reading

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Rebecca Traister
Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors - Nicholas Wade The first half of this book was really interesting, I kept wanting to go find somebody and say Hey! Did you know that.... lice adapted to living in clothing by developing different kinds of claws? Neandertal dominated Europe for thousands of years? And so on. Wonderful stuff.

But by about page 200 I just ground to a halt. The fun of the first part of the book was that he explained why/how biologists, paleontologists, anthropologists, reached their conclusions about early hominids - what the lice did, or why the shape of the stone ax mattered. But as he got into the sections on race and language, he stopped really explaining findings or the reasoning based on those findings. Instead we are just told - for example - that linguists used a computer program (which he doesn't describe) to compute probablities based on certain assumptions (which he doesn't explain) to produce some results which some linguists accept and some do not.

Maybe the author brought a habit from writing for the newspaper of skimming over anything that can't be explained in a couple of paragraphs. Because its true I probably wouldn't read lengthy explanations in a newspaper article. Maybe the linguists computer stuff was just so abstruse that he couldn't really explain to anyone who wasn't an expert, but that's where he lost me. Just telling me one group thinks a and one group thinks b, based on different setups of their initial program, that doesn't really engage my interest. I want to be able to understand the issue well enough to at least try to judge between the two points of view, but without more detail I can't.

So my mind started to wander and I forced myself onward ho to the end, but can't honestly tell you much about the book after page 200 because none of it stuck with me. But the first part was great fun and well worth reading.