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Short Reviews

March 23, 2011

I’ve finished a few books recently.

T-Rex and the Crater of Doom, by Walter Alvarez208 pages.  I didn’t do the book justice. I could tell it was fascinating, well researched, and informative. I just… wasn’t paying the close attention I needed, to focus and take it all in, to remember what the KT barrier was, to understand what forams were, though I got the basic idea of studying the earth’s layers to figure out what killed the dinosaurs.

After laying the meticulous background, most of which whizzed around me, the book picked up and got specific about the science of proving an impact crater. That worked better for me, sort of like CSI: Dinosaurs. It may be that I have become an undisciplined reader, not doing a great job of focusing on good science writing that tackles the hard sciences rather than the social ones. Or could be that I’m a little burned out from the tech roundup I just finished for the Ledger.

Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself up and Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristin Neff. 272 pages. After reading about it in the New York Times, I decided to write to the author to request a copy. It’s an excellent book. Does it work? I haven’t decided yet.

Mostly, this was a read through to see if I liked the language. (I do, plainspoken and very common sense, going easy on the New Age or psychological jargon.) I am even cautiously optimistic about actually working through the exercises in the book. Which probably counts as stratospheric high praise from a grumpy, cynical New Yorker with a penchant for gloom, self-criticism and doom, and an inner monologue that might put Eeyore to shame.

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