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2014-01-14 11:26 pm

Wednesday reading meme

I always enjoy reading these on my flist, so I decided I should maybe finally play along. It's plausible-Wednesday, right?

What I Just Finished Reading

1491 : new revelations of the Americas before Columbus / Charles C. Mann.

I read this over Christmas, only partially as insulation against certain of my more obnoxious relatives. Basically, Mann's point is that evidence accumulated over the last 40 years points to a picture of pre-Columbus American societies as more numerous, more complex, and more technoligically advanced than commonly believed, and this book is walks the reader through that evidence. I found it very readable and also very interesting.

Two favorite bits. First, he retells the Thanksgiving story from the other point of view - essentially, what the political situation was in NE at the time that caused the Wampanoag to choose to ally themselves with the Pilgrims. This is excerpted here, if you want to get a sense of the book. Second, he talks about the domestication of corn. For other the other major cereals, native to the Middle East, we can tell what the wild version was and how it was domesticated, but for corn, all we have is 'well, maybe' and 'no fucking clue', respectively. Which blows my mind.

What I'm Reading Now

Nothing - most of my reading time on the train is going toward trying to recover from the magazine backlog while I was out of town.

What I'm Reading Next

Checked out from the library right now:
  • Breakfast with Lucian : the astounding life and outrageous times of Britain's great modern painter / Geordie Greig.
  • Napoleon and Josephine : the improbable marriage / Evangeline Bruce.
  • The radicalism of the American Revolution / Gordon S. Wood.

Sooo, probably one of those.