Ron’s #5: Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

Even though this book was on my soon-to-read list, Mark beat me to it and reviewed it already. I’m glad that he did, as he has been propagating the memory palace idea in our discussions lately, and it spurred me on to read it sooner than I would have. Drew also reviewed it. I'm last on this.

The book is more of an overview of memory history rather than specific techniques to help readers improve our own memorizing. Although through the narrative of having Foer report on memory and eventually winning the U.S. Memory Championship, he discusses many little tricks along the way. These were helpful in my own thinking about memory. I also found some of the case studies of memory prodigies and memory-deficit people particularly fascinating.

Foer is overly critical and insulting about Tony Buzan, the granddaddy of memory techniques, an aspect about the book that I found to be mean and ungracious, as Buzan seemed kind enough to grant him an interview. I also am hesitant about how ingrained Foer is within his own story here. Unlike another similar journalist-becomes-subject account Born to Run, Foer borders on self-serving.

While it starts to feel too long toward the end, I really did enjoyed reading this. It helped me to think more about memory and how I can memorize more Scripture and poetry. Maybe even a deck of cards or two.


Ally's #1: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

If you're going to be the only woman on a blog full of men, you may as well pack a powerful, initial estrogen punch so that the 51 posts to follow seem more pleasant in comparison. Ron, you were very gracious to set up an account for me. I hope you aren't already regretting it!

Now, onto "Taking Charge." It's not surprising that Toni Weschler's book is a national bestseller, as she writes intelligently and light-heartedly about issues that women are sometimes hesitant to discuss. The information packed into this 400+ page book is indispensable for women from puberty to menopause, though the majority of the material is geared toward married women.  Toni lays bare in accessible language much of what is glossed over or completely overlooked in health education courses offered at public schools.  I highly recommend this book to any women who is seeking to understand her body better as to aid family planning or who is looking for a natural method of birth control.  The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Toni presents teaches women how to track their bodies natural processes and to chart them daily.  Included in the hefty appendix are easy-to-copy charts that are specifically tailored based on your goals for using FAM.

Ron’s #44: Evidence for God by William Dembski and Michael Licona, editors

Here’s a book that most Christians should read in order to understand their faith better. Evidence for God’s subtitle is “50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science.” It’s a collection of fifty short, 2-3-page essays exploring many aspects of and challenges to the Christian faith.

In the introduction, we are told a story about Bart Ehrman challenge to his class, “My goal this semester will be to change everything you Christians think you know about the Bible and about Jesus.” We also hear the results of a survey stating “any evangelical Christian is an unthinking bigot and therefore a fundamentalist.” The goal of this book is to prepare the Christian to be a thinking Christian. These essays will prepare believers to understand some of the issues at hand in order to discuss them more intelligently.

The four sections are:

1. The Question of Philosophy (deals with the cosmological and moral arguments for God, naturalism, suffering, etc.)

2. The Question of Science (evaluating Darwinism, role of science, Intelligent Design)

3. The Question of Jesus (Did he exist? How can we know what he did? Did the resurrection occur?)

4. The Question of the Bible (Can we trust that this is reliable? What is inerrancy?)

The strength of this book is the ability to read a few essays in one sitting. In only two or three pages, the content will not be exhaustive. Rather, it can whet the appetite, introduce the reader to new authors, and allow for continued thought and discussion. Some of the essays are better than others, although the ones that appealed to me may not appeal to you. The sections on Jesus and the Bible were my favorites. I enjoyed the science section, but at times, it was simply too technical for me.

Evidence for God is a book to work through as you continue to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Ron's #24: The Devil's Delusion by David Berlinski

I was interested in this refutation of the “New Atheists” called The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions because the author was not a Christian. David Berlinski is a secular Jew, and he takes on Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens with power and wit.

Much of the material in here is challenging the essence of the worldview of Darwinism. As other voices continue to say, Darwinism’s biggest critic is science itself, not faith as is often caricatured.

While I enjoyed reading this book, much of the scientific discussions were too technical for this guy. If you have a strong background in the sciences, you may glean more from this than I did. I certainly appreciate was Berlinski brings to the discussion.