Weekend Reading

Erin Kodicek on November 10, 2016

OctopusIn this edition of Weekend Reading, behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens in Italy, a case for rational compassion, and what we have in common with...octopuses.

Seira Wilson: I do love a good chef memoir and this weekend I’ll be finishing Mincemeat, by Leonardo Lucarelli. It occurs to me as I read this that I’ve only read chef memoirs by those residing in the States. Lucarelli is Italian and his is the insider view of Italian kitchens and their foibles. It’s been an entertaining read so far and I’m looking forward to the rest.

Jon Foro: So maybe we could all stand to brush up on our futurist skills. Amy Webb’s The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream promises to teach us how to pick out the truth from the noise, to find the “true signal, a pattern that will coalesce into a trend with the potential to change everything.” We’ll see, literally. Failing that, there’s always this.

Erin Kodicek: I'll be reading Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. While prevailing logic would suggest empathy = good, that's the problem--or so argues author Paul Bloom. When you make a decision using empathy you are making it from an emotional place, rather than a logical one. This can cause the wrong, less moral, conclusion to be made. Not sure I completely buy the concept, but after a topsy-turvy week for everyone, I think compassion is an excellent thing to dig deeper into, and certainly to exercise.

Adrian Liang: Two very different books will be on my reading list this weekend. First is Other Minds: The Octopus, the Seas, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith. This looks at the similarities and differences between octopuses’ minds and the minds of “smart” vertebrates (including humans), and explores how consciousness evolved on separate but parallel tracks. It might sound a bit dry, but it’s actually fascinating and thought-provoking. When my brain gets too full with smart stuff, I’ll switch over to the pleasure of reading Gregg Hurwitz’s The Nowhere Man, the follow-up to Orphan X, a thriller we picked as best of the month in January. I hope the plot is just as twisty and the danger just as sharp as it was in the first book about a man who is trained to be a government assassin but is now on the run. But heck, what I’m really looking forward to is the long weekend next week, when I can read twice as many books!

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