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WEDNESDAY BOOK REVIEWS (on Thursday, because I forgot on Wednesday)

Now (Muller) I have loved Muller’s “...for Future Presidents” series of books. A lot. I find him to be lucid, intelligent, and skeptical of easy answers. This book, I’m afraid, fell short. The book is mostly about Muller’s theories of time, which are interesting. But, at the end, it makes a poor segue into his theory of the supernatural. I’m being a bit ungenerous, but the short version goes like this: “I think qualia are real, therefore there is a soul that exists but will never be understood by physics.” It’s unfortunate that his philosophy is so grade-school, while his physics teaching is so excellent. I recommend you read the first part of this book, and spare yourself the end.

Call the Midwife (Worth) Okay, confession time - I have a real soft spot for working class memoirs from the first half of the 20th century. There’s something about people experiencing the rapid transition to something like modern life just after World War II. This is a delightful memoir of a woman’s life as a midwife, mostly during the 1950s. It’s very reminiscent of James Herriot’s veterinary stories, to the point that I wonder if she hadn’t read them. If you’re into this sort of thing, I highly recommend it.

Time Travel (Gleick) This was a bit of a weird book. A better title would be “James Gleick read a lot of stuff about time travel and here’s all of it.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing - one of the thing’s I love about Mary Roach books is that they feel like a grand info-dump after a research adventure. This book is kind of like that, but exploring the science, history, and philosophy of the concept of time travel as we currently think of it. It’s a unique and fun book, but I think on some level I wanted a bit more structure. That said, I enjoyed it throughout, and it may be the only good book of its kind.