1. Anne Serre, The Beginners. What is it like for a woman to go from loving one man to another? This newly translated French novel was fun enough, insightful enough, and direct and short enough for me to finish.
2. Lachlan Goudie, The Story of Scottish Art. Even if you don’t care about art, this is a wonderful way to learn the history of Scotland. My takeaway favorite painters were Allan Ramsey (friends with Smith and Hume), Henry Raeburn, David Wilkie, and John Duncan, more or less consistent with my earlier views but now they are better informed. A good book with a nice blue and yellow cover.
3. Frank Herbert, Dune. For me a reread, I loved it when I was twelve, but how does it stand up? I am struck by how excellent and pathbreaking the best chapters are, including the introductory chapter. The influence on Star Wars is obvious, as is the role of Islam in the story. It strikes me as remarkably cinematic, with the right kinds of transitions to boot — how was this never put successfully on the big screen? I am about two-thirds through it right now, and maybe it 2/3 holds up? But would you want all of the slow pacing of the detail removed?
Carole Hooven, T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. Recommended.
Aubrey Clayton, Bernoulli’s Fallacy: Statistical Illogic and the Crisis of Modern Science. I found this most interesting as a history of probability theory, and with more coverage of Quetelet than one usually finds.