I read a couple of non-fiction books this month which I liked a lot.

First up, I reread my favorite travel book, “Shadow of the Silk Road” by Colin Thubron.  Followers of this column will note that I’ve spent the past few years slowly working my way through his expansive bibliography.  I think I will finish that journey in 2023.  I do recommend this particular book to anyone who enjoys travel, or who wants some challenging academic reading material.  The book, like everything by Thubron, functions as both a travelog and a collection of short historical sketches of the regions he moves though.  You can find it on Amazon or in the Open Library.

I also read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” in which she describes her experiences holding a series of low-wage jobs in the United States in the late 1990s.  Though the world has changed quite a lot in the decades since the book was published, it seems as timely as ever given the inflation we went through in 2022 and the recession that seems to be looming.  The book is mostly descriptive, but if you stick around for the final couple of chapters you’ll find some really insightful analysis.  Find it on Amazon or in the Open Library.

Meanwhile, I stumbled upon an article in Science News about the private sale of fossils in the United States.  Experienced TOEFLers will recognize this very topic from one of the three ETS books.  As I’ve said before in this column, dinosaur-related topics seem to show up on the TOEFL (and in prep materials) quite often.

Lastly, I read the May 2021 issue of Scientific American (this one came from the discard bin at my local library) and a few things stood out:

That’s all for this month.  I will travel in January so expect an early column next month.  I’ll probably start with notes from my last two issues of “Scientific American.”

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