Over at Bookslut, Colleen Mondor, the bookslut in training, celebrates Darwin:
In this anniversary year for Charles Darwin (two hundred years for his birth and one hundred fifty for the publication of On the Origin of Species) it is entirely appropriate that he should be celebrated by readers and scientists of all ages. For the younger set One Beetle Too Many by Kathryn Lasky and Charles Darwin by Alan Gibbons (nicely illustrated in a realistic fashion by Leo Brown) are both fictionalized accounts of his life to be embraced. Lasky begins with Darwin’s childhood and the delight of growing up in a house where the words “Don’t Touch” were never used. Matthew Trueman’s rather whimsical illustrations show how much nature appealed to him even as a small boy and provide a great deal of humor.
Bookslut also carries Paul Morton’s review of Sandor Marai’s Esther’s inheritance:
Esther’s Inheritance is a frustrating little book. Márai purposefully allows terrible revelations to land without shock. And as Esther and Lajos regard themselves at a remove, inverting the archetypes of the good woman and the scoundrel, we are forced to regard them at one as well.
And that may be the source of the great flaw of the book. It explains, honestly and fairly, all the great inherent evils in Esther’s society. But it forgets that “the contract” Esther and her parents established created a world so many still find alluring, whatever its false promises.
I enjoyed this book very much and I thought it was one of the best books on the philosophy of the social sciences I have read, ever. In part it is good because it ignores philosophy of science (and Continental philosophy gobbledy-gook) and focuses on the anthropology of how research is actually done.