Interesting Kindle Deals for November, 2016

So many books, so little time. While I sometimes find nothing of interest in the monthly deals on Kindle books, the month of November 2016 provided a cornucopia of interesting books. I twice combed through the nonfiction titles there were monthly deals on, once on my Kindle, and once again on my desktop, making a list of three dozen books that seemed particularly interesting. During the course of the month, I sampled several of them and bought some. The books I’ve bought are marked as such below. In some cases, I already bought the book before this sale began, and these are marked as “Already Bought.”

Top PicksAutobiographyHealthReligionScienceSelf-HelpSocietyThinking

Top Picks

Since I have not read all the books, I am not completely qualified to pick the best. But from what I’ve read or started to read, these are my top picks so far.

Already Bought and Read
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik. $2.99

This is a fascinating and engaging account of the history and science behind ten different man-made materials. The author is a materials scientist whose fascination with materials began when he was attacked by a mugger with a razor blade, and instead of going into shock over being attacked, he began obsessing over understanding the nature of steel. If you enjoy reading interesting science books with both anecdotes and science, this is a good one to pick up.

Bought and Finished Reading

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (P.S.) by Matt Ridley. $2.99

I have purchased and read this book. It gives an overview of world history from the perspective that free trade is the engine that keeps moving society forward, and it argues that there are rational grounds for expecting things to keep getting better. It is broadly on the subject of cultural evolution, focusing on how trade and communication between different groups of people makes human society more intelligent and better capable of surviving. It should appeal to people who enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Howard Bloom’s Global Brain, or Howard Bloom’s The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism.

Bought

Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish. $2.99

This is an excellent book by a woman who grew up as a Muslim and fled to the United States to escape living under Sharia. In this book, she gives a brief history of Sharia law and goes into detail about how it affects both the family and the state.

Autobiography

Bought

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill. $1.99

I originally picked up this book after finishing Escape by Carolyn Jessup. It’s a book in the same vein, being about someone who escaped from a cult. In this case, the author is the neice of the current cult leader, David Miscavige. Although I started the book, I never finished it.


The Girl with Three Legs: A Memoir by Soraya Mire. $2.99

Like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of this book is a Somali woman who suffered genital mutilation, who was arranged in marriage to her cousin, who made a film, and who received death threats. But there are also differences. She is older, she was a Hindu even though her parents and siblings were Muslim, she actually married her cousin, and her activism focuses on protecting women from female genital mutilation.

Health

Bought

Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free by Joel Fuhrman. $1.99

I have purchased and started reading this book. It is about the importance of micronutrients in building up the immune system, and it recommends getting them by eating a diet centered around vegetables. It points out that cancer became more common after people started eating more processed foods and fast foods. And the explanation it gives for this is that these foods don’t have all the micronutrients we need to support the immune system.


What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You by Ray Strand. $2.99

This book is by a medical doctor who used to tell his patients that vitamin supplements just made your urine more expensive. But he was dismayed at watching his wife’s health deteriorate without knowing what to do for her. Since her husband, the doctor, didn’t believe in vitamin supplements, she hadn’t been taking them. Eventually, she asked him if she should try supplements, and not knowing what else he could do for her, he agreed that it wouldn’t hurt to try. After she started to take some supplements, she started to get much better. It turned out that she had fibromyalgia, and she was helped by taking antioxidants. After seeing her health improve, her husband called in his worst fibromyalgia patients and recommended supplements to them to see if it would also help them, and taking the supplements helped all of them. So, he started researching vitamin supplements more, and he wrote this book to tell about how important they are.

Already Bought and Read

The Great Cholesterol Myth + 100 Recipes for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin Free Plan and Diet that Will by Jonny Bowden (Author), Stephen Sinatra (Author), Deirdre Rawlings (Author). $2.99

When a cardiologist took a look at my cholesterol readings and automatically wanted to prescribe a statin, I decided to finish this book before seeing my general practitioner. It gave me a better understanding of what causes cholesterol and why statins are not really something I want to start taking.

Religion


The Jew in the Lotus: A Poet’s Rediscovery of Jewish Identity in Buddhist India (Plus) by Rodger Kamenetz. $1.99

The Jewish poet Rodger Kamenetz has conversations with the Dalai Lama and others on Judaism and Buddhism. This book is a meeting of two religious traditions rather than a critique of one by the other.


A People’s History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story by Diane Butler Bass. $1.99

The title is modeled after Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, a very long but interesting book I have been reading off and on. This book is written by an Episcopalean professor of Christian history, and it looks at Christian history from the perspective of various participants in its history.


God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–Why We Suffer by Bart Ehrman. $1.99

Agnostic Bible scholar Bart Ehrman examines how well the Bible answers the question of why people suffer.


Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans by Malachi Martin. $1.99

Malachi Martin was a Roman Catholic priest who performed exorcisms. Although I’m skeptical that demon possession is real, I wrote my dissertation on the nature of evil, and one of the books I used was People of the Lie by the Christian author M. Scott Peck, who reported witnessing exorcisms and described the character of a being he identified as Satan. Even if the phenomenon of possession is just psychological, it is interesting, and it may shed light on the nature of evil.


Mystics by William Harmless, SJ. $1.99

Mysticism, the idea of experiencing the divine directly, has found its way into many religious traditions.


Genesis (Memory of Fire Book 1) by Eduardo Galeano. $1.99

This book covers pre-Columbian Native American myths about the origin of the world.


Blood That Cries Out From the Earth: The Psychology of Religious Terrorism by James W. Jones. $1.99

This book covers religious terrorism from different religions, including Christian terrorists who have targeted abortion clinics, the Buddhist splinter group Aum Shinrikyo, and Islam.

Bought

Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law by Nonie Darwish. $2.99

This is an excellent book by a woman who grew up as a Muslim and fled to the United States to escape living under Sharia. In this book, she gives a brief history of Sharia law and goes into detail about how it affects both the family and the state.


The Battle Begins: The Story of Creation (The Action Bible Graphic Novels Book 1) by Caleb Seeling (Author), Sergio Cariello (Illustrator). $2.99

A comic book adaption of Genesis that includes elements of Paradise Lost.


God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe by J. Warner Wallace. $2.99

A typical apologetic work. Judging by the reviews, this brings up such arguments for creationism as irreducible complexity and fine-tuning, neither of which I consider credible given my understanding of how natural selection works.


Church History in Plain Language: Fourth Edition by Dr. Bruce L. Shelley, Revised by R. L. Hatchett. $3.99

This book was written by an Evangelical Christian Professor of Church History and Historical Theology as a history of the diverse array of Christianity for a lay audience. This edition has been updated post-mortem by another author with more up-to-date material on more recent history.


Know the Creeds and Councils (KNOW Series Book 1) by Justin S. Holcomb. $3.99

This book covers the creeds of various Christian denominations, making it useful in understanding the differences between different denominations.

Science

Bought

Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman. $1.99

A popular science book that goes into detail about various aspects of the human body.

Already Bought and Read

Life After Life: The Bestselling Original Investigation That Revealed “Near-Death Experiences” by Raymond Moody. $1.99

When I took Introduction to Philosophy, the professor assigned us this book to read. The book is about scientific investigation into near-death experiences. In a recent radio interview with the author, I heard him say that he is skeptical of life after death.

Bought

Elegance in Science: The beauty of simplicity by Ian Glynn. $2.99

With regard to scientific theories, I understand elegance to be a combination of simplicity, reasonableness and explanatory force. Evolution by natural selection is an example of this for me. The idea describes a simple process that makes sense and can explain both cosmic order and the variety of life. This book describes various examples of elegance in science, drawn from various fields.

Already Bought and Read
Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik. $2.99

This is a fascinating and engaging account of the history and science behind ten different man-made materials. The author is a materials scientist whose fascination with materials began when he was attacked by a mugger with a razor blade, and instead of going into shock over being attacked, he began obsessing over understanding the nature of steel. If you enjoy reading interesting science books with both anecdotes and science, this is a good one to pick up.

Already Bought and Begun Reading

To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Steven Weinberg. $1.99

I’m a few chapters into this book. It’s an interesting book on the history of science that goes back to the ancient Greeks.


Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species by Sean B. Carroll. $2.99

This book recounts some of the most important discoveries in the past two centuries that have lent support to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.


Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution by Adrian Desmond and JamesMoore. $2.99

Darwin’s theory of evolution provides a basis for recognizing equality between the races, which undermines religious justifications for slavery that attribute different origins for different races. This book claims that Darwin was an abolitionist whose moral beliefs motivated him towards his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Bought

Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution by Mark Blumberg. $3.99

This book examines evolution by natural selection through the lens of odd turns that make an offspring very different from its parents. The description mentions a two-header woman who is athletic and graceful and a goat with forelimbs that learned to walk upright. As a physically handicapped person with an interest in evolution, this book is of special interest to me.

Self-Help


Code to Joy: The Four-Step Solution to Unlocking Your Natural State of Happiness by George Pratt (Author), Peter Lambrou (Author), John David Mann (Author). $1.99

Being happy is a worthwhile pursuit that I consider worth reading about.


Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens. $1.99

I have previously read or perused another book called Resilience, and I understand from experience how important resilience is to getting along in life.


In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore. $1.99

Something can be said for taking things more slowly. It can be a way to appreciate and enjoy life more without getting caught up in things that don’t actually matter that much.


The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff by Julie Hall. $1.99

Although I’m not a boomer, having an aging parent who has collected a lot of stuff is not exclusive to that generation.


It’s Not My Fault: The No-Excuse Plan for Overcoming Life’s Obstacles by Henry Cloud (Author), John Townsend (Author). $2.99

Taking responsibility is an important part of living life well.

Society

Bought


Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections): A History of the Religious Battles That Define America from Jefferson’s Heresies to Gay Marriage Today by Stephen Prothero. $1.99

I have purchased and started to read this book. It examines various cultural wars between the left and right in American history, and it argues that the left keeps on winning. It explains that the right normally gets up-in-arms about issues it has already lost on, because it is mainly motivated by the nostalgic idea that things are no longer how they used to be. So, in cultural wars between the left and right, the right is normally fighting for a return to yesterday, and the left is fighting for social advances that have already been made by society.

Bought and Finished Reading

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (P.S.) by Matt Ridley. $2.99

I have purchased and read this book. It gives an overview of world history from the perspective that free trade is the engine that keeps moving society forward, and it argues that there are rational grounds for expecting things to keep getting better. It is broadly on the subject of cultural evolution, focusing on how trade and communication between different groups of people makes human society more intelligent and better capable of surviving. It should appeal to people who enjoyed Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Howard Bloom’s Global Brain, or Howard Bloom’s The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism.


Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization by John Searle. $4.99

I have previously known John Searle for his Chinese room thought experiment, which calls into question whether an AI can actually understand the world. This book is about how we construct civilization by using language to create social realities – such as money, marriage, government, etc. – that do not otherwise have a basis in reality.

Thinking

Bought

Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain by Steven D. Levitt (Author), Stephen J. Dubner (Author). $1.99

I have previously read Freakanomics and Superfreakanomics by the same authors, both of which are fascinating books that look at things through the perspective of microeconomics.


A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas by Warren Berger. $1.99

Questioning is an important method in philosophy, and this book seems to focus on the importance of questioning.


Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass R. Sunstein. $1.99

With the internet, it is much easier to pool collective knowledge than it has ever been. This book looks at the potential for this and how we can use pooled knowledge for our own benefit.

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Fergus Duniho on FacebookFergus Duniho on GoogleFergus Duniho on PinterestFergus Duniho on RssFergus Duniho on TwitterFergus Duniho on Youtube
Former Christian, now a Humanist Freethinker with a Ph.D. in Philosophy.
About Me / Books on LibraryThing / Ph.D. Dissertation

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