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text 2017-08-08 08:20
The Status of Project Frankenstein & Other Updates

 

Reading Goal

 

I have completed the goal that I set for myself this year on Goodreads. Really happy that I’m getting some reading done even with life being as crazy as it is.

 

 

Project Frankenstein

 

 

I have finished 11 out of the 14 books that I originally included in the post. My opinion about Frankenstein & Philosophy has yet to change!


    1. Parent Material: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
    2. Others’ Take: The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein by Stephen Jones
    3. Historical Retakes: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green
    4. Genre Spins: Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic
    5. Young Adult Forays: Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
    6. Sci-Fi Pastiche: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
    7. Philosophical Entree: Frankenstein and Philosophy by Nicholas Michaud
    8. Series Picker-Uppers: The Second Birth of Frankenstein by Will Hill
    9. PrequelsThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
    10. Precipitating Conditions: The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo
    11. Character Spotlight: My Frankenstein by Michael J. Lee
    12. Technological Difficulties: Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes
    13. Changed Perspectives: Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
    14. Graphic Detail: Monster Of Frankenstein by Dick Briefer, David Jacobs, Alicia Jo Rabins Edwards

 

Book Bingo

Besides this, I am also playing Book Bingo with my workmates. At the moment, I’m reading a book for the Female Protagonist shelf. My love for dinosaurs is no secret and this book is packed with facts and speculations equally, which makes it juicier. More on this in my review!

 

To see how I fared in the previous round, click here!

 

 

I am also a part of buddy reads going on here for Jane Yellowrock seriesMidnight Texas series, and sciency books on The Flat Book Society!

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review 2017-08-01 18:09
The Invention of Nature
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature is not flawless (for me the weakest chapter was on Humboldt and Thoreau - but I've always thought Thoreau was over-rated), but it is a fascinating read.

 

Because before Carl Sagan's Cosmos, there was Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos.  (I don't think this is accidental, somehow.)  Humboldt's was even more popular in the 19th century than Sagan's was in the 20th.  Humboldt, in fact, was probably the most famous scientist of his own time - the Einstein of the 19th century.  There was mass mourning when he died at 87, and mass celebrations, across the planet, on the centenary of his birth (September 14, 1869).

 

And today he is mostly forgotten, except in South America.  Though people may wonder why there's a Humboldt Park in Chicago, a Humboldt County in California, and a Humboldt Current in the Pacific, and why many species are Humboldtii.  Who was this Humboldt person, anyway?

 

He was the Energizer Bunny of naturalists.  He never shut up, and most people didn't try to stop the font of knowledge (to quote his great friend, Goethe).  Should they try, if they succeeded for more than a sentence or two, it was a miracle.  He also refused to be stopped by piranhas, crocodiles, erupting volcanoes, great heights (though the very top of Chimborazo finally beat him), outbreaks of anthrax, or anything else. 

 

He made two great expeditions - to South America, in his early thirties, and to Siberia, when he was sixty.  (He longed for the Himalayas, but the British East India Company refused him permission to go.)  He spent all his inherited money on science, and was forced to become a royal chamberlain at the Prussian court, waiting attendance on his king, while he longed for the Himalayas, or, at the very least, Paris.  At night he wrote book after book, for some fifty years.  And he found many readers.

 

A handful of chapters are about not Humboldt himself, but some of the men he inspired.  Simon "Iron Ass" Bolivar.  Charles Darwin.  Henry David Thoreau.  George Perkins Marsh.  Ernst Haeckel.  John Muir.  These chapters are of varying quality, but they show that we have to thank Humboldt, at least in part, for everything from the theory of evolution to Art Nouveau to the Sierra Club.

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