Science fact-ion, politics, physics, indigenous wisdom….here’s the reading that Rabbi Schwartz recommends this summer!
The Netanyahu’s – The Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a Very Famous Family – Joshua Cohen. This short (225 pages!) and very funny book uses the early 70s and Benzion Netanyahu’s professorship at Cornell University as a backdrop to explore what it means to be Jewish in America. Is it possible to be fully Jewish and fully American at the same time? Cohen’s book explores this crucial question with wit and humor, and in an elegant prose. Read it with a dictionary!
There Are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important Than Kindness – Carlo Rovelli. Rovelli, the Italian physicist, has collected a series of essays in which he writes about science, literature, politics, and philosophy. With titles like ‘the Mind of an Octopus’ and ‘the Many Errors of Einstein,’ Rovelli invites us to expand our minds and reconsider what we think we know and understand about the world. 240 pages.
The Ministry for the Future – Kim Stanley Robinson. Robinson, a science fiction writer, works here in a new genre that we might call science fact-tion. This novel, set in the near future, meticulously lays out the potentially devastating effects of climate change in a world where human kind is unable to work together to solve its most pressing problems. 550 pages.
When We Cease to Understand the World – Benjamin Labatut. This strange book fuses fact and fiction as it explores the lives of some of the great scientific luminaries of our time, and the work they did that changed our world. 180 pages.
Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer. Kimmerer, a botanist by training, writes in this collection of essays about the deep wisdom of indigenous people, the knowledge we glean from modern science, and what the natural world can still teach us. In her beautiful prose Kimmerer takes the reader on a journey of mind, body, and spirit. 390 pages.