Room for debate

by John Quiggin on December 31, 2020

A new regular feature on CT! Once a week, we’ll be posting an open thread, where you can post on any topic you like, subject to the usual moderation rules.

The other purpose of this regular post will be to deal with thread derailment. An example is a recent thread on Brexit which deviated into a lengthy analysis of labelling rules for marmalade and chocolate. Disputes of this kind will be directed to the open thread, where the participants can argue to their hearts’ content.

The first suggested topic for discussion: what should we call this feature? The current title is not very imaginative, so feel free to suggest something better. Is Marmalade and Chocolate too obscure?

End-of-year positives: fiction

by Eszter Hargittai on December 31, 2020

I decided to dedicate two separate posts to books, this one is for fiction. I usually don’t read much fiction so last year I wouldn’t have had enough to write about for such a post (and what I did read I didn’t like so wouldn’t have wanted to write about it). I still don’t have that much, the hope is that you’ll add your own. Like last year, this is not about books that were published in 2020, I am just sharing what I read in 2020 and recommend.

My big reading innovation this year, by the way, was listening to audiobooks. It helped me read more since I can still follow along comfortably at 1.5x speed, often even 1.75x or 2x speed, which is definitely faster than I read. Importantly, it lets me multitask so I can make progress on a book while cooking or working on a jigsaw puzzle (one of my pandemic sanity preoccupations although some of you may recall that this wasn’t a pandemic novelty for me).

This book is definitely not new, it’s even been made into a movie already (I haven’t seen it), but I only came across it this year: Still Alice by Lisa Genova (2007). It’s a tough topic, early onset Alzheimer’s in an academic. It’s beautifully written and the best fictional depiction of academia I have seen (but again, to be fair, I don’t see that much fiction). It did make me rather paranoid, but following up on the book I also read about things one can do to help delay onset (FWIW, solving crossword puzzles is not one of them).

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