Shortly after the dark night and the eerie shell-shocked following day of the 2016 US election I found myself yearning to read some nonfiction, specifically in audiobook, as I listen to a lot of books at work that way and get through them quicker. I picked a couple I’d been meaning to read for a while: The Ancestor’s Tale and The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, Elixir by Brian Fagan, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall, and The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond.
It’s been over a month now since the disgusting result of that ugly night and I’ve read three of these and am half-way through the fourth. It was only last week that I started thinking:
- What was it that made me decide to start reading nonfiction all of a sudden?
- Why did I choose these titles in particular?
- Why did I decide shortly after the results of the election to start reading them?
Like many people in this country, after that fateful Tuesday I was feeling pretty low in many respects. So my subconscious response – and it was subconscious because it’s only in the last week that I’ve put it together when I started reading these books and why – was to embed and lose myself in science books. On anthropology. On science. On the history of water. On humanity. On history. On astronomy. On particle physics. On biology. On the story of homo sapiens and the homo species.
Because here I was able to finds some answers. Not to the whats and whys of November 4th, but to hypothesis and theory and fact and the scientific method and evolution and how humanity has gone through many highs and many lows. This planet has almost had all life on it wiped out five times with a possible sixth currently in the works.
It’s some very enlightening reading . . . and also some very grim reading.
It’s humbling and also hopeful.
That’s what I’m taking from this reading and why I plan to continue doing it into 2017.