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I’m a big scifi/fantasy/horror fan. The genre’s dominate my bookshelf (and also my Netflix Queue), but believe it not they are not the only books I read. Here are a few nonfiction books from my bookshelves:

Origins of the Modern Mind by Merlin Donald

I read this for a Cognitive Anthropology class I took at University. One of the best classes I ever took. If I had gone on to do my Master’s in Anthropology it would have been in this area. Here’s a blurb from Goodreads: This bold book asks the ultimate question of the life sciences: How did the human mind acquire its incomparable power? In seeking the answer, Merlin Donald traces the evolution of human culture and cognition from primitive apes to artificial intelligence, presenting an enterprising and original theory of how the human mind evolved from its presymbolic form.

The Darwinian Revolution  by Michael Ruse

I read this (and a few other books I’ve also kept) for a Philosophy class on Science, Nature and Paradigm Shifts. It was another incredible class, one I’ve never forgotten. Here’s a blurb: Originally published in 1979, The Darwinian Revolution was the first comprehensive and readable synthesis of the history of evolutionary thought. Though the years since have seen an enormous flowering of research on Darwin and other nineteenth-century scientists concerned with evolution, as well as the larger social and cultural responses to their work, The Darwinian Revolution remains remarkably current and stimulating.

I do love Science. As I’ve said before my BA is in Anthropology, with a focus in the Biological Anthropology. I also took Microbiology, Human Osteology, Zooarchaeology, and several Geology courses as an undergrad. But before I focused on my degree path I was an English major.

Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology by Helen Vendler

I read this during a required course for all English majors.

From Goodreads: Written by a preeminent critic and legendary teacher, this text and anthology presents the incisive, practical methods of reading and writing that Helen Vendler has used for decades to demystify poetry for her students and introduce them to its artistry and pleasures.

Figures of Speech by Arthur Quinn

Read during the same course mentioned above. I kept several books from this course–all treasures.

From Goodreads: Writing is not like chemical engineering. The figures of speech should not be learned the same way as the periodic table of elements. This is because figures of speech are not about hypothetical structures in things, but about real potentialities within language and within ourselves. The “figurings” of speech reveal the apparently limitless plasticity of language itself. We are inescapably confronted with the intoxicating possibility that we can make language do for us almost anything we want. Or at least a Shakespeare can. The figures of speech help to see how he does it, and how we might.

Therefore, in the chapters presented in this volume, the quotations from Shakespeare, the Bible, and other sources are not presented to exemplify the definitions. Rather, the definitions are presented to lead to the quotations. And the quotations are there to show us how to do with language what we have not done before. They are there for imitation.

And what nonfiction book am I reading now?

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

From Goodreads: In this exuberant book, the incomparable  Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and  excitement of a lifetime of writing. Here are  practical tips on the art of writing from a master of  the craft-everything from finding original ideas to  developing your own voice and style-as well as the  inside story of Bradbury’s own remarkable career  as a prolific author of novels, stories, poems,  films, and plays.Zen In The Art Of  Writing is more than just a how-to manual for the  would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of  writing itself that will delight, impassion, and  inspire the writer in you. In it, Bradbury  encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts  and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius  dwells, and he shows that success as a writer  depends on how well you know one subject: your own  life.