Things to think about:

The Mammonite Agenda - excerpt

Fabulous Books

Our Constitution | Fiction

Jake Shimabukuro, ukelele

Hayao Miyazaki | Sacha Baron Cohen | Martial Arts | Mishmash

Our Constitution

America's Constitution: A Biography
Akhil Reed Amar

"In many ways, the work is like an annotated version of the Constitution itself but in essay form....An excellent book that provides a real service and deserves a wide audience; highly recommended." Library Journal

"A rigorous yet approachable work....Amar has written his analysis with the general reader in mind, taking pains to examine each issue from all sides and tracing the ways each resolution has played out in real life." The Boston Globe

The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction
Akhil Reed Amar

Amar's landmark work invites citizens to a deeper understanding of their Bill of Rights and will set the basic terms of debate about it for modern lawyers, jurists, and historians for years to come. In our continuing battles over freedom of religion and expression, arms bearing, privacy, and states rights, Amar concludes, we must hearken to both the Founding Fathers who created the Bill and their sons and daughters who reconstructed it.

"Akhil Amar is one of the most creative thinkers in the legal academy. Not surprisingly, he has produced the best book ever written about what we call the Bill of Rights. He is especially illuminating about the vast differences between the assumptions as to what these amendments meant in 1789 as against their interpretation in 1868, when the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment expected them to be applied against the states."—Sanford Levinson, University of Texas, School of Law


Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

New York Times review:

"Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them in the arts of war... The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'"

This is really a story of what a child might do to survive a life he didn't understand, where he was - unknowingly - "the One." It's astonishing, clever, touching, disturbing. If you've ever longed to be "the One" - read this.

Speaker for the Dead
Orson Scott Card

Part 2 of the Ender series. In this, Ender has become the Speaker for the Dead, who attempts to reveal the truth about the person (or other creature) which has died - no matter how painful. The issues of race/species relations and understanding, family, the nature of love, are written well into this story.

Series also includes Xenocide and Children of the Mind. All are worth reading, though the last 2 (in my opinion) could have been much shortened and merged.

Strangers on a Train
Patricia Highsmith

The basis of the Hitchcock film of the same name. Highsmith explores the realms of conscience, guilt, social expectations, bonding, and what we may or may not be willing to do - if we don't think we'll be caught.

The Price of Salt
Patricia Highsmith

First published in 1952 under the pseudonym Clare Morgan, this lesbian romance social drama commentary was actually written by Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote Strangers on a Train and the Ripley series. Because Ms. Highsmith is very interested in social and personal ethics (see any of her other books) and their ramifications, the characters and situations here have depth beyond the usual romantic conflict.

They say a film version is coming!