The Botanist and the Vintner – Christy Campbell

I think it’s fair to assume that at some point many of you have sipped a glass of wine, nodded your head solemnly, and murmured: “Mmm. Yes, that’s good.” Whether you’re under the watchful eye of an eager waiter or in hearing distance of someone you want to impress, the appearance of connoisseurship in this…

Middlemarch – George Eliot

Ah, Victorian fiction; lengthy narratives, plots that may involve the return of at least one character from the dead, and the frequent determination of a woman’s character based on her gaze/finger slenderness. I admire Victorian authors for their commitment to realism and their vital reflections upon the complexity of human nature amid sociocultural change. When…

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies – Jared Diamond

In this seventeenth episode I make a new friend, we grab some beer, and sit down to discuss Jared Diamond’s deconstruction of 13,000 years of human history, the spread of colonialism, and racial exceptionalism in Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies (1997). This ambitious work of non-fiction quickly became an international bestseller…