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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Jared Diamond
Island Home: A landscape memoir - Tim Winton

Short and sweet. Winton presents his deeply thought out insights about how it is that the Australian landscape shapes our identity. The argument is made of anecdotes from Winston's own family interacting with the bush. I suspect that, for many Australians, these anecdotes will feel like family holidays.


If you've felt the homely glow of being on country you will agree with Winton that Australia should be weaving culture into the threads of the landscape, fostering that indigenous, familial connection to country that has, at long last, finally been hammered into the last couple of generations of white Australians. Winton does not indulge to suggest any returns necessary to encourage that sort of thinking.

Island Home: A landscape memoir - Tim Winton
"To many of us country is no longer just real estate. Now and then, thanks to those prophetic voices, we see the world, in the words of David Mowaljarlai, as 'everything standing up alive'."
Life's Grandeur: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin - Stephen Jay Gould

Life's Grandeur has echoed through my thinking since I originally read it. As an Australian and a cricket fan, I found the baseball chapters wearisome, to the point of giving up the book at one stage.I'm better off for having finished it though.


Gould nails one point in particular: that evolution is radiative not directional, hence, we can not make any distinction of inferior and superior species. I believe many people make the mistake of taking humanity as the 'pinnacle' of evolution. While human social structure is very interesting, and, perhaps, sets us apart from all other extant animals, it wasn't an inevitable outcome of evolution