THE BOOKS

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Romance

Romance is an interesting word. It conjures up all kinds of thoughts for both men and women: candlelight, soft music, longing looks. Some might even think of a walk in the park or a bike ride together. But no matter how you see it, romance is really the act of wooing one another; it's a longing to be with someone and acting in such a way that makes that person desire to be with you.

For many couples, romance is easy before marriage—there were no kids to distract them, no pressures of finances to fight over, no annoying habits to live with. After marriage, these things start to eat away at your longing to be with your spouse. Desire is a key part of romance, so the act of wooing doesn't work very well if there is none. Perhaps you've grown distant in your relationship and you spend more time with friends and the children than you do with each other.

Science

Science, is the process of changing how we know things.  It is the foundation our culture and society.  While civilizations come and go, science grows steadily onward.  It does this by watching itself.

Recursion is the essence of science.  For example, science papers cite other science papers, and that process of research pointing at itself invokes a whole higher level, the emergent shape of citation space.  Recursion always does that.  It is the engine of scientific progress and thus of the progress of society.

A particularly fruitful way to look at the history of science is to study how science itself has changed over time, with an eye to what that trajectory might suggest about the future.

Mystery

Reading great mysteries, just like reading any other magnificent book, reality falls away and we become part of this fictional world that’s captivated our imagination.  It’s magical!  When we regret coming to the end of a story because we will miss the world or the characters we’ve become close with, we’ve truly experienced something magical.

In mysteries, there are puzzles to solve.  The reader must piece together the clues, and if you do this one step ahead of the detective, booyah!!  You puff up with pride.  More than the puzzle, though, mysteries help us cope with the psychological and emotional concept of death and our own mortality.  There’s an old joke that says there are only two things we can all be sure of: taxes and death.

You can actually evade taxes, but you can never evade death.  It will come, one way or another.  In real life, we’re never prepared for death.  It is never rational and never easily accepted.  Ah, but in a mystery, death makes perfect sense–or at least it does by the time the sleuth has solved the crime and brought the killer to justice.  He or she uses brain power (grey cells, if you’re Hercule Poirot) to deduce the truth behind the facade the killer has created.

Which brings us full circle to the idea of justice.  In a mystery, death is explained through reasoning.  A truth is discovered.  For just a while, death, the one thing we cannot escape and can never understand, makes sense and we can accept it.

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