Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Best Books of 2011: A Review

I used to try compiling a list of "best books" there were mentioned on several annual lists. I eventually gave up, but I recently discovered that the Williamsburg public has the ABBC: All the Best Books Compilation for 2011. The top novels are The Tiger's Wife, The Marriage Plot, and State of Wonder. The top books in non-fiction are In the Garden of Beasts, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, and Lost in Shangri-La.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The 2012 Annual Review of Psychology, with a cursory look at An Rev Anthropology, Sociology, and Political Science

For some reason, the Annual Review of Psychology now seems to have a blast from the future, what with it's 2012 edition being released in September 2011. I somehow missed the release of the 2012 edition, but I downloaded it today. The big names in this issue are Paul Bloom in "Religion, Morality, Evolution" and Joshua Knobe in "Experimental Philosophy." However, the articles that I immediately want to read are "Intelligence" by Ian J. Deary and "Personality Processes: Mechanisms by Which Personality Traits “Get Outside the Skin”" by Sarah E. Hampson. The Hampson article reviews the mechanisms that connect personality traits to real behavior. And there's an article about the psychological experience of unemployment. (I'm also wonky so I plan to read "Sources of Method Bias in Social Science Research and Recommendations on How to Control It" but I'll absolve those of you who skip it. )

The Annual Review of Anthropology focuses on mind and migration, two topics that I love, and it opens with a prefatory chapter on technology design, which is great for HCI people out there. However, if I read just one article, it will be "Concepts and Folk Theories" by Susan Gelman and Cristine Legare.

The Annual Review of Political Science includes "The Contribution of Behavior Economics to Political Science" by Rick Wilson, and "The Big Five Personality Traits in the Political Area" by Alan Gerber et al.

The Annual Review of Sociology--well, here's some cheap humor: the article "Foucault and Sociology" is written by Michael Power (sic)-- includes "The Sociology of Storytelling," "Statistical Models for Social Networks" (inner wonk again) and "Emotions and Social Movements."

If you're looking for annual reviews of a completely different nature, here are some top-10 book lists from the New York Times, Esquire, WaPo and other folks.