Critical Linking for November 30th, 2015

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

The NYT’s year-end 100 Notable Books List is still the most influential around.

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Once in awhile, Davis continues, Reagan’s nerdy tastes in books influenced how he governed. During his tenure in the White House, Reagan relied on The Citizens’ Advisory Council on National Space Policy, a think tank made up of astronauts, engineers and even science-fiction writers like Robert Heinlein and Jerry Pournelle, for advice on future technology and the emerging importance of space policy.

“I want some nerds to advise on this. Like even bigger space nerds than we have over at NASA.”

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When saying ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe’, have you ever felt like you were kind of counting? Well, you are – in Celtic numbers, chewed up over time but recognisably descended from the ones rural Britishers used when counting animals and playing games. ‘Hickory, dickory, dock’ – what in the world do those words mean? Well, here’s a clue: hovera, dovera, dick were eight, nine and ten in that same Celtic counting list.

Mind blown.

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“I still have a precious memory of getting to the last page for the umpteenth time,” Mitchell has written, “and realising with a giddy clarity that being a goalkeeper or inventor or forester was yesterday’s news, and that I had to be a writer and nothing else would do. I yearned to do to other people what A Wizard of Earthsea had just done to me – even if I couldn’t articulate exactly what that was.”

David Mitchell on reading Le Guin.

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