Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster, by Jonathan V. Last

This is another must-read book about demography. People simply aren't having enough children, and, as a result, a disaster of unimaginable scope and extent is just around the corner. Already in Japan more adult diapers are sold than baby diapers. Nearly every country in the world is headed for a population implosion, and along the way nations will have a population that resembles an inverted pyramid, with the oldest ages forming the largest groups of people.

This book had enough numbers to glaze my non-mathematically-inclined eyes over a bit, but the thrust of the book is clear, the numbers are there and documented for those who do like to read such things, and the message of the book is sobering.

I would recommend this book to any reader who is concerned about the current state of the world, or even just of the U.S., or who is concerned about the likely future of the world or the U.S. I think, on the whole, Philip Longman's book The Empty Cradle is the better and easier read, so if you only read one on the current demographic situation around the world, read that one, but if you can afford the time to read two, do read both. But the most important recent book about demography is How Civilizations Die, by David Goldman, so if you truly can read only one, read that one.

Legends of the Guardian-King, a series by Karen Hancock

At some earlier point I blogged about the first book in this series, The Light of Eidon. This year I have read the other three books in the series, The Shadow Within, Shadow Over Kiriath, and Return of the Guardian-King. I loved these books! They are well-written Christian fantasy, exciting, thrilling, engaging. Some reviewers likened them to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, but I think the two series bear two very different flavors. Ms. Hancock's books are a bit more gruesome (and therein lies one of two caveats I would offer to my high recommendation: if you don't have the stomach for vivid descriptions of battles or duels, you probably won't like this series; the other caveat is that Ms. Hancock describes scenes of love in such a way that didn't bother me, but which I would not think healthy for unmarried folks). Ms. Hancock's secondary world feels more like a world parallel to the one we inhabit, whereas Tolkien's is our world in another era. Ms. Hancock more explicitly draws on Christian tradition; her Eidon is like Jehovah, who has given his servants two Words of Revelation, quoted in the Guardian-King series, and sounding a great deal like paraphrased Scripture.

These books kept me up late at night, because I couldn't bear to stop reading them before reaching the end. I continued to live in their secondary world for days after I finished. They are engrossing. I highly recommend them (keeping in mind my two caveats) to all readers interested in fantasy, even only remotely interested in fantasy.

More Than Two Months, Really!?!?

Yes, it has been longer than two months since I last put fingertips to the computer keyboard and typed up my thoughts about my reading. I don't have a good, overriding reason for such a long absence. The simple busy-ness of life has consumed my time, a problem everyone faces, I know. But here my children and my husband are on spring break, and thus I am not educating them (the children, that is) this week, and I can pretend that the dirty dishes are not piled high in the kitchen, and I am somewhat successfully blocking the call to read to my youngest children (the pre-literate ones; actually, I have worked out a deal with them to blog about a book, then read a book to them).

Some of the books I have read since I last blogged merit individual posts, and some I will throw together in one post. If you are among the handful of subscribers, your inbox/reading list will be inundated today (I hope! I mean to say, if I hold fast to my purpose to blog today).

Here goes...