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  1. <I looked a few pages in and saw nothing similar, but we can merge this if there's a similar thread. Post a link and I'll humbly apologize> I finished Ender in Exile today, the ninth Orson Scott Card novel in the 'Ender-verse' that I've read in two years. Though they definitely suffer diminishing returns, I've been engrossed in them for a while. They are really strangely paced and conceived, the farther they get from the original, Ender's Game, and Card's religion (Mormonism) starts infiltrating the books little by little, which is fair enough as religion will exist in the distant future. And just two weeks ago, I finished the super-excellent Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond's engrossing argument that history can be studied scientifically, that individual human societies aren't really superior over one another so much as they developed in more rewarding areas of Earth, where they can develop immunities, share crops, develop trade, and much much more. A science theory book that is written very much in layman's terms, and a great read for anyone who likes the complexity and trajectory of human culture. One other book, I've got about 40 pages left of, is Emissaries of the Dead, a sci-fi novel that won the Philip K. Dick award last year. I've been a little bit more into genre work in the last year or two, since I bought Ender's Game, but I don't know that I love this. It seems like a pulp detective novel meshed with extreme sci-fi. The story is a murder mystery set in a moon-sized, hollow, cylindrical space station run by an independent AI intelligence that has created an eco-system for some vague scientific study, and the humans there are a sort of diplomatic study team. Interesting ideas, but I don't know if the plot pulls its own weight. Next, I'm starting on a Christmas gift I got, Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought, which is about how the brain structures and uses language to communicate ideas. Since I teach language for a living, and still am working on my second language, hopefully this is interesting. I know the community here leans toward genre stuff which is not my specialty, but I like hearing that people read those things, you know, books