4 Books to Read This Summer!

I always love to share a good book. Here’s a couple suggestions if you’re looking for that book to curl up with in a thunderstorm, or lay out with on the beach!

Science: interested in the way the brain works, and how the field of neuroscience is progressing?

Check out “The Future of the Mind” by Michio Kaku. This non-fiction about “The scientific quest to understand, enhance, and empower the mind,” inspired a post about dreaming, making me wonder if our brains are actually some sort of antenna or connection to another dimension or a higher plane.

But the science in the book is real, and you will learn all about technological advances in controlling things with the mind, artificial intelligence, enhancing our own intelligence, and much more! I’m a thinker, so what I loved about this book is the fact that I had to keep pausing to think over a point made–not because it was too complicated to understand, rather because it spawns multiple pathways of new connections, much like the seemingly (but not) random neural connections in our own brains.

Punk Rock Meets Science: Greg Graffin of Bad Religion weaves punk rock with the science of evolution.

From “Anarchy Evolution” by Greg Graffin, I learned a lot about evolution, and a lot about punk rock. Just when I started to get a little bored by the science, Graffin would delve into an anecdote about the punk rock scene he helped create in California in the 80’s. Then, the punk rock story would get tied back into his scientific point! He draws parallels between the chaos of a mosh pit, and the chaos of life. I love his naturalist worldview, his love of nature, and his distrust of authority.

In addition to being a punk rock frontman for over three decades, Graffin is also a Professor of evolutionary biology at Cornell. I was turned onto the book after being a fan of Bad Religion for years; I even saw them at the House of Blues a few years back in Boston.

Classic Fiction: if you never got around to reading Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, do it.

This summer I will be releasing a series of essays on JoeJarvis.me about “Lord of the Rings”, the classic trilogy by JRR Tolkien. Everywhere throughout the novels I saw references to power, the corruption it brings, and comments on the impossibility of wielding the power of force for positive ends.

The books are also significantly different from the movies. Tom Bombadil is an apparently immortal guardian of the forest, who has a chapter or two in the “Fellowship of the Ring”. And after Sauron is defeated and the Ring destroyed, there is another whole segment that takes place in the Shire, where Saruman and Worm-tongue have installed a Mafia-style government.

Also, the detail when the company visits the elven land of Lothlorien was not at all captured in the movies. The area is much more magical and mythical in the books.

How could you say no to this classic? It has so much to offer! Except for a couple Frodo/Sam chapters in “The Two Towers”, the novels are gripping from start to finish.

New Fiction: like new ideas, interesting philosophies, futuristic stories, or just me and my writing?

Can’t miss the opportunity to plug my own book, “Anarchy in New England”! I am getting the first round of feedback, and people appear to be pleased. No, not just my family and friends! Feedback from people on social media that I don’t know seems to suggest it is an interesting, exciting read. I make it a habit not to ask people if they liked it, so that I don’t put them on the spot or dig for compliments. But I have received texts from out of the blue from friends and acquaintances, perhaps surprised, praising the quality of writing and attention to detail in creating the fictitious world of New England 100 years in the future, with no government!

From an Amazon review:

In the author’s debut novel, readers can find all the excitement of a thriller novel while still getting an idea of how an anarchist society could function — and it’s not the chaos with which anarchy is often equated. While the book is for entertainment at its core, the third-person descriptions of private security companies, magnet tunnels and advertisement-funded apartments help inspire the reader to see what could be in store if government gets out of the way.

…With a healthy blend of action — think hit men, fires, even combat — and quieter scenes, the novel will keep you on your toes but has substance beyond its climactic scenes.


Anarchy in New England, a novel by Joe Jarvis

It’s been a little slow around this blog lately, and I am sorry for the lull, but that should change! It is so exciting that fewer than six months into 2015, which I dubbed the year of writing, my first fiction novel is being published, Anarchy in New England.

Anarchy in New England Cover (FINAL)

The story is a thought experiment, in many ways, and offers an interesting perspective. The novel takes place in a stateless society, but not a lawless world. A hundred years in the future, New England has rebounded from a global meltdown, and leads the world in technology. There are still rules, there are still consequences for your actions, and for all intents and purposes, “authority”. But the rules are not centrally mandated, but instead worked out through the market.

But the CEO of one of the largest security companies in New England has an idea to revive the old system. With no government, he can’t get a bailout for his fading security company, so Mr. Drake decides to try to form a new government, which he would run.

Reporter Molly Metis is onto him though. Despite attempts to stop her, she continues to dig deeper into recent events surrounding Drake and his associates. She is sure she can expose the dark plot, but will anybody care? And what will be the cost?

It should be an interesting read that gets you to consider topics you may never have though about, much like I try to do with this blog. How would certain things play-out in a society without government? Anarchy usually is taken to mean chaos, but could order rise without centralized control?

Anyway, that is what I have been up to, as well as working on a prequel, that goes into more detail about the actual collapse in the 2020’s. I’m excited to get out there and promote, and at the same time I know the process will give me plenty of material for JoeJarvisExplainsItAll.

I’m going through the process of trying to live my dreams, and I feel like I am settling into a nice trajectory. I am at the very beginning of my journey still, and there will surely be countless more ups and downs. But the ride is what it is all about, and as long as I use the downs to gain momentum, they can’t be considered all that negative.

This is a scary point to be at in following your dreams, because the book is only going to start being read in the next couple of days. I am braced for the first wave of feedback, including someone with a popular podcast who is currently reading Anarchy in New England, to see if it is good enough for him to have me on his show. So naturally, the left brain and right brain are having it out, trying to balance the optimism with the pessimism. In reality, I just need to wait and see what happens, since at this point, I can not affect the outcome.

But since going into things with a generally positive, energetic attitude seems to work out, that is what I plan to do! The first phase of promotion is going to be focused on New England, because of the name of the novel and because that is where I live. If anyone wants to suggest events, media, or even a book club for me to visit with, I am open for all the possibilities!

Get in touch with me here, by contacting me through my other blog JoeJarvis.me.

Click here to order the novel on Amazon!