Summer Reading, the I.R.S. and Other Letters to the Editor

Seymour Spiegel
Jericho, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Where was science in the Summer Reading issue? And I do not mean books on U.F.O.s, psychology or parapsychology, or even what passes for “medicine.” Not everyone wants books that can be read and “digested” in a couple of hours of “reading.” Some of us like to read something more serious, less frivolous, that helps us understand the universe in which we live.

Ken Portnoy
Naperville, Ill.

To the Editor:

Would you please consider retiring the designation “summer reading”?

In the absence of strong contrary evidence from the cognitive sciences, I am quite convinced that my neurons and synapses do not undergo any meaningful changes as the days grow longer. With the arrival of warmer weather, just as I feel no compulsion to walk about in Capri pants, I feel no need to suddenly start reading romance, sci-fi or sports books.

To prove my point, after applying an S.P.F. 50 sunscreen, I am heading to my hammock with Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s tortuous “The Melancholy of Resistance.”

Farley Helfant
Toronto

Three Guns

To the Editor:

In the first half of the Summer Reading issue, I came upon no fewer than three references to Anton Chekhov’s famous gun (in Richard North Patterson’s review of Stacey Abrams’s “While Justice Sleeps”; in Sarah Lyall’s mention of Catherine Steadman’s “The Disappearing Act”; and in William D. Cohan’s review of “Spooked,” by Barry Meier). I find this type of repetition puzzling, unless you don’t anticipate readers who pore over every single page, enjoying the Book Review’s high standards. I’m hoping not to discover Chekhov’s gun in the Book Review’s second half — I will be ready to go off.

Judith Ann Lanzinger
Sylvania, Ohio

Better Than Average

To the Editor:

In Steven Brill’s review of “Noise,” by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein (May 30), there is a typical jab at federal employees who are said to be judged according to “loosey-goosey standards that allow over 98 percent” to be judged “fully successful.”

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