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Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

My "serious" read for this cycle. It's a pretty fascinating book. The basic idea is that, if you look at the world now, Eurasians have been extremely successful. Why? There's no evidence that Eurasians are smarter or better than the rest of humanity, genetically. They managed to conquer North America, South America, Australia and New Guinea because they had guns, germs and steel. But how did they get those things before everyone else? Diamond examines the differences that prehistoric peoples in various areas had in terms of climate, available plants and animals available for domestication, and when humans arrived in the area. His argument basically boils down to "Eurasians got really, really lucky" in terms of what they started with, and how long they had to work with it. The book is a little dry in spots, and gets [retty repetitive near the end, but I'd still recommend it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Finally! I zipped through this (for me, anyway; less than a week). It's done, and I'm satisfied with the way it ended.

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