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Jan 26 2007

Babbling about books.
Funny enough, last night I was speaking with someone about books. He asked if I had a list of my favorite books online, which of course, I had to say that no, I hadn't. There used to be a reviews section to this site (oh so long ago) but the book section wasn't too great, and was then removed. There was even a book review section by Mzebonga on his site, but that too has gone away. While plans for a new reviews section is still on the idea board, nothing has yet happened.
As for my own personal list of books, that is a tough one to do. I've done a lot of reading in my lifetime and it's tough to keep track of all those I've loved or hated. As for my own personal collection of books that I have at home, I will take a look at those here in my own office that I really enjoyed. These are in no particular order other than how they are on my bookshelf.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - This was tough to follow the first time through but really, that's not what it's about. (I read all of them in one go, as the version I have is a hardcover collection of all of the books.) It was a fun read, and I've read it a number of times since, both in full and in parts. It's a fun and imaginative book, and I for one loved them, even if the last one or two weren't as great as the first few.

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams - For those who can't swallow the insanity of all the Hitchhiker books, this (and the other Dirk books) are easier to digest but just as imaginative and fun to read.

Backwards - Rob Grant - This is a Red Dwarf book. That's right, the writers of the series actually wrote books. Honestly, if you like the series then you'll like the books. You can see where they've lifted ideas for/from the show, but it gives you a lot more depth into the characters themselves, as well as spend time exploring storylines in a way you really can't on TV.

Lord of the Rings - J. R.R. Tolkien - The first two books are sheer agony to get through. If you like authors that give insanely long detailed descriptions of EVERYTHING then these are the books for you. The last book was fantastic, making it all worth it, but these are not for those who don't enjoy reading or can't force themselves through pages of descriptions and (if you can manage not to just skip past them all) the damned hobbit songs.

Children of the Mind - The memory of Earth - Orson Scott Card - I haven't read this one in a while to remember exactly what it's about but it's Orson Scott Card and I like the way he writes and his characters. I bet it was a good book, even if I can't exactly recall what it's about. I might have to re-read it to refresh my memory.

Myst - (There is no author listed on the spine for this so too bad) - Yep, a book about the video game. Honestly, the books are great. I liked them a lot. They're interesting and even had me thinking that I'd love the game. The game wasn't my cup of tea, as after wandering around for several hours pushing on levers and being confused, I decided to stick with the books. The books went into the background of that world, and was actually quite interesting when it came to the books and how worlds were written into them. Yes, I said WORLDS, not words.

Asimov's chronology of science and discovery - Isaac Asimov - This isn't a fictional book and isn't exactly meant to be read cover to cover but I did and it was really interesting. It goes through various discoveries through the years and various important events. It's not for everyone but it sure was interesting.

Lonely Planets - David Grinspoon - This is another non-fiction book, and is about the search for life (any type) on other planets. It goes over how we've looked at the planets in the past, our ideas we've had about life on other planets through the ages, how we look for it now, what he believes life is, his ideas about the planets and their atmospheres and other interesting topics all tied into the search for life. I found it really interesting and honestly, really funny. His footnotes made me laugh repeatedly and his tone of writing made even the most technical bits understandable. This isn't a book just for nerds, it's for anyone interested in this topic.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S Thompson - If you've seen the movie, the book is just as insane, if not more so in some ways. I love the way he writes, a stream of insane consciousness, with insightful and thoughtful tidbits tossed in here and there. I've not read a lot of his other works but this isn't a political book or anything like that (as some of his others are apparently)

I, Robot - Isaac Asimov - If you've seen the movie, the book is NOTHING like it. I think some of the names are the same and a tiny bit of the plot is, but really, two different things completely. Asimov is one of my favorite authors, so his name will pop up a few more times. I read this a while ago and don't recall anything specific that jumps out about this book.

A brief history of time - Stephen Hawking - It is brief, but it covers a lot and was interesting to read. I've actually heard the audio book far more times than I've read the printed version, but it's interesting either way. Hawking seems to have a sense of humor as well, which makes the topic a bit less dry for the average person.

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson - This was a great book to read. It was funny, interesting and had some really funky ideas about computers/virtual worlds. Some of the plot involving the way Snow Crash works was a bit hazy, but I understood the idea and really, it's a unique one that I enjoyed thinking about. I was given this by a now-lost friend, which sucks, but the book itself rocks. For anyone who can't envision what a 3D world with avatars and such might look like, you can get a good idea of it from You pick an avatar and walk around etc, and this book contains a highly evolved version of this.

Fight Club - Choke - Lullaby - Invisible Monsters - Haunted - Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk - They're short books but vividly written. My favorite is Invisible Monsters followed closely by Lullaby and Fight Club. They're my favorites because the first time I read them, I had to read them a second time right away. (Much like how it was watching Fight Club the first time if some fuckhead didn't spoil it for you beforehand.) Palahniuk is a minimalist writer, so they're short, to the point and almost never what you're expecting.

Ender series - Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game is probably a book that everyone should read in school. It's well written (as is everything he does) and brilliant. The whole series is great and hey, it features video games. I would bet that the creators of Toys (the one with Robin Williams in it) got the basic idea of their war videos from these books.

Foundation / Robot books - Isaac Asimov - The foundation series is a science fiction classic and it truly deserves the title. Taking place in a far distant future, the whole series is interesting, imaginative and at least to me, seems to be a really good description of a viable future. If there was a future for us all that I could pick, I'd go for this one, as in the end, it's the only hopeful one that makes any sense. The fact that Asimov is firstly a scientific writer, the concepts and science in these books are usually quite sound and realistic. When it comes to the geeks who argue about sci-fi classification, Asimov goes into the hard sci-fi section, as it's based on true science concepts (of his time in some cases), and doesn't break some of the "rules" of physics and science that other so called softer sci-fi does. (Such as breaking light-speed, time travel etc.) Asimov's characters are real and even his robots end up becoming characters you care about.

Brave New World - The doors of perception - Heaven & Hell - Aldous Huxley - Most of us had to read the first book while in school, but for a school book, it's a damned good one. (Well, if your english teacher doesn't suck the fun out of it.) My copy of the book is actually stolen from my high school, as in my final year, just before leaving for the year, I found a room with all the returned books, and those that were damaged or being tossed out or phased out etc, so I picked up a few books that I wanted to read (or had enjoyed reading during the year).

2001 2010 etc etc - Arthur C Clarke - I don't know about anyone else, but the movie is painful to watch, even if it was some great film of its time. The books are great though, and are another classic sci-fi series that will live on for a long, long time. Even though we've outdated the original title (and getting closer to the second) the books are well-written and interesting, and actually feature some ideas that turned out to be true or are used today in our everyday life. From what I recall of all his books, he's another "hard" sci-fi writer. (That doesn't make the books more dull, just more believable. Imagination is not lacking in either Clarke's or Asimov's books.)

Atlas of the Skies - This is a nice little atlas with some great photos and illustrations, but filled with facts. I use the list of planets, moons and constellations to name my Sims. In the spring, when it's not so damned cold, I will use this book to learn as many constellations in the sky as I can. So far all I know are the big dipper (part of ursa major which I can't identify as a whole), the little dipper (swap out major with minor from what I remember) and of course, Orion, as the Orion's belt is quite vivid in the sky where I am and this time of year. Sure this isn't a fictional book that you read cover to cover but I use it a lot to look up things or refresh my memory on names of moons etc.

So there we go, some of the books I have in my office, have read, and enjoyed. There were a bunch of books skipped because I haven't yet read them, but I'm sure that if anyone even made it all the way through to the end here, they've just about had enough and I can't help but agree.
If you have any questions or comments then you can let me know here..

More random reading.
The many worlds of Orion : We're in the Orion arm of the Milky Way? :

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