October 2005 - My Reading List - Home
When Mo is asleep, I read. She's on the couch right now, and I'm going through a Philip K. Dick anthology. I have a similar pile at Work, so I figured I'd post each.
First, here's my Home reading stack that's next to my bed.
- The Carpet Makers - An amazing English translation of a German Sci-Fi now-classic, brought to the states by Orson Scott Card. Told in a series of short vignettes, it's the story of men who weave carpets entirely out of the hair of their wives and daughters. They weave only one their whole lives, and their sons live off the proceeds as they start work on their own hair-carpets.
- Lion's Blood and Zulu Heart - A novel told in an alternate reality where Africans colonized the Americas and enslaved the poor Irish and other white Europeans. The author has done excellent research on the Ethiopians and Zulus, two of my favorite cultures. He sprinkles in Arabic, Ethiopian and Zulu phrases which makes my reading fun. I need to get back into Arabic, I've lost it all since my few terms in college. Sean McCormack speaks good Arabic if I remember correctly. I remember the lettering, but all my verbalization has atrophied.
- Second Variety, Paycheck and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick - Two great collections of short stories from one of the greatest sci-fi writers of our time. The book(s) are always better than the movies. You'd be surprised how many movies have been made from Philip K. Dick stories. (Screamers (made from Second Variety) was a better movie than most folks gave it credit.)
- Learn Zulu and Teach Yourself Zulu - We're going to teach the baby English (both), Spanish (me and possibly an immersion school), Zulu[Ndebele] (Mo, possibly me, and her family) and Baby Sign Language, so I need to learn more than just the present tense.
- Ilium by Dan Simmons - I'm having a hell of a time getting through this tome. Simmons is brilliant, and the whole Hyperion series was a great read. However, this thing is like reading molasses. I want to make it through though, because the idea of a large-scope sci-fi space opera based on Homer's Iliad is such a great premise. I may need to re-read the Iliad first since 11th grade English class is a distant memory.
- The Ringworld Throne by Larry Niven - Ringworld, check. Ringworld Engineers, sure, it was good. Ringworld's Children, it's waiting in my Audible.com queue. But this one also doesn't flow. I have high hopes for Ringworld's Children, but I need to read this one, number three first. Plus, the whole Known Space ethos is so wonderful.
- Altered Carbon - Actually, I'm halfway through this on my iPod. Truly, Audible.com's Light Listener program is a fantastic deal. If you want a referral, email me. We'll each get a free month. This is a brilliant book where humans travel between planets by "resleeving" themselves in other bodies, some artificial, while putting their own bodies on ice.
- Software Factories - I made it 3/4 of the way through this before I gave my talk at TechEd, but I need to mark a few pages and highlight a few things. I may actually just give up and read Kathleen Dollard's Code Generation in .NET instead.
Be Prepared! A Practical Handbook for New Dads - My wonderful friend Heidi gave me this book. I thought it was just a gag, but it's such a great book written with just the right dry humor that makes the point. It's actually by stand-up comic Gary Greenburg and illustrated by his wife. I'm done with this book, so I need to get it out of the stack and move it into the baby's room.
the zen of css design - The book that supports the concepts introduce by the site that more engineers used to convince more managers that CSS can work TODAY. Highly recommended. It's in-depth analysis of a number of themes from CSS Zen Garden and how they worked their magic. I'm about 75% through this. It's a quick read, but more of an "while on the can" book, if you know what I mean.
Neuromancer by William Gibson - The one that started cyberpunk. I got about 25% into this when I mentally declared that Snow Crash was the greatest book ever and that any thing Neal does should be immediately bronzed. I'll make it through though, but the fact that the cyberpunks in this book written in 1984 use phone booths does make it hard to stomach. But, who ever said predicting the future was easy?
- When the Wind Blows by James Patterson - I really enjoyed Maximum Ride, and I heard that this book was the adult expansion of that story. The sequel to When the Wind Blows is The Lake House, but it's being brutalized in the Amazon reviews, so I may shy away. However, Maximum Ride WAS a great book. We'll see. Plus, ALL the Alex Cross books are fantastic.
- Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice - This is kind of Interview With an Archangel, if you're familiar with the more Tom Cruisey/Brad Pitty Anne Rice book. This one has no vampires and is very biblical and historical. I'd have to ask Patrick Cauldwell if Anne got her details right, but it's moving along at a nice clip.
- Democracy Matters by Cornel West - More people would listen to Cornel if he'd shave his moustache, but regardless, the man is thoughtful. A fairly balanced and weighty monologue on ways America could pull it together.
- The Goal - I've false-started with this book more times than I care to say. I'm going to need to just do it in a weekend, because it's not working to read it piecemeal. It introduces the Theory of Constraints that Eli has built a consulting empire around. "It is based on the fact that, like a chain with its weakest link, in any complex system at any point in time, there is most often only one aspect of that system that is limiting its ability to achieve more of its goal."
- Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy - Man, oh, man, if only I was graceful enough to be a super spy or Navy SEAL. I'm 600 pages into this 900 page beast and it's getting good. You could literally beat a man to death with this book, and that may just be the dramatic conclusion of this international terrorist thriller.
- Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison - I loved Invisible Man. Ellison's work, along with Richard Wright, got me into African-American History, which I almost majored in before this whole computer thing worked out. When I heard that Juneteenth had been found and finished posthumously by John Callahan, Ellison's literary executor, I immediately bought a copy. However, here it's sat, at the bottom of the stack since. Sigh.
I'll post the Work stack next week during lunch.
Now playing: Alicia Keys - Goodbye / Butterflyz