Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Challenge

There's a meme on Facebook asking everyone to identify 10 books that have stayed with you. Here's what they are for me.

Children's books
Science Fiction

  • "Childhood's End," by Arthur C. Clarke. The first science fiction book I read. It's about the end of the beginning. Kicked off an interest in that entire subset of literature.
  • "Dune," by Frank Herbert. A cross between science fiction and fantasy, probably is the best example of a sociologically complete fantasy world with compelling characters. The sequels suffer by comparison, but so does nearly everything else.
  • Isaac Asimov's writings, especially the Foundation and Robot series. He had me at Daneel, Harry Seldon, and the Mule.
  • "The Far Side Gallery," by Gary Larson. It's a book of cartoons in the same way the Shakespeare is a collection of plays.
  • "The World According to Garp," by John Irving. If only his other works were as good as this one. It took two tries to get through the book, but only because of a weird circus story inserted near the beginning. Only read this thanks to my law school roommate, and it was totally worth it. Reread a dozen times.
Everything else

  • "An enquiry into human understanding," by David Hume. A lovely look at the nature of humanity by a brilliant philosopher. Easy to read, enjoyable... I remember sitting under a tree at the Turman dorms at Emory and being (figuratively) engrossed in its pages. Most philosophy, especially by 18th century philosophers, is dull reading. This was not.
  • "Law and the business of the entertainment industries," a legal textbook on entertainment law. Dry as Oscar Wilde's wit, but the most fascinating legal subject matter I've ever read.
  • "Predictably irrational," a popularization of behavioral economics by Dan Ariely. Had I not read that, I wouldn't have run into Daniel Kahnemen and his master work "Thinking Fast and Slow." Much of what I do professionally on drafting laws and regulations owe tremendously to Kahnemen's insights and research.
Honorable mentions

  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. It's about winning. Thoroughly.
  • "N- Space," Larry Niven. Known space is pretty unknowable.
  • "Origins of Intelligence Services," by Francis Dvornik. Spying isn't a recent invention, after all.
  • "Secrets," by Daniel Ellsberg.It's about the courage to do what's right.
  • "A man in full," by Tom Wolfe. The "Right Stuff" is also a contender. Read and re-read.
  • "The Godfather," by Mario Puzo, listened to in full, on tape, while looking at colleges.
  • "Clash of Civilizations," by Samuel Huntington. It doesn't have to be true to be terrifying.
  • "The Source," by James Michener. An epic tale of the history of the middle east.