Books

Wired had a couple of articles in the past few days on the books that geeks should have read, here and here. Lists of books are obviously very subjective, but I did like these lists:

The first one is:

  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide, Gary Gygax (1979)
    Okay, I don’t think I ever had a copy of the original 1st edition DMG, but I have certainly read through it, and its many successors through to the current 4th edition. I love how Wired describe it as a book for building worlds. But be warned that much of the charm of the first edition was the crazy tables for all sorts of things, which are handled in the modern editions in a much less entertaining way.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (1979)
    An absolute classic, as a book, a radio series, or on tv. Really can’t be recommended highly enough – he really was a comic genius. Up until last week, I had the tv series on my iphone, for emergency watching in boring situations, since it couldn’t fail to cheer me up.
  • Watchmen, Alan Moore (1986 to 1987)
    Yes, it’s unpleasant in places, and the whole Curse of the Black Ship thing is a bit random, but as a study in humanity it’s a rich and interesting book, which happens to be told in pictures as well as words. Though I do feel that the conclusion of the film actually improved on the original.
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter (1979)
    The first one on the list that I haven’t read. Though I did search for it on ebay last month, so there is some kind of intention to read it sometime. All I know is that it was a course text at Queens for the History and Philosophy of Science, wchi has always both attracted and repelled me…
  • Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1985)
    I read this a lot of years ago, and I remember it as a gripping and surprising book. I also remember that the sequels were very different, and a bit disappointing.
  • Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (1992)
    Another one that I haven’t read – possibly next on my reading list.
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (1954 to 1955)
    The one, the only, the classic. I remember reading it as a young teenager, and getting a bit bogged down in the middle book, but it is a great set of books, with an important message – little people are important!
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte (1992)
    I’ve never even heard of this. Wired make it sound interesting, but I worry that it would only lead to fancy powerpoint slides. The one I am least likely to read.
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
    Again, one I haven’t read. I’ve heard of it, and I suppose I the right time to have read it was 20 years ago when it wasn’t at all dated. I rather suspect it will have aged a bit, in a way that he Lord of Rings hasn’t 😉

And that’s all for the first list. Will get the second tomorrow perhaps.

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    One Response to “Books”

    1. Tony Says:

      “Power Corrupts. PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely.” — Edward Tufte

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