Reading Material

img_1094I read regularly – aside from spending countless hours in front of a computer screen I also like to sit down with a book.  My collection is pretty heavily skewed towards speculative fiction.  Similar to my DVD collection which I re-watch, I like to re-read books.  Some of the classics (Dune) I’ll read every couple of years, most go longer between reads – but there is hardly a book in my collection I haven’t read twice.

This year I’ve read a lot of Neal Stephenson’s work – having finally got my hands on the last two books in the Baroque Cycle, I re-read Quicksilver and worked my way through the whole series.  If you haven’t read any Neal Stephenson, start with Snow Crash.  Lots of his more recent work is more of a slog through, and the style won’t suit everyone – I personally enjoy it, but it does take a few hundred pages to get into.  I very recently finished Anathem – again, not for everyone, but I thought it was a great read.

There have also been a few eBooks I’ve read through.  I still really like having a physical book, so the eBooks I’ve read have been free ones – but there are some good free books out there, and its possibly going to get me hooked on eBooks.

  • Little Brother – Cory Doctorow
    Very entertaining.  I read Eastern Standard Tribe (physical book) and wasn’t as impressed.
  • The Hacker Crackdown – Bruce Sterling
    I may have read this when it came out, but its referenced by Little Brother and a neat companion read.
  • OVERCLOCKED – Cory Doctorow
    Some short stories, and like all of Cory Doctorow’s work is available free.  (Yes, you can also buy his books from bookstores)
  • Hal Spacejock – Simon Haynes
    This is the first in a series, I’m only part way through it – fun so far.  The rest of the series is non-free.
  • Fallen Angels – Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven and Michael Flynn
    I haven’t gotten to this one, but with these authors I’m sure to enjoy it.  This one comes from the Baen Free Library which has many more titles.

I’ve been reading these on my NDS using dslibris.  Using OpenOffice.org to export to xhtml, I did have a problem with the export but found this helpful explaination that lead to the fix.  I did already have a java runtime installed, but OpenOffice.org needed to be configured to know about it.

Books are sort of like software, eBooks more so.  It is interesting to see what has happened to music through the digital revolution (mp3’s), and now we’re starting to see TV and Movies go through the same transformation.   What happens when matter assemblers become available?  Suddenly even physical objects will be trivial to replicate – once the cost gets driven down, what then?  Time to go read some fiction..

4 thoughts on “Reading Material”

  1. I loved everything by Stephenson right up until the Baroque Cycle. It took me three tries to get through the first of the series, and I bailed somewhere in the middle of the second. I haven’t returned to it. Is Anathem a return to his previous writing or more along the lines of the Baroque Cycle? I.e. will I be disappointed?

  2. I don’t know if you’d be disappointed, but Anathem is not as difficult to get into as the Baroque Cycle. It is more similar to Cryptonomicon than it would be to say the Diamond Age.

    The wikipedia entry has a good section on the content and influences. Reading this section should give you a sense for Anathem without any spoilers if you stick to just this section.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anathem#Philosophical_and_scientific_content_and_influences

    I’ve finished Hal Spacejock – and it was fun, but not enough to hook me on the series.

    I’m a fair way into Fallen Angels and its very good, same “can’t put it down have to read more” feeling I had with Little Brother.

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