A few weeks back I had the opportunity of picking up an Amazon Kindle. It’s been an absolute dream to use, offering battery life that stretches out for weeks at a time, wireless connectivity to purchase books online, visit websites, and naturally, read. Due to my scattered nature sometimes I read a few books at a time, based on overall interest level, or for a change of pace. Here’s a running feature of what’s on my Kindle. If you’ve got books to recommend, by all means send them my way! For now, I’ll post 5. When I’m done, I’ll do another series, likely once a month? You can find these books in hardcover format, online at stores like Amazon, Chapters, and your local library, or digitally on the internet.
The Inferno – Henri Barbusse
Henri Barbusse (1874-1935) describes life in terms as realistic as possible in this novel of the lone individual coming to grips with the quiet tragedy of existence. Published as “L’Enfer” in 1908, “The Inferno” cemented Barbusse’s reputation as successor to Zola.
It is hard to overestimate the power of this book. A young man (it is regrettable that we never get to put a name to the narrator) cuts a small hole in the wall of his room and watches life, quite literally, ‘pass him by’. He bears witness to everything: false love, carnal desire, death (there is an unforgettable scene in which a volatile old man refuses to confess to a priest on his deathbed) all the while making biting observations which strip away, layer by layer, the lies we tell ourselves to keep living. As one reads one almost feels guilty, thinking to oneself “yes, I claimed to love and didn’t really love in this situation, I behaved in this way, etc….” It is that true to life despite being a work of solipsism. This is a must.
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Stephen King – Under the Dome
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
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Gary Larson – The Far Side Gallery Vol. 1
The Far Side is a popular one-panel comic created by Gary Larson and syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate, which ran from January 1, 1980, to January 1, 1995. Its surrealistic humor is often based on uncomfortable social situations, improbable events, an anthropomorphic view of the world, logical fallacies, impending bizarre disasters, or the search for meaning in life. Larson’s frequent use of animals and nature in the comic is popularly attributed to his background in biology. This is pure mind warpage. I used to read this stuff at my Grandfathers house in his bathroom when I was 5, which likely shaped me for the rest of my life. When I think of specific events that happen to me throughout the day I can usually make reference to an oddball Far Side cartoon.
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Bicycling’s Guide to Bicycle Repair
It only makes sense to have a guide like this on the device should I run into some problems with the Bicycle. Out of all the repair manuals I’ve read, this offers such an easy to comprehend straight no frills look at repairing, maintaining and troubleshooting any problems you may have with your bicycle regardless of what new or old components you have on it.
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Snowcrash – Neal Stephenson
Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and the Internet–incarnate as the Metaverse–looks something like last year’s hype would lead you to believe it should. Enter Hiro Protagonist–hacker, samurai swordsman, and pizza-delivery driver. When his best friend fries his brain on a new designer drug called Snow Crash and his beautiful, brainy ex-girlfriend asks for his help, what’s a guy with a name like that to do? He rushes to the rescue. A breakneck-paced 21st-century novel, Snow Crash interweaves everything from Sumerian myth to visions of a postmodern civilization on the brink of collapse. Faster than the speed of television and a whole lot more fun, Snow Crash is the portrayal of a future that is bizarre enough to be plausible.
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