:: Saturday, December 30, 2006 ::
2006 Reading List (a.k.a. "I love Dick")
I decided to keep a list of everything I read this year. Here it is with some brief comments:
The Diamond Age (Stephenson) – nice ideas but painfully slow, needs editing.
Wall and Peace (Banksy) – great art and some inspirational quotes but I don't believe he wrote any of them.
A Scanner Darkly (PKD) – best sci-fi I've read, been on a Dick bender ever since.
Fermat's Last Theorem (Singh) – fascinating and surprisingly easy reading.
A Brief History of Time (Hawkins) – surprisingly witty and well written popular science, don't see why so many people have felt the need to dumb it down further.
Minority Report (short stories) (PKD) – excellent collection, Second Varity and We Can Remember It For You Wholesale are fantastic.
Valis (PKD) – avoid, painful dirge.
Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? (PKD) – very good, some interesting ideas were left out of Bladerunner.
Stupid White Men (Moore) – funny but now out of date.
Margrave of the Marshes (Peel) – His writing in the first half of the book is hilarious, The Pig's in the second half, although amusing, only gives a faint clue to how funny the completed thing could have been.
The Web (Wyndham) – good to see something he's written outside of normal comfy territory, not recommended for arachnophobes.
A Sense of Wonder (Wyndham et al) – passable short story collection but none of the writers at their best. [sorry, no link]
We Can Build You (PKD) – short early novel but has an ingenious plot and some of the funniest characters he has assembled.
Down Under (Bryson) – worth it just for the story about being chased by a dog, made me want to visit Australia (which I haven't yet done).
Ubik (PKD) – odd twisting reality story with a much-copied ending.
Three Early Novels (PKD) - The Man Who Japed rebelling against a familiar media controlled future, Dr Futurity is a good time travel / destiny story, all falls together brilliantly, Vulcan's Hammer shows machines taking over and some very clever plans, as well thought through as I, Robot.
The Difference Engine (Gibson / Sterling) – alternate history story with nice ideas but lacklustre plot and lacks a satisfying ending, more just riffing.
The Men Who Stare At Goats (Ronson) – if you weren't scared of the US military before you will be after reading this, very very funny.
Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) – like the story but not his writing style, also contains some ideas for communication medium that act surprisingly like internet chat rooms.
Foundation (Asimov) – first of a trilogy that sets up a great idea very nicely then ends abruptly.
Down and Out in Paris and London (Orwell) – learned a lot from this and in many ways just as relevant today.
Brave New World (Huxley) – don't like his writing style either, far too cumbersome, but some concepts that have been well explored since and given that it was written in the 30s it reads like a product of an exaggeration of the 60s.
Love All The People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines (Hicks) – in places hilarious but the routines cover far too short a time scale (only the last three years of his career) and material is repeated far too much, shows how scripted his shows were, but still hilarious.
The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins) – still reading this, very thoroughly argued to the point I feel like I'm being beaten around the head with an idea I already agree with.
:: Dan 30.12.06 [Arc]
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