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To balance the Bad Beers/Wine/Cars threads, I say we start a "Great Books" thread. For me summertime is reading time. There is nothing I like better than sitting in the backyard under some shade with my face buried in a good book.

I'll start with two great non-fiction titles I recently finished and one I read a while back but loved:

Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky

That's right, it's a biography of a fish. Fascinating reading about a fish that was so important to the world. I flew through this book in 2 days. So good, I think I'll read it again.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann

What were the Americas really like before European contact? Some surprising answers and theories here. Some of the book tends to plod. I got confused by all the various civilizations in Mesoamerica. The book cries out for better graphing and maps. But, if you're a fan of natural history or just history, this book is a must read.

Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor

You think war is hell? Read about what the German and Soviet troops and the civilian population had to endure during this battle. Unbelievable what hardships people can put themselves and others through. Beevor is an amazing history writer. He really makes it come alive. His other books about Berlin and the Spanish Civil War are excellent too.

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Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

Human child raised by Martians has to learn to be Human. If you like Sci Fi at all, read this book. Published in the 60's but way ahead of its time. The uncut version is the best.:biggthump

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My list would be:

"WILL" by G Gordon Liddy. - great read about how parents screw up the mind of thier kid - Liddy himself. Autobiography

"On a Clear Day you can see General Motors" by John Z. De Lorean. If you love cars and hate the Chevy Vega - this is a must read.

"Till Death do Us Part " by Vincent Bugliosi and Ken Hurwitz - or anything by Vincent Bugliosi. Great author and attorney. True story - fascinating read how Bugliosi then the LA prosecutor tried this murderer with circumstantial evidence. His other good book is "And the Sea Will Tell" - if you like sailing.

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The only books I have to suggest are in french:

Le Livre noir de l'automobile, by Richard Bergeron (only available from him or can be rented from a library)

Les Québécois au volant c'est mortel, by Richard Bergeron

Verglas, by Normand Lester and Corinne de Vailly

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I have an entire library at home, but one that comes to mind right away is Stiff - it's all about what happens to your body if you donate it to science and the crazy wacky things they do. VERY interesting, but a little graphic. The writer is very funny.

Also Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan is a great true story about a woman who gets to do a "walk about" with a tribe in Australia. They want their tribe to die out because of the direction the world is going in, and she gets chosen to document it.

Right now I'm reading 100 Years of Solitude, and am a bit dissapointed. I don't see the reasons it is such a classic.

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Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

Human child raised by Martians has to learn to be Human. If you like Sci Fi at all, read this book. Published in the 60's but way ahead of its time. The uncut version is the best.:biggthump

I love Heinlein I read everything he wrote twice by the age of 20. Some good philosophy in that stuff:biggthump

My latest faves are ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand and another called objectivist epistimology.

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I keep so many book and series going that it's hard to nail down any one book that I enjoy. Right now Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series is in rotation with Arturo Perez-Reverte's Captain Alatriste series and a bunch of trashy scifi and fantasy to fill in when I'm between books

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About all I have time to read these days is exciting things like "Managing the Digital Firm", which I'm not recommending to anyone.

I did make my way through Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel's Dart" trilogy over the last year. Some of the fantasy fans will like it - lots of sex and intrigue, the lead character is basically a masochist trained as a spy and courtesan. I'm starting on the next three books in the series as soon as my exam is over.

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About all I have time to read these days is exciting things like "Managing the Digital Firm", which I'm not recommending to anyone.

I did make my way through Jacqueline Carey's "Kushiel's Dart" trilogy over the last year. Some of the fantasy fans will like it - lots of sex and intrigue, the lead character is basically a masochist trained as a spy and courtesan. I'm starting on the next three books in the series as soon as my exam is over.

my ex-fiancee loves that series. havne't got to read it but according to what she told me of it... intriguing. heavy stuffs, too.

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Hmm, I don't think I have a preferred genre of books. I do have several half-finished books, though. Perhaps I'm more impatient than I think. :)

Anyways, the 3 non-work related books at the top of my pile are:

The Introvert Advantage -- Marty Olsen Laney

Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man -- Susan Faludi

Woody Allen and Philisophy -- Various, edited by Conard and Skobel

that is, until I happen to come across some other book that catches my eye.

'later...

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I never read sci-fi. I think the cheesy covers put me off. But I like sci-fi movies and loved Twilight Zone. Maybe I'll give Heinlein a try.

Like Dr D, I read just about everything Heinlein wrote while I was in high school. Very thought provoking sutff. Start with Stranger in a Strange Land. It examines what makes us human. From sexuality to our belief in God. I think that this book was banned for a while due to its graphic nature :eplus2:. I know it has been called an underground classic for years.

Drink deep, may you never thirst!

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The Kushiel Series - One of the books has the only scene I've ever read in a book (or seen in a film or .. well, anything that is passively absorbed) that made my knees weak enough to not be able to stand up. Just...wow.

(If anyone's read it, it's the Flechette scene...)

"Stranger in a Strange Land" was good, although it seemed that Heinlein had a few...interesting...ideas about free love. Quite enjoyable, particularly the ideas about how seeing the universe differently could change things.

"Guns Germs and Steel" was quite decent. Reading it, it seemed to mostly mesh with what I know of biology, evolution and sociology. Actually, I should pull it out and go through it again. It's been a while.

Charles Sheffield's "The Mind Pool" was truly excellent. All I know is that I want me a simulacrum setup. 'Cause damn, but that'd be fun.

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I couldn't finish "Guns Germs and Steel". I read about half of it and found that Diamond was just re-hashing the overall concepts, elaborating and giving more examples. That's fine but I got bored.

OTOH, "Collapse" was fantastic. Finished it non-stop in about 3 days. Great book. The Easter Island stuff was fascinating.

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I haven't actually completed a book,let alone a trilogy,since our first was born 3 1/2 years ago; or a chapter without falling asleep since our second a year and a half ago.I do,however remember the last science fiction trilogy I read leading up to that point.It was by Kim Stanley Robinson and the books were titled Red Mars,Green Mars,and Blue Mars respectively.Obviously about colonizing Mars and very interesting with a lot of basis in current fact and theory with some great key characters through the whole trilogy.I would read it again.Maybe in 17 years or so.

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The Kushiel Series - One of the books has the only scene I've ever read in a book (or seen in a film or .. well, anything that is passively absorbed) that made my knees weak enough to not be able to stand up. Just...wow. (If anyone's read it, it's the Flechette scene...)

And the bit where she's going to be skinned alive by the Skaldi warlord - I almost couldn't read that bit. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch!

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