Monday, June 16, 2008

I'll Show You Mine

In the past few weeks, I’ve spent as much time overseas as I have at Chez Amulet. This offered me plenty of time at airports and on airplanes to engage in one of my favorite pastimes.

(No, all you dirty minds … what I’m referring to is reading.)

I’ve decided to tell you a bit about books I’ve just finished or find myself finishing up now. Here is what’s on David’s mind:

Deadly Departure
It’s an odd choice for long plane rides, I’ll admit. But I loved Christine Negroni’s tale of the TWA 800 crash in July 1996 and the subsequent investigation. She clearly did her homework, and the ensuing narrative should—but of course doesn’t—put to rest the conspiracy theories surrounding this horrible accident.

I Robot and The Caves of Steel
In my youth and my “later youth” (aka adulthood), I’ve read hundreds of science fiction novels. But until a couple of years ago, when I finally took in the Foundation series, I’d skipped books by Isaac Asimov—one of the genre’s giants. Now I’ve started his Robot series, and it’s a fantastic ride so far.

The Exceptional Presenter
Few books on giving presentations are worth the paper they are printed on. Timothy Koegel’s book makes the short list, offering useful advice to inexperienced public speakers and professional alike. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best book-length work I’ve yet found on delivering effective briefings.

Angel in Black
Although my reading appetite is quite diverse, I’d never read a solid mystery/ detective novel until I picked up this one, the first book in Bill Rapp’s “Suburban PI” series. I’m glad I did; it was a nice change of pace from my usual entertainment and a hell of a lot of fun, too.

The Demon-Haunted World
I have no excuse for not having read this book years ago. What can I say about Carl Sagan that smarter observers haven’t already expressed? The late host of Cosmos employs sharp analysis and an engaging style to make this book—which decries all varieties of irrational belief—essential for anyone claiming to have moved past the vestiges of medieval superstition.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these—or what you are reading these days.


At June 16, 2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Jessica replied to my musings ...

I've never read any of these. I've been meaning to pick up some Asimov for dad recommended him to me a while ago.

I'll read almost anything. However,I'm not so fond of typical fantasy (wizards, fairies, and things) Except for LOTR, and Harry Potter, of course. Everything else in that genre seem like generic versions of LOTR.

Lately...I've been reading non fiction, and self help sort of things.

Thanks for sharing your mini reviews. :) Good post!

At June 16, 2008 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

I've never read any of these. And odds are I probably never will.

I'm currently half way through a supremely smutty book and I just hit the smutty part. So yeah...maybe not supremely smutty. Which is probably why I'd never read your list. I'm all about reading smutty books. Shocking...I know. Although I've been battling my way through Sense & Sensibility for, uhm, a few months now. Sigh.

At June 16, 2008 12:44 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

Well, my recent book list is not exactly cheerful and light reading, I really need to lighten up a bit. In the last month or so I have read "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali; "The Van Gogh Blues" by Eric Maisel; "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz and for fun, "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen.

At June 16, 2008 2:22 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jessica: One gritty fantasy series you should give a try is George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, which begins with A Game of Thrones. By far the best non-LOTL fantasy series I've read.

Jenn: Aw, come on. No interest in aviation disasters?!?

Barbara: How was the Infidel book? I've not read it but I'm curious. And by the way, what a classy thing the Boss did in Tim Russert's memory.

At June 16, 2008 7:07 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

I've leafed through Martin's looks so vast and detailed. I'd like to read them someday.

I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read any of Sagan's books either.

At June 16, 2008 7:26 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

Jeez--I think I read "I, Robot" when I was like 13-years-old.

As I recall I really loved it.

At June 16, 2008 10:00 PM, Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

David, Yes that was classy of BS, I think they had a mutual respect for each other.

Infidel was an excellent book; very disturbing. It changed the way I look at certain things. She's one of my heroes.

At June 17, 2008 7:57 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

I've actually read Asimov's Robot series of books (back in high school). I started with The Robots of Dawn and then went back and read The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun and then finally Robots and Empire and the 2 Foundation prequels (Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation) which tied the Robot and Foundation series of books together quite nicely.

I also read Nemesis which gets tied to the Robot and Foundation series briefly in one of the 2 Foundation prequel novels. That was also an excellent read.

At June 17, 2008 9:04 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

Loving the book list, I will pick up a few of them on my next trip.

Welcome back! I've missed you. It's been a bit crazy at my end as well but it's nice to catch up.

As for your "favorite pastime," my mind didn't go there... at least not immediately ;-)

At June 17, 2008 12:11 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Well, I read Asimov about 25 years ago, but none since. Actually, I haven't read any real books in a long time. Except for books on the history of cars I own or have owned. I did just buy a book all about Henry Flagler while down in FL on vacation. Review coming once I read it.

At June 17, 2008 4:18 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Phoenix: If you're really back, I'll have to check your site again!

ZW: It was fun. Not the best prose ever, but still good ideas.

Barbara: I know her basic story, but I've not read anything longer than an essay by her.

Perplexio:I'm going to read all of them up to the Foundation books (which I've finished). On another note, what do you think of the Chicago release?

Lisa: I've been quite busy, indeed. I'll check out your site again one of these days.

Mike: Maybe this is a dumb question, but who is Henry Flagler?

At June 18, 2008 2:40 AM, Blogger Jenn replied to my musings ...

Ooh! I needed some book recommendations. Angel in Black sounds like something I could enjoy.

I love the movie I Robot, that only means the book is 10 times better, as is always the case. And until now, I didn't know there was a book! Thanks for the info.

I'm trying to finish Crime and Punishment, but jeebus it's a hard read. Every character has 10 names and I can't pronounce any of them much less remember if they are the same person. Or something like that.

At June 18, 2008 10:53 AM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

I've read a lot of Asimov, including the Foundation series. Time well spent, if you ask me.

I've also read a lot of Sagan's early work, but not the DHW. There's a long story behind that ommission.

For the life of me, I can't understand how you can read a book about a plane crash on a plane. You're a braver person than I am, Gunga Din!

At June 19, 2008 5:45 PM, Blogger Bruce replied to my musings ...

I must be honest here, I had no idea that Asimov had written "I, Robot".
If you're into historical retrospectives(or even if you're not), I recommend "Something in the Air" by Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher(someone you might be familiar with, living in the D.C. area). It's about the beginnings of, and subsequent rise of, FM radio. It's worth the read...

At June 20, 2008 12:32 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Ahh, Henry Flagler, partner and friend of John D Rockefeller in Standard Oil, then he built the Florida East Coast Railroad, which in turn opened up and developed most of eastern FL, which of course Flagler owned lots of. He put St Augustine on the map, then Palm Beach, where he built the grand hotel The Breakers, still a getaway for the rich.

At June 25, 2008 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

-No interest in aviation disasters?!?

Hahaha. Sooooo funny are you.


At June 29, 2008 8:31 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jenn: Welcome back! I've never read Crime and Punishment, even though I know I should to be well rounded.

Cube: I suppose I'll probably read about some cruise ship murder next time I go on one of those, too.

Bruce: Glad I could inform. Your recommendation sounds interesting--I'll add it to my list of future reads (now about 89 books long).

Mike: Ahhhh. Thanks, I wasn't in that mode of thinking.

Jenn: Hehehe. Back atcha with PPtthhpptt.

All: It's been very busy, sorry about the delayed posting. Another new one up soon!


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