Book

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Review: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

I'd put off reading The Windup Girl for a while as I'd seen mixed reviews, but finally a review on slashdot convinced me to give it a go.

Review: The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

The main ideas behind the book can be summed up pretty simply:

  • Life is too short to spend doing something you don’t like
  • Why wait until retirement to do something more enjoyable?

Tim’s method for enabling you to have a more fulfilling life is basically:

Review: The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World by Alister McGrath

I read this book shortly after finishing "God is not great" by Christopher Hitchens and the two books make an interesting pair. I found it fascinating to compare each’s arguments and also the respective styles in which the books are written.

Review: God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

I enjoyed reading this book - Hitchens does reasonable job of debunking some of the major tenets of the major religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. He is pretty even handed they all get a pounding.

Review: Princess by Jean P. Sasson

I actually read the French version of this book (the French version is titled "Sultana") but I guess the English version should be pretty much the same - in any case I’ve put French and English links below.

If bigotry, racism, cruelty, hypocrisy and shear human stupidity make you angry then this book is likely to leave you feeling furious that such injustice is allowed to exist in the world. Saudi Arabian society, as described in this book, seems to have cruelty and misogyny as its founding principles.

Review: The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo

The premise of this book is that otherwise good (or at least not actively bad) people can do bad, indeed evil things and that this can be explained by the situation in which the acts took place.

Review: Mothership by John Brosnan

We’ve heard this before right? A civilisation happily doing it’s thing unaware that is in fact doing it’s thing not on a planet but on a generation ship on its way to the stars. My personal favourite example of this theme is Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Long Sun series.

Review: White Mars by Brian Aldiss and Roger Penrose

Oh dear, oh dear! It’s quite hard to make me stop reading a novel once I’ve started - I’m too curious to know how it finishes. This book made me bail out at page 71 (out of 323) and it was only an act of will that kept me going that far.

It’s my own fault really, the blurb does give fair warning:

Review: Echoes of the Great Song by David Gemmel

I’m a great fan of David Gemmell’s work and was saddened to hear of his death in 2006. I’ve got at least 17 of his novels at home and thought I’d read everything except the Troy series (which doesn’t really appeal to me) when I stumbled accross "Echoes of the Great Song" at my local library.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’m not sure what prompted me to take a break from my normal diet of science fiction and computer science books but something prompted me to pick Never Let Me Go off the shelf while browsing an airport book store and I’m so glad I did since it’s a superb work of fiction.

This is a story on many levels - there is love and friendship but I think there is also a level in which the story can be seen as warning on what happens once a society since starts assigning different rights to people because of an accident of birth.

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