Books have been huge in my life. They’ve been there from the beginning of memory and ever since. The written word is vital to my world, because I have a hearing defect that often disconnects me from the spoken word. Books were never a problem, and they turn out to be such a great source of education as well as enjoyment. They provide comfort, ironically, in both escape from life and connection to it; in books we find common thought shared among human culture past and present.

Actually, it’s reading that matters. That’s why the decline of physical books doesn’t disturb me as much as it does other book-lovers. To me the text is what matters; electronic books seem to make sense in almost every regard. Physical books made of dead trees, and sometimes parts of dead animals, can be a thing of beauty; I hope they never go away entirely. But I’m ready to move to the next generation; I’m ready to “buy the White Album again” when it comes to reading material.

But look, I casually carry my entire music library around with me. Many will choose to cloud their music and download as desired. Who wouldn’t want instant access to their entire library (or the Library of Congress, for that matter).

Here’s a list of my favorites; the ones I re-read:

Science Fiction

Science fiction (and fantasy) are a giant fraction of my fiction. I’ve been a fan a long time. Large areas of science fiction are both formative and normative for me. It helped make me who I am by discussing things that—in part—define me.

The list below is a work in progress.

It’ll fill down from the top over time as I refine it. A lot of top favorites get listed first, but after that the order is not really significant.

…and of course, Isaac Asimov, Arther Clarke, Robert Heinlein,…

Detective Fiction

I also got hooked on detective (and spy!) stories at an early age. I would have loved to be a spy or a detective. (As a computer programmer I debug, which is a lot like detecting!) A few of these are as formative and normative as the science fiction ones. In particular the first:

Other Fiction

Non Fiction

Of course there’s non-fiction of various kinds. A big chunk consists of computer programming books (and earlier, electronics hardware books). I read a lot of physics and hard science books. Philosophy and theories of consciousness interest me.

  • Brian Greene
  • Lee Smolin
  • David Chalmers

Graphic Novels

Graphic Novels (gnovels!) deserve a special section. Ever since Frank Miller and Alan Moore changed comics forever in the mid 80s, the gnovel has grown into something amazing. It’s a form of story telling between books and moving pictures.

  • The Dark Knight Returns
  • Watchmen
  • Sandman
  • Transmetropolitan
  • Preacher


(more to come)

2 responses to “Books

  • wakemenow

    Note to self: Still must order “Watchmen” the movie. Thanks for the tip!

    Many of these books and authors I’ve never heard of. Good to have a list of titles to look up on though. 🙂

    • Wyrd Smythe

      RSN (Real Soon Now) I’m going to repost the pair of articles I did about Watchmen (the gnovel, not the movie). They necessarily have some plot spoilers, so if you hate that sort of thing, you should probably avoid reading until you do see the movie. Snyder completely rewrote the ending (without changing its meaning), and I actually like Snyder’s version a bit better.

      I thought Snyder did an amazing job on a literary work I would have thought was impossible to put to film. It’s very clear Snyder is not only familiar with the gnovel, he loves it and understands what makes it so significant in comics history. Beyond its artistic significance, it’s a damned good yarn—one of those rare times when high art meets vox populi. And the whole idea of the gnovel… at the end you find yourself thinking, “Yeah, it must might take something like that to fix all this!”

      So, yeah,… rent the damn movie, already!! 😆 😛

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