Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Books to date this year:
The Integral Trees (Mass Market Paperback) by Larry Niven The Integral Trees Niven, Larry

The Smoke Ring (Mass Market Paperback) by Larry Niven The Smoke Ring Niven, Larry

Niven is truly one of the greats. His imagination is unique, his writing enticing, and the stories interesting.

The Deep Beyond: Cuckoo's Egg / Serpent's Reach (Union-Alliance ... by C.J. Cherryh The Deep Beyond: Cuckoo's Egg / Serpent's Reach Cherryh, C.J.*

Cherryh too is one of the greats, able to drift between sci-fi and fantasy doing wonders in both.

On the Shortness of Life (Penguin Great Ideas) by Lucius Annaeus Seneca On the Shortness of Life Seneca, Lucius Annaeus

The Golden Sayings - Epictetus (online book)

Enchiridion Enchiridion
by Epictetus

I began reading Seneca first (these are in no particular order) as I have for years wondered where I could find his "smoky room" argument for suicide. Well after speeding through Seneca, I discovered wholly by accident that the "smoky room" argument is not his at all, but belongs to another stoic, Epictetus. I immediately ordered Enchiridion, but could not wait so read the gutenburg online book The Golden Sayings. Here I found the "smoky room" argument for suicide, but it turned out that I already knew the entire thing: When the room gets to smoky, I shall leave through the door..

Still the stoics are wonderful reads, very contemporary surprisingly. They understand that we choose our emotions, and that others cannot force us to feel anything we choose not to feel emotionally. Taking this sort of responsibility for our actions and reactions frees us, but also allows us to grow as individuals while embracing the best emotions of life.

The next step on this particular path for me is either more stoics, else into the cynics..

The One Kingdom (The Swans' War, book 1) by Sean Russell The One Kingdom (The Swans' War, book 1) Russell, Sean
The Isle of Battle (The Swans' War, book 2) by Sean Russell The Isle of Battle (The Swans' War, book 2) Russell, Sean

Sean Russell is less a fantasy writer than he is simply a truly gifted writer. I honestly believe that he could given a bit of time, and the market for it, be ranked along side some of the most notable names in literature.

The Sun Also Rises (Hardcover) by Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises Hemingway, Ernest

And speaking of the most notable names in literature.. Hemingway is one I came to only in the last several years, in part because of the reputation. So often that which is supposed to be great is disappointing. Not so with Hemingway. In some ways he reminds me of Tolstoy, but where Tolstoy is often as dark as a shadow on a cloudy night, Hemingway tends to be more like the darkness of a forest which is often broken by dappled light, and the occasional clearing.. Both are wonderful, and similar, but still unique.

Growing and Canning Your Own Food by Jackie Clay

This was a book I had intended to purchase over the hellidays, but put off because I was told that I would have full access and probably be given, several books on canning and preserving foods. Ironically the person whose books those are was given this book by some neighbors. I happened to be over there yesterday to care for a loving but challenging dog (a boxer.. ) when I noticed this book on the coffee table. I dove into it, not stopping until I had read all of the book, except for a few pages on butchering your own beef.. While I am not opposed to it, I know that I fail to have adequate storage space for a whole beef. I have to say that while it gives some recipes, and some killing and butchering methods, as well as how to can various foods from meat, to vegetables, to fruits, and even dried goods, Clay is able to explain it all in terms a novice can understand without going into anything arcane or truly challenging. You might find some greater detail or certainly more recipes elsewhere, but this is a wonderful primer and bible for canning.

I will try to review books as I finish them, so that from this point forward the books will be in order of completion, and there will be more detail for each book.. From the past year, in which I have truly been delving into reading more than I have since graduate school at least, I expect that fiction will still be the majority of the titles, followed by philosophy, political issues, economics and history. Interspersed will be books on homesteading, gardening, foraging (though do I really need more books on foraging?? Need, no. Want.. oh hell yeah..), and other subjects related to self-sufficiency. There may well be some on electrical work and off grid power generation as I am working on building my own off grid power station. (Wind, solar, and generator back up) .


Professor Pope said...

You may not remember, but I am a big Hemmingway guy. I found your description of him to be very apt and moving. I really enjoyed For Whom the Bell Tolls and love his short stories.

Storm said...

No, I did not remember that! I had set aside fiction while in grad school, so Hemingway was not even really on my radar. Now, everytime I buy books I look for another Hemingway to read. In some ways he also reminds me of Edward Abbey, but more refined.. Maybe it is just the ability to describe life as it really is.

Any suggestions on a good collection of shorts from him?