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Books I've Read
by Blas Pedro Uberuaga
One of my favorite hobbies is reading. Unfortunately, with the added responsibilities of work and home improvement, I don't read as much as I used to or as I would like, but it's still one of my favorite thing to do. Here's a list of the books I've read lately, along with some brief comments. Maybe in the future I'll add more thoughts on each book.
- King of Foxes by Raymond Feist
This was an improvement over the last book in the series. While Tal still seemed nearly all-powerful, he still had to struggle in this story. And make hard choices. The book was fast paced, almost too fast. The part where Tal is in service to Kaspar was a bit rushed, it could have been developed more. But, it was still a good book. I'm not so sure about the next one, which focuses on Kaspar. I'm not sure I'm interested in a book all about him, but we'll see.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
This is a pretty strongly hyped book. In the end, I thought it was pretty good and though provoking, but I have my doubts about some of his claims. I mean, for example, the witch burning: my understanding is that the Catholics were actually relatively minor players in that, that the Inquisition focused more on the Jewish and Moorish people of Spain. But, it was a good read.
- Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
This is a collection of some wonderful short stories by Gaiman. Many are a bit darker, but that's like the fairy tails that inpsired them. I especially liked the Queen's side of the Snow White story.
- Pattern Recognition by William Gibson
Probably my favorite of his books since Necromancer, though there were things I didn't understand, such as how they tracked the images with the software, but it was still a cool book.
- The Dante Club: A Novel by Matthew Pearl
A very entertaining book. While it didn't have quite the suspense of some mysteries, the reactions of the poets were very interesting, as were their interactions.
- Superfolks: A Novel by Robert Mayer
Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman
A very nice collection of short stories. I especially liked his take on SnowWhite and the story of the angel of Vengeance.
- Jennifer Government by Max Barry
Takes the 1984 theme and twists it around, exploring what if corporations become more powerful than governments. In some ways, more frightening than 1984 as our human natures are used against us to create this corporate dominated world.
- Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz
This book describes the science of synchronization, in which physical systems coupled to one another begin to act in concert. Examples of such phenomena are taken from many fields of science and efforts to understand it are also described. Overall, an intriguing and well-written book.
- Thieves' World: Turning Points editted by Lynn Abbey
A nice resumption of the Thieves' World anthologies. Some of the stories are definitely stronger than others, but overall there are some very intriguing characters that I look forward to see more of.
- The Hour of the Octopus by Joel Rosenberg
- Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson
A good introduction to the science of emergence, which is basically that of complex behavior arising out of simple rules
- Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis
A very interesting look at some of the founders of the US. Most interesting, to me, was the fragility of the new country and how quickly politics "as usual" became established
- The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill
What if the Minotaur was alive today as a cook in a small town restaurant?
- The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker
Probably one of the most interesting books I've read. Argues that human nature is innate and explores the consequences for politics, ethics and public policy
- Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey
- Sanctuary by Lynn Abbey
It's great to see the city of Sanctuary come alive once again!
- Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E. Feist
- Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway
Haven't quite gotten through this one, definitely not as interesting as For Whom the Bell Tolls
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
I'm glad I finally got to reading this one. It has to be one of the most frustrating novels I've read, in the sense that I really connected to the insanity that Yossarian was surrounded by and his inability to truly control much in his world. I could really feel his frustration.
- Calendar by David Ewing Duncan
An interesting, if somewhat bland, account of how our modern (western) calendar was developed.
- Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
The autobiography, so to speak, of Grendel, from the Beowulf epic
- Murder in LaMut by Joel Rosenberg and Raymond E Feist
- The Salmon of Doubt by Douglass Adams
This collects some very interesting articles, especially on computers, that Adams wrote for various magazines. It also has the rough draft of the first couple chapters of the book he was working on, a very intriguing teaser for a book that will never be.
- America by Franz Kafka
- Honoured Enemy by Raymond E Feist and William Forstchen
A nice addition to the Riftwar saga
- Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty That Causes Havoc by Arthur I. Miller
Argues that the genius of both Picasso and Einstein were the result of the ideas floating around them as well as their personalities
- The Complete Etchings of Goya
A collection of the darker etchings of Goya, including his take on Napolean's invasion of Spain. Very gruesome stuff.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
An interesting idea (what if all of the gods ever believed in really existed?), well executed, though maybe a bit slow in places.
- The World of the Witches by Julio Caro Baroja
A look at what the people who perscuted witches believed about them
- Dirty War, Clean Hands : Eta, The Gal and Spanish Democracy by Paddy Woodworth
A very interesting look at the ramifications of a state using terrorist tactics against terrorists
- A Book of the Basques by Rodney Gallop
A far-reaching, if maybe somewhat outdated in parts, look at many aspects of Basque culture
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
A very nice book with great characters. Highly recommended
- Bilbao and the Basque Lands by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls
- The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan
A look into why superstition still holds such a powerful place in the modern world and why we need to move past it
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
- Krondor: Tear of the Gods by Raymond Feist
- The Epic of Gilgamesh translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Read for the Listology book club (which never quite took off). A very interesting book, but emotionally not as powerful as one would expect (at least by today's standard's), as I could never really connect to the despair the protagonist constantly felt.
- The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
How science evolves
- A Whale Hunt by Robert Sullivan
About the Makah Whale Hunt
- Not Quite Scaramouche by Joel Rosenberg
- Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
- Escape Via Berlin by Jose Antonio de Aguirre
The President of the Basque Country trying to escape Franco after the Civil War via Hitler's Europe
- The Spanish Civil War by Hugh Thomas
A very thorough and complete look at the Spanish Civil War and the factors that led to the Republic's eventual defeat
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway
A very interesting account of the Spanish Civil War. The descriptions of the brutality of both sides of the war against their enemies were especially powerful for me.
- The Language of Names by Kaplan and Bernays
- The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
A very powerful argument for the idea that we are born with some wiring for learning language and the ramifications that has on how the brain must work.
- An Enduring Legacy by John and Mark Bieter
History of the Basques immigrants to the western US
- The Land of My Fathers by Robert Laxalt
Thoughts by Laxalt about the Basque Country
- Che Guevera: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson
A great book about a very interesting man, a man with strong ideals and convictions
- Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Why did Europe become the rich and powerful continent? A well thoughtout and argued answer.
- Inside Terrorism by Bruce Hoffman
An overview of the many groups worldwide that employ terrorist tactics to further their goals, including some analysis of their methods and how well they've achieved their goals
- How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
A continuation of The Language Instinct where Pinker draws from other fields of brain study to further construct his image of how the brain works.
- The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky
A good, if biased, overview of the history of the Basque people and some of their contributions to the rest of the world.
- Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington by Richard Brookhiser
A good overview of who Washington was and why he is still relevant today.
- The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard Feynman
Why do scientists become scientists
- Krondor the Assassins by Raymond E. Feist
- The Glorious Cause by Robert Middlekauff
A history of the Revolutionary War
- 1984 by George Orwell
A classic that is especially relevant today
- Virtual Light by William Gibson
- The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert Vincent Remini
A good biography of one of the more interesting presidents and the political change his election brought.
- Portraits of Basques in the New World by Richard W. Etulain and Jeronima Echeverria, editors
- Is Blood Thicker Than Water? by James M. McPherson
- The Stone Raft by Jose Saramago
Not as good or interesting as Blindness
- D'Shai by Joel Rosenberg
- Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya
- Idoru by William Gibson
- The Earth Shall Weep by James Wilson
History of the Native Americans after the Europeans arrived
- Battlecry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
An excellent overview of the Civil War
- Not Exactly the Three Musketeers by Joel Rosenberg
- Blindness by Jose Saramago
One of the most interesting novels I've read: what would happen if the world were infected with a disease that caused sudden blindness? The prose is hard to get into, as Saramago has an aversion to punctuation and paragraphs, but still highly recommended.
- Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
A very good biography of Lincoln
- Obabakoak by Bernardo Atxaga
The first book written in Basque translated to English
- Picasso's War by Russell Martin
- Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
- Calendar by David Ewing Duncan
- The Witches' Advocate : Basque Witchcraft and the Spanish Inquisition, Gustav Henningsen
- Krondor, the Betrayal, Raymond E. Feist
- The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
- Consilience : The Unity of Knowledge, Edmund O. Wilson
- The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
- Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges
- The Metamorphosis in the Penal Colony and Other Stories, Franz Kafka
- Tortuga : A Novel, Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Hyperspace, Michio Kaku
- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
- Chaos, James Gleick
- The Basques, Roger Collins
- The Norse Myths, Kevin Crossley-Holland
- Perfume, Patrick Suskind
- A View from the Witch's Cave, Jose Miguel de Barandiaran
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
- Thomas Jefferson, Statesman of Science, Silvio A. Bedini
- Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies, Moss Roberts
- Gypsy Folktales, Diane Tong
- Voices of the Winds, Ella E. Clark and Margot Edmonds
|User Contributed Notes
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|blas at buber dot net
Thanks for the note. I have read Kurlansky's book and did indeed enjoy it. It is a nice introduction to the Basque people. On my main Basque site (see http://buber.net/Basque/Features/Books/cb_basquehistory.php), I have a review of the book written by a frequent visitor to my site.
|rjlyons at mindspring dot com
|I have read several of the books on your list. However, I didn't see "The Basque History of the World" by Mark Kurlansky. You probably would like it. I am in a book club that meets monthly. We read fiction, history, politics, etc. "The Basque History of the World" was chosen for November. I have visited your Web site for years and I like it a lot. Rosa
|maritxu123 at hotmail dot com
|you must read The Lords Of Navarre,by LaCambra...very interesting
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|Last updated: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 - 10:45:06|