The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
After stirring up a bit of a hornet's
nest yesterday (who knew people felt strongly about piracy?), I think
I'll go back to a safe topic. Like reading.
Gaming is by no means the
only hobby available to us. There's plenty of other ways to
entertain yourself without ever picking up a controller. Hell,
there's even this thing called going outside. No, I don't do it
I do read, though. As a kid I loved
picking up books and pouring over the pages. Even if it was only
basic stuff like Animorphs ('90s throwback, anyone?), I read
as much as possible. The only real downside to this constant habit
was that after a while, the normal books that most people recommend...
those books start to get boring. When you've read every generic spy
novel there is, eventually the tropes become a little annoying.
That's why I do my best to find
interesting things to read. Thankfully, I did find some good stuff. Think of this as a summer reading list, except it's actually interesting, unlike the lists they give you in school. Those are boring. Here are some genuine, geek-essential books that I would recommend to anyone on GIO in a heartbeat.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I know my blogs have mentioned this
book before. Bear with me, it's cool novel. The Road is like nothing
you have ever read. You know how the first page or so of most books
is dedicated to describing the surroundings of the main characters?
Usually within those first pages, the author might touch on the
poetic qualities of the trees or nature. That's about seventy
percent of The Road.
Pictured from the movie version of The Road.
The story is about a father and son who
wander across post-apocalyptic America. There is no government, no
society, no civilization, and above all no hope. The book is
profoundly depressing at times (and occasionally very graphic), but
the whole package is one of the most singularly unique books I've
ever had the pleasure to read.
It took two days to cross that ashen
scabland. The road beyond fell away on every side. It's snowing, the
boy said. He looked at the sky. A single gray flake sifting down. He
caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I really debated whether or not to put
Atlas Shrugged on this list. On one hand, it's considered
one of the most important works of American fiction ever written. On
the other hand, the book is long, somewhat dull, and very offensive.
Remember Andrew Ryan from Bioshock and how crazy he was? His insane
ideology came from Atlas Shrugged.
Pictured from the Atlas Shrugged movie.
Ayn Rand's signature novel might be
interesting to fans of Bioshock. Everyone else will probably be put
off by the stock characters, a political message as subtle as a brick
to the face, and the ridiculous length. Rand's prose occasionally
shines, but most of the time reading Atlas Shrugged feels like
a chore. Pick up at your own discretion.
"But you say that money is made
by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean?
It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of
man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a
motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by
the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the
expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the
lazy? Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by
the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An
honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has
America: A Citizen's Guide to
Democracy Inaction by Jon Stewart
It's a little dated by now, but The
Daily Show's book is absolutely hilarious. It reads like a
civics textbook strung out on heroin. Really, this thing comes with
discussion questions and everything. Anyone who has sat through an
American government class will find this book humorous. The jokes
about the 2004 presidential election are pretty out of date, but
timeless activities like matching naked Supreme Court justices to the
correct robes are still funny even in 2012.
1300 BC: God gives Ten Commandments
to Israelites, making them His Chosen People and granting them
eternal protection under Divine Law. Nothing bad ever happens to Jews
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the
Brain by David Eagleman
Your brain is not your own. You might
think that you can control your "mind," but David Eagleman
delights in explaining just how much of your own mind is outside your
control. From the simple idea of a "subconscious," Eagleman
builds a fascinating book that will turn your perception of the brain
upside down. The best part is that he does it in a lively,
interesting manner than anyone can understand. You don't need a
degree in neuroscience to read Incognito, just a willingness
to reconsider everything you believe about the brain.
It turns out your conscious mind -
the part you think of as you - is really the smallest part of
what's happening in your brain, and usually the last one in line to
find out any information.
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Out of all the books on this list,
Watchmen is the closest to being required reading for geeks.
I'm not a "comic book person," but even I love Alan Moore's
magnum opus. Watchmen isn't just the best comic book ever
written, it's one of the best books of the twentieth century. Alan
Moore takes every classic super hero trope and cliché and turns them
inside out. By the end of the book, the fictional world and your
perception of it are totally changed.
Pictured from the Watchmen movie. Don't watch this until after reading the comic.
What makes Watchmen really
special, though, is its complexity. It's one of those rare books
that actually gets better the more you think about it. The subtleties
and details that emerge from the plot of Watchmen are numerous
and profound. I've read the book several times now, and each time I
catch a new bit of meaning or pick up on some hidden symbolism. It
takes an extraordinary book to do that.
will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and
misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is
good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face
of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this.
That's it for me. What have you been