A smart idea that the bibliophiles online mecca ‘Goodreads.com‘ came up with was the ‘Reading Challenge’ where you pledge at the start of a year to finish a certain number of books and then try to make sure you do. Last year I pledged to read 26 books and did. At the start of this year I optimistically jacked up that number to 30 and at the beginning of September I had managed to finish only 13 books. A reading rate of around 3 books every 2 months. So in September I really really floored it. Today I counted up and realized I have managed to start and finish with 11 books in September. So it looks like those homilies on perseverance and persistence were not bong smoke. It was a mixed bag too. Some books were wonderful, some had limited pleasures to be extracted from drilling in and 3 were gushers in the pleasure they managed to evoke thumbing those their pages. Here is a 1 line review of each of the 11, preceded by this beautiful quote from Sagan on books:
‘Night‘ – The suffering on one man in the Nazi camps and the story of how he survived. Think ‘The Pianist’ in book form. 3 stars.
‘Child 44‘ – Thriller about a killer on the loose in Communist Russia. The description of life in that horrible system chilled me more. 3 stars.
‘The Old Man And The Sea‘ – Numbing tale of a senile man’s ramblings from too much sun that had an important lesson: Hemmingway is boring. 1 star.
‘Escape from Camp 14‘ – True story of how one man-child escaped the horrible North Korean labor camp. 3 stars.
‘Forever War‘ – Fantastic Sci-fi about one man’s tale as a soldier in a pointless war spanning centuries. 4 stars.
‘The Little Prince‘ – famous French tale of the little prince who travels to Earth. 2 stars.
‘The Gods Themselves‘ – Asimov. How can one say no? Not as powerful as the foundation series but some bits were absorbing. 2 stars.
‘A Clockwork Orange‘ – Nadsat is daunting but ..this is important…you pick it up fast and then, O my brothers, it’s mayhem. 2 stars.
‘The Lazy Project Manager’ – breaks down project management into the minimum needs to launch. 2 stars.
‘The Sirens of Titan‘ – My first Kurt Vonnegut book. And the closest I think I have come to seeing a book rivaling the famed Hitchhikers Guide in satire. 4 stars.
‘The Curse of Chalion‘ – Epic fantasy set in a medieval Spain setting. With magic and saints. Deserved all the rave reviews it got. 4 stars.
So if you are looking to add 3 books to your reading list that both enjoyable and really worth finishing before 2013 year end, I’d recommend you go with:
1. Forever War
2. The Sirens of Titan
3. The Curse of Chalion
Can I also please add 3 documentaries to this mix that will totally rope you in from start to finish? – For those who say ‘Si’:
1. Collapse – A very good ‘intellectual horror movie’ that examines the dark side of our oil dependency.
2. Indie Game : The Movie – How 3 developers gave it their all and made the awesome indie games they did.
3. TPB AFK – A documentary film based on the lives of the three founders of The Pirate Bay Bit Torrent tracker.
These 6 real gems should keep you busy in Quarter 4.