Thursday, July 19, 2012

Books Worth Reading

Larry Lewter, circa 1990's, in the Bay Area of California.

My father (pictured above) is an avid reader with quite an impressive book collection. So I asked him to provide a list of must-reads. He agreed and submitted the following list, along with the disclaimer that these books are "in no particular order," and that the list is incomplete. So here it is:

1. Contact by Carl Sagan
   Excellent story of first contact. I believe that this is the only work of fiction by Sagan. The book was made into a movie starring Jodie Foster. The book was much more technical, but the movie was very well done. 

2. The Postman by David Brin
   One of the best post-apocalyptic stories I have ever read. Brin is an excellent Sci-Fi writer. His book Sundiver is also very good. The book was made into a movie by Kevin Costner. The movie is very good if you read the book first. 

3. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
   Bradbury is one of the original giants of Sci-Fi. Although this story is somewhat dated, it was very well done. It was also made into a TV-miniseries.

4. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
   This is a technical thriller about cold war submarines (Russia versus America.) It is a genuine page turner with extremely accurate details. It was made into a movie starring Sean Connery (James Bond.) A lot of fun to read. 

5. Shogun by James Clavell
   Clavell is a very good writer. Shogun is an extremely interesting docu-drama. The book is based on factual history of feudal Japan. It was also made into a TV-miniseries. A fascinating read. 

6. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
   Clarke was a prolific Sci-Fi writer of the old school. This book is probably quite dry to the non space geek, but I think that it has the best ending of any Sci-Fi book that I have ever read. 

7. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
   This is my favorite book by Chrichton. It was made into an excellent movie that followed the book very closely. Great story.

8. Inherit the Stars by James P. Hogan
   This is the first book of what eventually became a trilogy. Any of Hogan's books are well worth reading. 

9. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
   Without a doubt, Heinlein is one of the most prolific and famous writers of the old school of Sci-Fi writers. His most famous work is probably his Stranger in a Strange Land. This book, however, is my personal favorite of all his books. 

10. Watchers by Dean Koontz
   I think that this book is Koontz's best work. It is one of the first stories of DNA manipulation. It is pure horror-adventure. A lot of fun to read. 

11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
   This book has become a classic in my lifetime. It is a study and comment on the racial and class prejudices of early 20th century life in America. It is a thought provoking guide to the range of human emotions. Very well done. 

12. More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
   A must read if you wish to establish your reputation as a real dweeb. Sturgeon was one of the original of the original Sci-Fi masters.

13. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
   Possibly one of the best stories ever written. This story defines manhood in terms that most men would like to define themselves.

14. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
   Pure entertainment. Hubbard invented and started the Church of Scientology. Scientology is absurd and ridiculous. But, man, could he tell a story.

15. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
   A very new entry into the world of story telling. This trilogy, however, is one of the best adventures I have had the pleasure to read. Ms. Collins is a master word smith. 

16. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
   A classic among classics, this tear-jerker is the ultimate definition of friendship.

17. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
   Based upon factual and mythical data, this is the true story of a real female Robinson Crusoe who survived on an island off the coast of California.

18. Treason by Orson Scott Card
   All of Card's books are worth reading. This book, however, goes way outside any box you may have seen. If you think you are perverse, read this. 

19. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
   The definitive story of man against nature and his need for companionship. 

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