What I'm reading right now
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
A few people have recommended C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity to me in the past year. I put the book on my Christmas list this past year and started reading it in early July. It's been a difficult read to say the least. Mainly, because my brain does not operate on near the intellectual level as C.S. Lewis who dissects mankind, our intentions, and our beliefs. Don't get me wrong the book is really good but I have read many paragraphs again and again in order to understand what he's saying or to "get it" at all.
If you are interested in learning about faith, morality, and grace.. REALLY learning about them from a hard core psychology perspective, this may be a
good book for you to check out. It's taking me a long time to get through the book but I'm being patient with the process.
Mere Christianity is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills
Amazon's book description: Paige Rogers, the kindly librarian of Split Creek, Oklahoma, has a secret. She’s a former CIA agent, the sole survivor
of an attack on her team during a covert mission in Angola. Paige thinks that Daniel Keary, their leader at the time, caused the deaths of her friends.
Knowing that someone wants her dead, too, Paige has stayed hidden in her quaint, quiet Oklahoma town for the past seven years. But now, a stranger has
come to town, and he’s asking a lot of questions. In addition to this, Keary has just announced his candidacy for governor of Oklahoma, and it’s time
for him to finally destroy the major roadblock to his successful campaign—Paige. This masterfully crafted suspense novel immediately hooks the reader
with a pervasive sense of imminent danger. A real page-turner, Breach of Trust is the first book in Mills’ faith-based Call of Duty series.
Breach of Trust is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
What I've read recently
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
My mom handed me this book and said "I think you should read this." I looked it over, read the back, and was somewhat skeptical about what a little boy
might say about something as complicated as Heaven. Having been a Christian (a struggling one at that) for a very long time I'm all too familar with the stories
of Heaven that come from the Bible. Many are in the book of Revelations and each are hard to fathom and understand. Over the years I've tried to gain a mental
picture of what Heaven might look like through the descriptions in books. Until I read Heaven is for Real the picture was always fuzzy. Hearing about Heaven through
the experience of a child has been a remarkable experience for me. The authenticity of this boys words and his simple descriptions of things he saw painted
the clearest picture I've seen in my head. I don't want to talk too much about the story in this book. Whether you are a Christian or not, if you are interested in
learning more about what Heaven is (or might be if you aren't a believer) please take a few hours to read this book. It's short and a very quick read so you won't be
giving anything else up.
Heaven is for Real is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
The second book in Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is an awesome followup to the first book, A Game of Thrones. A Clash of Kings takes you
deeper into the lives and landscapes of Martin's fantasy world where deceit, cunning, and the desire for power are the most common themes. The kings
of the world, many self-proclaimed, continue their struggle for domination over each other and everyone else. In many ways this book is darker than
the first with more horrible deaths and carnage from war. It's a great story and well worth the read though at times it can be a bit disturbing. As with
the first book I highly recommend A Clash of Kings.
A Clash of Kings is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover
Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination
Amazon's book description: The acclaimed author of Ignore Everybody is back with more irreverent wisdom, wit, and original cartoons.
"It has never been easier to make a great living doing what you love. But to make it happen, first you need an EVIL PLAN. Everybody needs to get away from lousy bosses, from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate, and ACTUALLY start doing something they love, something that matters. Life is short." -Hugh MacLeod
I definitely enjoyed the book and consider it well worth the price of admission. There's also nothing earth-shattering here unless you are coming to the book with absolutely no concept of finding happiness in your life and work. And it just might be that's the audience MacLeod is writing for, those who are in a dead-end job thinking there's no way out or no way to find a life-work synergy. You can read more of my thoughts on Evil Plans in my blog post here.
Evil Plans is available in the following formats: Kindle, Hardcover
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
I've heard George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series described as an epic modern fantasy saga and the best fantasy series since Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings. Given these high regards and being a huge fan of Tolkien's series I had to check out the first book A Game of Thrones. While it
doesn't have a long list of non-human characters, Martin's first book is more detailed in many ways than Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. For one, the
characters receive a lot more attention to detail and the plot is so thick and interwoven it's sometimes hard to keep track. This is actually a good
thing. At first I was having difficultly with Martin's chosen voice, the limited third-person view, where each chapter is written from the point of view
of one character. This style of writing is one way the plot is thickened in my opinion as several lines of plot are executed at once yet are intricately
related. There are currently four books in the series with three more planned. Given the length of each novel it's going to take a long time to get
through this series, but I'm looking forward to the adventure. This first book was nothing short of amazing.
A Game of Thrones is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover
Brainbox by Christian Cantrell (short story)
Brainbox was the first book I've read by Christian Cantrell, a developer/programmer friend of mine. I enjoyed Christian's ability to paint the scenes in Brainbox
with eloquent detail but I had trouble getting into the storyline. At 99 cents for the Kindle version (or free in other formats) it was a worthwhile read though.
I'm looking forward to checking out some of Christian's other books such as Containment. I'm hoping I enjoy them more.
Book description from the author:
"When the Earth begins cooling unexpectedly, humanity is left with only a few degrees of habitable latitude along the planet's equator. After establishing themselves as the three remaining powers in the world, the Americans, Chinese, and Russians eventually turn on each other in hopes of securing the last of the Earth's resources for themselves.
In an attempt to break the decades-long stalemate, the American military turns to Miguel dos Santos — a brilliant Brazilian roboticist — for help in creating the ASRA, or Autonomous Self Replicating Asset. The secret to the ASRAs is their neurological processors, also known as the brainbox, which enables the machines to "combine the logic and reasoning of a computer with the desperation and hate of the human soul." But as Miguel reluctantly carries out his orders, it becomes clear that he has other plans for what remains of humanity."
Brainbox is available in the following formats: Kindle, EPUB (free), or HTML (free)
Freedom(tm) by Daniel Suarez
Freedom(tm) is the sequel to Daniel Suarez's first novel, Daemon. While Freedom was an enjoyable and entertaining novel I preferred the intrique and
"what's gonna happen next" element to Daemon. Freedom was more predictable than Daemon which made it less of an interesting read. Nevertheless, I do
recommend this book.
Jessica Moyer from Booklist on Freedom(tm):
"Picking up a few months after the end of Daemon (2009), Suarez continues his popular technothriller and SF saga. The computer program Daemon has taken over the Internet, and millions have joined its virtual world. Now the effect is spilling into the real world as Daemon assumes control of financial institutions, and the program’s real-life converts flock to small towns to re-create a sustainable lifestyle amid the agribusiness monoculture of the Midwest. Despite a slow start, Freedom picks up speed by the second half with Daemon’s supporters and detractors facing off for the control of civilization. Only readers who have also read Daemon will be fully able to enjoy and understand Freedom, as most of the characters and plot elements are drawn directly from the previous story, and only so much backstory is possible, given the elaborate premise. On the other hand, Daemon fans will be well be pleased with the exciting conclusion, as will anyone who enjoys lots of gaming elements and virtual worlds in their science fiction."
Freedom is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover
Daemon by Daniel Suarez
Daemon is Daniel Suarez's first novel. It's a book computer geeks can appreciate. It's about a game developer who dies
and subsequently unleashes a computer daemon on the world. Seemingly random events begin to occur and people die. And it appears
attacks come from the Internet. The computer daemon - with help from intelligent humans - takes control of many of the
worlds computer systems and carries out attacks on humanity. Daemon is rife with technical language. To someone not technically
inclined reading this book would be quite an effort though not impossible. It would essentially be like me reading a book on physics;
I don't know or understand the terminology so I'd either have to look up the terms or be okay with not understanding. I found this book
to be quite intriguing and worse, a completely plausible story.
Daemon is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, or Hardcover
Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Rework is the new book by 37signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They've taken their experience creating
and running 37signals and wrapped it up into 90 one to two page essays. The book was released on March 9 and I downloaded it
immediately. After reading the book in just a few sittings I can't say enough good things about it. It's simple. It's easy to read and it makes
since. There are little nuggets of wisdom all throughout the book. I highlighted my favorite passages as I read the book on
Kindle and will hopefully blog my final thoughts in the future. I also recommend listening to the "All About REWORK" edition of the 37signals iTunes podcast. In less than an
hour you will hear why the book was written and how they went about finding a publisher and making the book happen.
Rework is available in the following formats: Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
The Autobiography of Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin's autobiography was written over a huge span of years in the 1700s. It took me reading a fourth of his book before
I really started to enjoy it. It's quite humorous at times and very educational and thought-provoking. I've finished the book
and definitely recommend folks who are interested in the life of Ben Franklin read his autobiography. Franklin accomplished many
more things than I ever knew about such as establishing the first library and fire station. I'll be sure and write a blog post on
my final thoughts. For now, you can buy the book here,
or read it on Kindle for free (which is what I did).