Best Books

Just an idiosyncratic list of my selections for the best books I’ve read recently.

Science fiction

Image of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Del Rey (1996)
Binding: Paperback, 240 pages

Easy reading, but an extraordinary pastiche: detective story, postapocalytic science fiction, philosophical treatise, and sardonic take on humankind’s humanity (or lack thereof). Mind-shattering.

Image of The Lathe of Heaven: A Novel (Perennial Classics)
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (2003)
Binding: Paperback, 176 pages

Short, provocative tale of a man whose dreams change the course of history. A blend of science, science fiction, and Eastern philosophy.

Computer security

Image of Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World
Author: Bruce Schneier
Publisher: Wiley (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 448 pages

A sophisticated yet common-sense view of the threats with realistic approaches to dealing with them. A bit marred by some self-promotion near the end.

Ancient literature

Image of Gilgamesh: A New English Version
Author:
Publisher: Free Press (2004)
Binding: Hardcover, 304 pages

The best translation of the oldest extant written story (roughly 4000 years old) — a remarkably modern story about how arrogance and heroism do not mix well.

Image of The Iliad / The Odyssey
Author: Homer
Publisher: Penguin Classics (1999)
Binding: Paperback, 2 pages

A lively translation.

History

Image of Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion
Author: Edward J. Larson
Publisher: Basic Books (2006)
Binding: Paperback, 336 pages

Inherit the Wind” is not historically accurate. The play even includes a disclaimer stating so. Yet many get all their knowledge of the Scopes trial through that drama. This text, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, sets the record straight, and is great reading. It also sets the context for today’s creationism vs. evolution debate.

Design

Image of The Elements of Typographic Style
Author: Robert Bringhurst
Publisher: Hartley & Marks (1996)
Binding: Hardcover, 352 pages

A wonderful book about typographic design, very readable even for beginners.