Late Night Tips: Books

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Note from Rachelskirts: This is the first in a series of guest blog posts brought to you by Michael. Enjoy!

So, books are officially the coolest thing since cool came to Cool Town, right? Can we all agree on that? Good. Now, there are books, and there are books. Some books are mind-bogglingly amazing, while others just grab your attention and don't let go. It's like cheating, they end each chapter like a Flash Gordon remake ("Oh look! He just fell into the bottomless pit! And he's surrounded by an army of awkward looking aliens! And he is completely paralyzed from the waist down! And he was shot by a poison dart! How will Flash Gordon get out of this one? Tune in next time!"), only not usually quite as cheesy. (Disclaimer: Flash Gordon is freaking awesome.) Anyway, a book like War and Peace might be a great book, but to be completely honest, it isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world to focus on the page while your body is busy going into post-traumatic shock from a lack of sleep. And don't you dare tell me that isn't possible. Are you a doctor? Needless to say, since we are focusing on reading books into the wee hours of the morning, War and Peace is out (Sorry Leo).

Ender's Game
A sci-fi book about a boy being trained up to save the world from the Buggers (a nasty alien race that has already sent two invasions to earth to destroy it). I just spent the last three nights staying up reading this book, so I can say right off the bat, it has the ability to keep you up.

Pride and Prejudice
Or really anything by Jane Austen. This one might not hold too much appeal for you if you are a guy, but don't let that stop you. Don't try to tell me that real men don't have a romantic side to them. They totally do.

Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy
A hilarious parody of humanity as told by the last survivor of our tiny planet, which has been demolished by the galactic bureaucrats to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

"This planet [Earth] has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy."

Absolutely hilarious.

I, Robot
This book is not so much a novel as a series of short stories. Except most all the stories have the same characters. It has the feel of a mystery. Stuff happens to robots, and people have to try to figure out why. But it waits 'til the end to tell the reader the answer. And because it is in small chunks, it is really easy to decide to read the next one instead of going to bed! ("I'll read another one, what's five more minutes?")

The Martian Chronicles
Again with the short stories (and again with the sci-fi! I promise this isn't all I read). Ray Bradbury has this natural ability to draw you into his world. I would almost classify his stories as more magical, or fantasy, than sci-fi.

Animal Farm
This book is just short enough that, if you are a fast reader, you could finish it in a single night. It has so many undertones that you will walk away fascinated. The story follows a group of animals that drive the cruel farmers out of the farm and take over themselves. It is a great social commentary that, in my opinion, is just as relevant today as it was fifty years ago.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
For my defense of the awesomeness of short mysteries, read what I said about I, Robot again. If you are seriously not totally taken in by these stories, then I have nothing more to say to you. Not that short mysteries in and of themselves are amazing. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle certainly is.

Tez

Tez

Ender's Game is good, but the three books after it blow it out the water in ways that things have never before been blown out of water. They make Ender's Game seem like child's play (which is interesting, since Ender is a child in Ender's Game and an adult in the following books). Speaker For The Dead through Children of the Mind represent three of the greatest books ever written.

Rachelskirts

Rachelskirts

I think Ender's Game and The Martian Chronicles are the only ones I don't own after my trip to the library's book sale a few weeks ago. Not too shabby! I just need to find time to read all of them.

P.S. Man, I love Jane Austen.

Michael

Michael

Tex: I don't know. Ender's game is a masterpiece, in my mind. It has a perfect slope in the narrative from childish innocence to adulthood. It's all about a little kids growing up. Whereas, the next three are just about the adult. I get the feeling that Card just made the sequels to capitalize on a successful book. Anyway, that's just my own opinion. Feel free to think what you like.

Michael

Michael

Oops, that was supposed to be "Tez". My bad.. :(

And either way, the point is that Ender's Game is super easy to get immersed into, and keep you up till the wee hours of the morning.

Tez

Tez

Michael- Actually, the three books were supposed to be separate. But after a lot of musing and rewriting, he realized that Ender's experience in Ender's Game made him the perfect main character. The three books that followed were about so much more than just Ender, in my mind- all of the science and philosophy, the ethical questions it raised and the creative situations rock my world. Although really well-paced and definitely quality, Ender's Game is actually kind of boring to me, especially after experiencing what Card is capable of.

But there is no doubt that Ender's Game is a good read, whether or not you continue the series (please do, Skirts). Since first encountering the book, my shelf now has an entire row of about 30 OSC books. Love the guy.

Team Christmas

Team Christmas

Not to ruin Tez's day or rain on Tez's parade, but I found Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide to be a 2000 page waste of time and space. Sure, there were amazing ethical questions and quite a bit of creativity (I like the teleporting spaceship), but he could have written both books just as well if he had left them at about 100 pages long, each. Ender's Game was good though, and I havent read all of his Earthbound (or what ever its actually called) series, but the one I read was amazing.
And, Micheal, you should probably read I, Robot again, because it seemed to me when I read it that there was massive time gaps between each of those stories. I admit it has been a while, but I seem to remember none of the characters being the same.
Overall, good list though of the ones I've read, of which are only the sci-fi ones...

Blindsquirrel

Blindsquirrel

I could not agree more on HHGTG or Animal Farm. Good recommendations all around. I look forward to the next guest blog...

...don't worry Rachel, I am looking even more forward to you actually blogging again (no internet ditches for you.)

Michael

Michael

Team Christmas: Thanks! I tryed to make a good list. Looks like I succeeded! And actually, I, Robot is more of a bunch of separate unrelated short stories. But Asimov keeps them in the same universe and recycles characters pretty regularly. It isn't a single narrative, but rather many different narratives, some of which have reoccurring characters.

Nat

Nat

I am right there with you with Hitch Hikers and Pride and Prejudice. I can't read those two enough.