26 July 2010

15 men on a dead man's chest

Love that so much.

In other news... yeah. Working on the second draft of my MA essay, trying to get it to my satisfaction. Still haven't heard back from my advisor with suggestions from my first draft, a lack which is a little worrisome, but I'm pushing through, setting my own deadlines and sticking to them.

In still other news, there's this chain letter floating around Facebook. Or... not really sure what to call it. Chain note? Idea is [c&p]
Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your 15 picks, and tag people in the note - upper right hand side.) Anyone else who wants to play along, please do.**

So I'm not gonna do it on FB, but I figured I would here, just because. Ranking them chronologically from the time I came across them. Brief note follows each with my musings.

1. Bible.
Early and often through most of my childhood, and not something I'm likely to shake anytime soon. Can still recite decent-sized chunks.

2. The Prince -- Niccolo Machiavelli
Shapes a lot of how I view the world. Has since I was youngish.

3. The Republic -- Plato
Read in tandem with The Prince.

4. Meditations -- Marcus Aurelius
Read in tandem with The Prince and The Republic. Maybe the most influential single work on my worldview, if only because I spent so much time trying to make myself fit with it that I sort of got stuck in that shape.

5. Ender's Game -- Orson Scott Card
The first book I read of Card's, and my introduction to Ender Wiggin. Also, more generally, my introduction to the 'I'm a young genius and NOBODY UNDERSTANDS' genre. Now I'm a little older, I see a lot more of its flaws, but it still has a significant place in my worldview.

6. Nightfall -- Isaac Asimov
The first book I read of Asimov's, and it fit oh so neatly into my perceptions of humanity. I usually have significant issues with humanists - they're a little touchy-feely and overly optimistic about human nature for my taste - but Asimov
managed to break himself a little bit out of his usual mold here.

7. Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography -- John Toland
In case you haven't noticed by now, there are a lot of books in here about how to seize and hold power. It was something I was kind of obsessed with when I was younger. It's something I'm slightly less obsessed with nowadays.

8. Xenocide -- Orson Scott Card
I got this before I did Speaker for the Dead, and it made a much bigger impact. I know it's a little preachy in places, but that was kind of what I was into back then.

9. The Idiot -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
This marked the beginning of my very brief (when I was 12 years old) Russian literature phase. What can I say - I was all out of Nancy Drew books.

10. Notes from the Underground -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
Remember how I mentioned my very brief Russian literature phase? This was part of it. I actually forgot I'd read this book for a long time (okay, so like 7 years) until a professor mentioned that a line from one of my stories resembled it, I looked it up, and I realized that I knew the story almost by heart.

11. Stories and Prose Poems -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Remember how I mentioned my very brief Russian literature phase? This was also part of it.

12. Traitor -- Matthew Stover
Yes, this is a Star Wars book. It's also a really good read, one that I've come back to a few times since then. Read it first when I was 14 or so.

13. City of Golden Shadow -- Tad Williams
Note a somewhat escapist bent to these last couple of novels? I know I did. Another really solid sort of science fiction novel, if perhaps a bit less
philosophical than Traitor.

14. The Blank Slate -- Stephen Pinker
Came across it my first year at university... and then my second year at university... and then my third year at university. Disagree with a good bit of what he says, but he says it pretty well.

15. Discipline and Punish -- Michel Foucault
It's just so goofy and fun! Everyone's favorite French intellectual (because, really, who likes this guy?) takes you on a thrilling romp through various apparatuses of governmental control.

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