Pure Pleasure

Winters Tale
Mark Helprin


 

Norte-americano magical realism for fans of New York City. A millennial novel set at the previous turn of the century, Winter’s Tale is a more lyrical and less polemic Atlas Shrugged. People who love it, as I do, think it’s one of the most engaging books ever written. People who hate it, call it, and the author, elitist, reactionary, and racist (see Amazon). Seems to me that any novel that can raise that much heat is worth reading. BTW Ignore the movie, snippets of the book and not the best ones.

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Neuromancer
William Gibson

This is the original cyberpunk novel. It won every major science fiction prize when it came out and it is still a relevant read. The writing is as interesting as the story which is roughly about adventures in a cyberspace virtual reality accessed though one’s brain implants. People who hate it think it’s dense and pointless. The rest of us thinks it describes a rapidly approaching future.

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Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro

A truly amazing little book about discovering you’ve devoted your life to an illusion. On the surface, it’s about a butler, who avoids inspection of his life in service to a poor excuse for nobility. This novel of English manners and style is all the more amazing for having a Japanese author. If you take it as a spur you won’t find it bleak. (And, yes, it’s the book on which the Anthony Hopkins movie was based. The movie was good, the book is better.) 

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Diamond AgeOr, a Young Lady’s Illustrate Primer

Neal Stephenson

For me, science fiction is still the best way to explore the limitless possibilities of nanotechnology. This book does a wonderful job of creating a world dominated by the benefits and consequences of unrestricted technology. Wonderfully fun to read and more instructive at warning of the risks than many more serious books. Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash by the same author are also highly recommended.

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Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Robin Sloan

Analog mystery meets digital San Francisco. Fun, fast, adventurous read with lots of thoughtful substance about information and it’s storage and preservation. Great example of project management applied and memorable appealing characters. No sex, so you can give it to your mom provided she’s digitally savvy.

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Ready Player One

Ernest Cline

Well, yes it is dystopian. Isn’t everything labeled Young Adult these days? The escape is the game until it turns out the game and the world are parallel. The world of this book is 80s games like Dungeons & Dragons but the plotting and characters are classic literature. One of those books that cries out for a series. 91% or Amazon reviews (almost 9,000 of them) are 4 or better.

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The Ark Before Noah

Irvine Finkel

Turns out the real question is “which one“! The author is an expert in Cuneiform writing. That said, he writes like Da Vinci Code with evidence. Noah’s flood turns out to be only one of many such stories and that story is layered with code-breaking and his personal narrative of a life spent pursuing a deep enthusiasm. Fun and will make you think.

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