I had the pleasure of experiencing a few summer months without having to a) study a foreign language, b) work 40 hours a week and commute 45 minutes each way, and c) reading for school. So what does that mean? I get to pick my own books and try to knock down a few off my reading list while revisiting old favorites. Trying to strike a balance between serious works and more playful and amusing reads, I think it’s a pretty good mixture of texts. In order of reading after graduation:
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
Jurassic Park is an outstanding weekend novel: in that you can start and finish it comfortably in a weekend. No matter how many times I read it, it’s still a great book full of pseudo-science and dinosaurs.
Che Guevera: A Revolutionary Life, by Jon Lee Anderson
After picking up this hefty text from Powell’s last summer, it’s been near the top of books to read. After slogging through the first few hundred pages explaining Che’s childhood origins, Anderson does an excellent job tracing the history of the Cuban Revolution and Guevera’s extraordinary contribution to the political and theretical basis for Castro’s state.
V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
While not a huge graphic novel fan, V for Vendetta is an excellent text for what it is: a dark view of the near future when those who are seeking power will go to any extremes to possess it. This book works well as a graphical text, and I throughly enjoyed this second reading.
War: The Lethal Custom, by Gwynne Dyer
Offering a historical and anthropological view of the origin and evolution of armed conflict, Dyer’s text is a strong argument for pacifism. The choice of this text was to solidfy my views on armed conflict: I always knew I was against it and could profess some generalized and perhaps incorrect theories about why I thought that way. Now I have the reasons to actually trace my viewpoints.
Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, by Eoin Cofler
Artemis Fowl is one of my favorite series. Don’t judge me. Another awesome piece of work for Colfer once you recognize this book for what it is: a playful take on faeries, child geniuses, and finding a purpose in life.
The House of Hope and Fear, by Audrey Young
Written by a former Harborview Medical Center resident and staff physician, Young offers a personal and localized viewpoint of the role of charity care and public hospitals in a modern municipality. Although it contains a few patient care stories, the author does an excellent job of showing how hospitals treat uninsured patients from the “VIPs,” and how the doctors and staff balance their goal of providing care to each patient while also attempting to keep hospital costs low. The logistics of running hospitals is the theme of this book, and it’s a great introduction to how much on the edge Harborview balances. Chronic inebriates, wealthy surgical patients, and highly critical trauma patients all find care at Harborview: this book is about how each group interacts with the medical staff and hospital. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Go read it.
The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder.
Written about the race between computer manufacturers during the dawn of personal computing, Kidder traces the development process of a small team at Data General as they race to produce the next and best product before the competition. While unfortunately light on the technical details about the machines, Kidder does a fairly good job of exploring the vast array personalities that dominated in a computing corporation in the early 1980s.
So there you have it! I think my next book will be Darconville’s Cat authored by Alexander Theroux. One of my favorite texts of all time, I haven’t had the chance to re-read this since high school. I feel that the second time around will be a much more rewarding and thoughtful experience.
Next up (in no particular order):
Birding Essentials by Jonathan Alderfer and Jon Dunn
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman
The Fall by Albert Camus
Saboteur by Niels Aage Skov
When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure, by Emma Campbell Webster
And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer
Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Naked by David Sedaris
Best Hikes Near Seattle, by Peter Stekel
Paradise Lost, by John Milton