What I've been reading

by Jesse Liberty

Related link: http://www.LibertyAssociates.com

If I'm going to take your time by blogging at all, then i want these logs to go well beyond technology and give you a sense of what I'm up to and what I'm interested in.

Most (many?) of the blog entries will be about what I'm working on and/or about what I'm discovering in .NET and Whidbey, but at lesat some of them will be about other topics, including my very bizzarre politics.

Today, I'd like to let you know what I've been reading, because what I read inevitably makes an impact on what (and how) I write.

I also tend to obsess on a given topic (more on that some other time). Over the past year or so I've been focused on three non-technical topics:

* Ancient Civilizations

* Stephen King

* GLBT issues

I read 19 SK books in the past year:

From A Buick 8




Needful Things
The Regulators

Gerald's Game

Hearts In Atlantis

The girl who loved Tom Gordon
Deloris Clairborn

The Gunslinger: Dark Tower 1

The Drawing of the Three: Dark Tower 2

The Waste Lands: Dark Tower 3

Wizard and Glass: Dark Tower 4

Wolves of the Calla: Dark Tower 5

The Talisman

The Black House


Rose Madder

His books range from quite good, to truly great, and there is a wonderful snobbery in how he is relegated to "popular fiction" because of his choice of (admittedly silly) horror.

His best work (in my opinion, but this piece is entirely my opinion) is the Dark Tower series. If you read this, be sure to get the revised first book, much better than the original. Aligned with the Dark Tower series are a bunch of books that are more or less part of the same universe. The strongest association is in The Talisman and its (even better) sequal The Black House, but you also see it in many other books as well (e.g., Hearts in Atlantis, Insomnia, etc.)

On GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) issues, I've recently read Homosexuality and Civilization which is a fascinating book and, while somewhat academic, highly readable and enjoyable.

I also read The Gay Rights Question in Contemporary American Law" which, while slightly dated (even though it is only 18 months old) was very well reasoned and very interesting.

Finally, I'm just now in the middle of Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate which is the best attempt I've seen to cover both sides of the issue. Each chapter consists of an essay, a rebuttal, a counter essay and a counter rebuttal. The people involved are the leading national voices on the issue. Great book, very well put together.

As for Ancient Civilizations, while I am reading Donald Kagan's book on the Peloponnesian War I'm getting most of my information from a set of wonderful tapes from The Teaching Company.

Feel free to recommend other, related books


2004-03-11 11:59:39
Other SK Works...
If you haven't read The Bachman Books, I highly recommend them. I understand that they are no longer in print (King himself has supposedly asked to stop printing them), but I bought my copy of the book (4 stories in one book) from Amazon's auction site for $7 after shipping...

The Long Walk in particular is of interest. That, The Running Man, and The Stand could all be similarily grouped I would suppose, but that's pretty good company to be in.

2004-03-11 12:28:34
Best SK Books
You haven't read the best books yet:

The Stand


2004-03-11 12:32:18
Best SK Books
Oh, good point. I was just listing the ones I've read in the past year. In previous years I've read:

The Stand

Bag of Bones

The Shining

Fire Starter

Dead Zone

Four Seasons

On Writing


But not yet It. Though it is on my bed-stand. :-)
2004-03-11 14:34:06
Another nod for The Long Walk
I was going to add a comment recommending The Long Walk, but you beat me to it. Any fan of King's writing should love this book, its truly spellbinding. I've read it three times, each time all in one sitting. Jurassic Park is the only other book I've ever come close to doing that with.
2004-03-11 14:40:24
Best SK Books
Read 'It', then read Dan Simmons' 'Summer of Night'. They're similar stories, in very different styles. Personal opinion: King is a great read, Simmons is a better writer. Putting them head to head like this is a great way to spot what each is good at.
2004-04-20 07:01:51
Another nod for The Long Walk
Based on your collective recommendations I read this amazing book. I see it as an existentialst version of Lord of the Flies. I was horrified and fascinated.
2004-04-20 07:13:59
Updating the list
The last couple weeks I've moved on to some new books, including The Hours which is wonderful (better than the movie) and, of course, Mrs. Dalloway.

I am currently reading:

Ulysses guided by The New Bloomsday Book and Stuart Gilbert along with tapes from the Teaching Company(highly recommended!)

Finally, I'm reading a wonderful book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss. Great fun.