Sunday, November 19, 2006


A few books I recommend, with varying degrees of difficulty.
* <-------->** <--------> *** <--------> **** <---------> *****
Easy - - - - - - - - - - - - Moderate - - - - - - - - - - - - Challenging

The Hardy Boys and the Sinister Signpost ISBN#0448089157 $6.99 at

* (Easy)
Light reading is always fun, and any beginning reader should find this enjoyable. Frank and Joe Hardy are two likable boys who are always on adventures solving mysteries. In this one a series of mysterious racecar accidents having only one thing in common: the drivers all saw mysterious signposts with the word "Danger" moments before the accidents occurred.

Naked, by David Sedaris ISBN#0316777730 $13.45 at

** (Pretty easy)
Sedaris is a national treasure. Parts of this mostly autobiographical book will have you laughing out loud like a mental patient. But the parts that aren't funny are just so darn interesting. Sedaris works as a migrant fruit picker, gets held at gunpoint while hitch-hiking, and visits a nudist camp, through which the book gets its name. Upbeat, and lots of fun. If you're looking for a book to get you back into reading, this is your choice.

Burmese Days by George Orwell ISBN#0156148501 $13.00 at

*** (Moderate)
Orwell is famous for his prophetic novel 1984, while this beautiful piece of fiction remains mostly unknown. Set in a British trading colony in Burma after the First World War, the sullen a
nti-hero Flory finds financial success but personal ruin. Set in posh, aristocratic Officers Clubs in the steaming Southeastern Asian jungle, Flory finds his loyalties torn between the backstabbing British overlords and the exotic Burmese.

Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild ISBN#0618619070 $16.00 at

(Pretty Challenging)
At the end of the seventeenth century, over three-quarters of the world's population was enslaved. This is the story of the first people who thought slavery was wrong and should be abolished. I learned a lot about slavery I didn't know, and it was so interesting I couldn't put it down. Slavery is seen from all angles, from Olauduh Equiano, an eloquent slave who managed to win his freedom and eventually publish the story of his extremely fascinating life; to John Newton, the brutal slave trader who would go on to write the hymn "Amazing Grace".

Byzantium by John Julius Norwich ISBN#0394537785 $45.00 at

***** (Very Challenging)
Part one of a three part series. I didn't know anything at all about the later-Roman or Byzantine Empire when I picked these books up. I picked the first one because I liked the cover, not realizing there were a thousand more pages to follow. Soon I found it as engrossing as watching Star Wars for the first time. Emperors get castrated, one has his nose cut off and later marries a fourteen-year-old bride. Fiction like this would be unbelievable. Violent, loaded with intrigue, and a good way to learn about the thousand years between the Roman Empire and Christopher Columbus. There's a lot of cool stuff in there!

1 comment:

Ben said...

You caught me reading naked in the breakroom.

Er, you know what I mean.