A Conversation for Talking Point: A Good Read

Direct answers to the questions

Post 1


"Do you have a book you love so much you want to recommend it to the world?"

Too many to go through all of them, but:

"Fox in Socks", Dr. Seuss.
"Small Gods", Terry Pratchett.
"The Art of War", Sun Tzu. A571862
"Neuromancer", William Gibson.
"The Encyclopedia of Ball Juggling", Charlie Dancey.
"Watchmen", Alan Moore. A744905
"Sandman", Neil Gaiman. (the whole thing)
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynmann?", Richard P. Feynmann.
"Metamagical Themas", Douglas R. Hofstadter.
"The Dilbert Principle", Scott Adams. A773778
"After Man", Dougal Dixon.
"The Selfish Gene", Richard Dawkins.
"The Tao of Jeet Kune Do", Bruce Lee. A302185
"The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind", Julian Jaynes.
"The Nitpickers Guide for Next Generation Trekkers, Volume II"

smiley - popcorn

"If so, what is it and why do you love it?"

In order:

Read it to a child, and you won't have to ask.

It pretends to just be funny, but it's savage and uncompromising and subtle and sad - and it IS funny.

It's just as relevant and true and applicable and elegant today as two and a half thousand years ago.

It changed the way science fiction sounded.

It's a book for beginners and gods and everyone in between. It gives you the tools to weave REAL magic - no tricks.

A comic for grownups, a comic for people who would NEVER read comics. The first of VERY few books which can honestly call themselves "graphic novels".

A multilayered feast of visual and literary reference that repays re-reading. An education. There's nothing like it in comics, and almost nothing like it an ANY medium. The only thing I can think of which is comparable is Tolkein's Middle Earth, and I don't just mean Lord of the Rings.

A fascinating and personal trip through the life and mind of the greatest mind of the twentieth century. A genius to whom other geniuses looked up in wonder and awe. And a bongo player.

A collection of musings on diverse but subtly related topics in a way which enthuses one to think in new ways. A treasure trove of mind games.

If you work, or have ever worked, in an office, you must read this book, then wish your laughter wasn't quite so hysterically full of recognition...

REAL science fiction - literally. A natural history of this planet after the extinction of humans. Well reasoned, engagingly explained and beautifully illustrated.

Real science, explained by someone who lives it and loves it.

The collected wisdom of a man who made physical perfection his raison d'etre, and developed a philosophy to match. The art of fighting, without fighting, truly.

Humankind's first recorded attempt at storytelling. It's wonderful to see how little has changed, in many ways.

A shocking book which could change the way you look at religion, humanity, consciousness, and everything about yourself and everyone else. Even if you don't agree with it, it's a fascinating read, combining archeology, literature and psychology.

A book about Star Trek which names me as a contributor? Gotta be in the list of my favourites! smiley - laugh

"Is it a modern novel or an old classic?"

In order:
Nonsense verse.
Modern fantasy.
Ancient political textbook.
Definitive cyberpunk, so modern AND classic.
Modern "how to" manual.
Graphic novel.
Graphic novel serial.
Episodic autobiography.
Collection of recreational mathematics articles.
Comedy management guide.
Science fiction natural history textbook.
Popular biology.
Collected writings of a martial arts master.
Near prehistoric myth.
Psychology text.
Star Trek book.

"Is it a children's book you have grown up with?"

The only ones I "grew up with" were "Fox in Socks", "The Art of War", "The Selfish Gene" and "Gilgamesh". Apart from the first, not really children's books...

"Or something you have discovered recently?"

Most recent discovery was "Tao of Jeet Kune Do". Wish I'd read it fifteen years ago.

"While we are on the subject, what books are not worth the paper they are printed on?"

Bunyan's "Pilgrims Progress". Biggest pile of c**p ever committed to paper.

"A Malady of Magicks", by Craig Shaw Gardner. Appalling wannabe-Pratchett s***e which is all the more vexing for having the gall to masquerade under a Josh Kirby cover to tempt you in.

The Bible. Responsible for more and bloodier deaths than any other fairy story in history.


Direct answers to the questions

Post 2

Moving On

A Woman in your own Right by Ann Dickinson
-after 23 years of being too terrified and beaten to talk, this book taught me to communicate clearly.

Small Gods - Terry Pratchett. Because it illustrates very gently just HOW our "Gods" could be created. And its funny, and its the best way of encouraging anyone to THINK about their beliefs rather than blindly follow.

Nanny Oggs's Cook Book . Because I like to eat, and I like to laugh.

Peace at Last - Jill Murphy. Because I enjoyed reading it out to my kids even more than my kids enjoyed me reading it to them (12 years on we can still quote from it)

Direct answers to the questions

Post 3


smiley - cheers


Direct answers to the questions

Post 4

Moving On

Have you got hold of a copy of Pratchett/Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen's "The Science of the Discworld 11 The Globe"? It may well appeal to you, esp. chapters 19 and 20 (I had no idea you were so angry about 'religion' - did you get bitten by a priest as a youngster, or what?) I found a copy of the paperback 2day - WH Smiths are selling it for £2.00 under RRP, and am ploughing through it. Only half way through, but having read some of your rants on some of the other pages, think the ideas may well amuse and cheer you. It tickled me no end.

Sorry to use this 'forum' to ask damn fool questions, but how do I post to people's sites? I'm still grappling with ML, but now the car is fixed I can resume my computor classes. I still haven't got total control of cut and post, but I'm getting there.

Next week I'll make paper animals! (or is that before your time?) smiley - cheers

Direct answers to the questions

Post 5


"Have you got hold of "The Science of the Discworld 11 The Globe"?" Yes, and the first one. Excellent books, both. Actually, you'd probably be able to tell I'd read it if you read this: A685055 "(I had no idea you were so angry about 'religion' - did you get bitten by a priest as a youngster, or what?)" No. But I did go to church schools and get taught a lot of complete nonsense as though it was historical fact and not a fairy story. "Sorry to use this 'forum' to ask damn fool questions" "There are no stupid questions. Just stupid people." ;-) (South Park quote, just ignore me, I'll go away eventually...) ", but how do I post to people's sites?" Go to their page by clicking on their name. Scroll down past whatever fancy intro they've done for themselves. Eventually you reach a bit that says "Conversations", and you can see what threads they're subscribed to and when they last posted to them. Scroll down further and there's a section titled "Messages". Click "Leave a message", and you'll start a thread attached to their personal space. Easy as that. All the above assumes you're using the default "skin". "Skins" are different appearances the site can have - there are a bunch of em. You're probably using "Brunel" - there's a green vertical bar to the left and the top of the screen says "Conversation Forum" in big sans serif type on a green background that looks like rivetted panels. Your browser address window will start with "http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel". Try a different skin! Just go into your browser's address bar, and replace the word "brunel". The valid things you can replace it with are: "classic" - this is what h2g2 looked like before the BBC got it "alabaster" - a cleaner looking version, also I think pre-BBC "plain" - does what it says on the tin "hub" - a bit like plain There are others, but try those for starters. The look of pages, and even what is on them, can change slightly from one skin to another, so try them all and pick one you like. (If you click on "Preferences" in the left column at the top, you can select your default skin, as well as change your nickname... but you already know that! ;-)) "Next week I'll make paper animals! (or is that before your time?)" You have, I'm ashamed to admit, lost me with that one. But if you've got a piece of paper handy, may I urge you to go here and try something out which I guarantee will work... A656859 Enjoy. H.

Direct answers to the questions

Post 6

Geoff Taylor - Gullible Chump

Small Gods... lovely book, hits a very similar nerve with me.

1984 (George Orwell) - possibly the most depressing book I have ever read.

Art of War - Profound, although I got the Tao Te Ching along with it in a box set.

Puckoon (Spike Milligan) - a simply hilarious novel. Also, Spike's war memoirs are a poignant riot.

Stupid White Men (Michael Moore) - simplistic at times, plays a bit fast & loose with his application of the facts, but an engrossing read. See also "The Bush Dyslexicon" which is a psycological study of GWB.

Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and (to a lesser extent) Hannibal (Thomas Harris) - great thrillers.

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling) - made me cry towards the end.

Hobson's Choice (Ashamed that I can't remember the author) - I was introduced to this story by the fantastic 1953 film starring Charles Laughton & John Mills. It's a truly hilarious period comedy, and all the more enthralling for me because it's set less than 10 miles from my home.

The Star Trek books by James Blish and the Dr Who books of Terrance Dicks and co. - These books got me reading as a child. I devoured each book time and time again. Even now I have the ability to read books 7 or 8 times and not get bored.

Dr Dolittle (More Shame) - again, I loved these as a child. For some reason I was terrified of the giant fly that took the Doctor to the moon.

Well, that's me, anyway.

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