Book List

Feb 7, 2006

My birthday is coming up, eventually, and I thought I’d get a jump on my wants and needs (ok, my wants). Besides, I love lists. Just love them. Here are some of the books I’d like to read sometime after my birthday, ahem, assuming I ever finish this one. Thank God the others won’t require a quiz afterwards.

The Progress Paradox by Gregg Esterbrook

I’ve been a reader of Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column for a few seasons. I like his writing enough that I’ve followed that particular column from ESPN to its current resting spot, NFL.com. It’s good, exhaustive, quirky stuff and it sets him up well for writing about subjects like is life getting any better. Doesn’t it?

Beside Still Waters: Searching for Meaning in an Age of Doubt by Gregg Easterbrook

Since the life questions are apparently easy, I’m glad this book gave Mr. Easterbrook a chance to tackle some tough subjects, like religion. You’d think that I’d be wary to read a book about religion from a football columnist. You’d be wrong. After all, what football columnist berates supporters of intelligent design while leaving the concept open, all in an article about the Super Bowl? Well, I know one that does.

(Search for “No Higher Power” for the whole snippet. Here’s a taste: “But please, science illiterates, stop attempting to enact rules about intelligent design; you are ruining the idea.”)

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

I’ve already read this one, which probably makes it my most interesting choice. Of course, when I did so, it was in electronic form. It’d be nice to get the paper equivalent and it’d be nice to freshen my memory for it’s sequel.

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Hey, the sequel. Imagine that. In addition to being a sequel to a book that I really enjoyed, I think this choice makes a pattern apparent. Maybe I’ll talk about that pattern at the bottom. Hint, all the links to Amazon are not involved.

Attack of the Bacon Robots (Penny Arcade, Vol. 1) by Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik

I’ve been following the Penny Arcade strip for years, long enough that I’m sure I’ve seen a lot of work found between the covers of this book. That doesn’t mean I don’t need something for my (theoretical) coffee table and that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy reading all the additional commentary.

So what do all these choices have in common? They all came from writers that I discovered and followed on the web. In the case of Mr. Easterbrook, I’ve been following his articles in official channels for a couple of years. In the case of Mr. Scalzi, I’ve been following his blog for longer than I’ve been writing my own. Penny Arcade is actually kind of a mix of the two, a site that generates money directly but provides blog-like content in the form of long form text that accompanies each comic.

10 years ago, I would have been surprised at the source of my interests. As recently as 7 years ago, I might have been little uneasy justifying actual purchases based on such unscrupulous places as the internet. Today, I don’t bat an eye. The authors above are writers that I actively follow. I can’t think of a better way to spend my entertainment dollars (or someone else’s if my birthday just so happens to pass). I can think of a better question, though.

How did I find something good to read before the internet?

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