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May 15, 2006

The Gun Seller

by Hugh Laurie
Yes, I did pick this up just because it was written by Hugh Laurie, but it was totally worth it. This is a funny, witty (they are two different things), pulp-ish spy thriller that kept me turning the pages, but reading slowly enough to really enjoy the prose. In theory, he has a second book coming out sometime in 2007 - I'll have to content mself with House episodes until then.

The Science of Jurassic Park and the Lost World: Or, How to Build a Dinosaur

by Rob Desalle, David Lindley
I picked this book up in Hay and finished it that same day. It was very interesting, and I learned a bit (especially about DNA processing), but the big problem was that the science was a bit outdated (it was writted in 1997, and a lot has happened in the world of cloning and dna processing since then). Still, there's nothing like a compelling "what if" scenario.

The Riddles of Epsilon

by Christine Morton-Shaw
The Riddles of Epsilon was a fun, compelling read. It had enough twists to keep me guessing, and the puzzles would probably be fun for readers to try to figure out.

Maus : A Survivor's Tale : My Father Bleeds History/Here My Troubles Began/Boxed

by Art Spiegelman
Everyone talks about how great Maus is. All I can say is: believe the hype. This was well drawn and moving, and I'm very impressed by the Spiegelman's cat and mouse conceit. Holocaust tales are hard, but this one shouldn't be missed.

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography

by Simon Singh
The Code Book is amazing. Singh does an amazin job of making the story of cryptography interesting while explaining the increasingly complex concepts behind the developing codes. By the time I finished this book, I understood how to do those "Decode-A-Quote" puzzles on the comics pages of some newspapers (which had never made complete sense before), had a budding interest in (and high-level understanding of) quantum computing, and the chance to recommend the book to everyone I know.

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
This is one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. Levitt and Dubner have an always-intersting perspective on the topics they examine. If you read Freakonomics and are looking for more, they have an occasional column in the New Your Times Magazine, and have a great website at

The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life

by Noah Lukeman
The Plot Thickens is full of great ideas and exercises to continue to develop your story. As I read each chapter, Lukeman pointed me towards additional ideas and I couldn't wait to get started developing them.

On Writing

by Stephen King
I'm not a horror fan, so haven't read much by King at all. But this book is fantastic. He talks about the trials and tribulations of his writing life, and a little about the mechanics of writing. Funny, inspiring, and a great read.

The Riddle

by Alison Croggon
I devoured this book, the second in Alison Croggons Pellinor series. It follows the continued adventures of Maerad and Cadvan as they search for the Treesong and run from the forces of Dark.

The Naming

by Alison Croggon
On finishing this book, I was desperate to find a copy of the next book in the Pellinor series (just ask my sister -- I dragged her into every bookstore we saw in New Zealand). The heroine, Maerad, is strong and well written, and the story just comes to life on the page.

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac
On the Road was the first "classic" we read in my new book club. I went into it very excited. I came out of it very much less so. NOTHING HAPPENS! These characters are exactly the sort of aimless, immature people I dont like to hang out with, so why would I want to read about them? (To everyone who loves this book, sorry - it just didn't move me.)