Monday, March 05, 2007

I finished my first fiction book in a while yesterday - Amazonia by James Rollins. This is your basic techno-thriller. The model for this type of book was laid down by Michael Crichton - a group comprised of scientists, soldiers and businessmen go in pursuit of a previous expedition in some forbidding, and still primitive, part of the world. There is the standard romance, betrayal and pursuit by a psychopathic rival tied in with some interesting sounding, but dubious, psuedo-science.

This is an OK light read - good if you're going to be stuck on a plane or just want to escape for a litte while.

Amazon Link: Amazonia

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I finished two non-fiction books over the last week. The first is Hitler: A Study In Tyranny by Alan Bullock. I had read that this is the definitive biography on Hitler, so I picked it up from the library. It's pretty interesting and not only covers a Hitler but gives a lot of high level background on WW2 as well.

On a side note, I read a quote from Kurt Vonnegut last week as well. To paraphrase, he said "George Bush is exactly the same as Adolf Hitler, except that Hitler is elected." While I am no fan of George Bush, before I read this biography I would have dismissed this as a foolish exaggeration. After reading the biography, I think it is either appalling ignorance or a very deliberately dishonest slur. In reality, there are almost no similarities between Bush and Hitler - not in their backgrounds, methods, goals or in their sins. I'd go into more details but I don't really want this to be a political blog. All people do when they speak like Vonnegut did is to hurt our opinion of them.

The second book I finished is Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide by Dinah L. Moche. I was inspired to read this by a visit to Chabot Observatory. They have open telescope viewing every Friday and Saturday night. A few weeks ago, we went and great views of Saturn and the Orion Nebulae. I was inspired to go back and re-learn some of my basic astronomy.

Amazon Links:
Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
Astronomy: A Self-Teaching Guide