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Science Fiction
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Choose a category at left or scroll down to read my reviews of the books I have read recently.

New Additions in March 2001:

Science Fiction

The Pern Series by Anne McCaffrey

Highly recommended! A great mix of fantasy and science fiction, this series is about dragons on the planet of Pern.

The story of the year before the Second Pass on Pern.

The Masterharper of Pern
Robinton's life, from his birth to finding Lessa just before the thread returns.

The Uplift Series by David Brin

Brilliant science fiction. The story telling is in top form and the plot twists keep the pages turning. The tale is far from complete, so lets hope there will be a third trilogy to tie up the loose ends.

Sea of Glass by Barry B. Longyear

This book is out of print, but if you can get a hold of it, it's definitely worth your trouble. This is one of the first sci-fi books I read, and it hooked me into the sci-fi world.
Basic Plot: The story of an illegal child who grows up in a world where "Big Brother" is a computer that controls the entire population with manipulation. The tragic irony? The fate of the world is in the hands of this illegal person who thinks way too much.
Oh, and you can't forget about the Baby Burgers, either!

Ender's Game, Orsen Scott Card

Classic SciFi, and a must for Any collection! Incredible writing!
Basic Plot: A child goes through military school.

Speaker for the Dead, Orsen Scott Card

Even better than Ender's Game... Wow!
Basic Plot: Ender Wiggin the Xenocide seeks absolution when a second alien race is discovered.

Riders of Leviathan, Toni Anzetti

Could not put this one down, read it all in two days. Second in a series, the first book is Typhon's Children.
Basic Plot: The "god" on a new world has changed human colonists's DNA. The changed humans now swim in the ocean where new enemies await them.

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The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Elf Bible, telling of the creation of the world by the Elf Gods.

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Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Retelling of the story of King Arthur from Morgan le Fay's point of view. The great story telling got me through this big fat book. The religious under tones were interesting to me: there is a power struggle between the Christian priests and the Priestesses and Druids of Avalon. I read this book for it's literary value, but I enjoyed it as well and recommend it to anyone with time to read.

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Anne Rice likes to drawl on a bit, but she does tell a good long story.

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Writing and Creativity

Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury

This book comes highly recommended, however I did not find it inspiring. The book contains 10 essays about Bradbury's life and writing.

First Things First: To Live, To Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy, by Stephan R. Covey, Roger a Rebecca Merrill

This book is geared towards business people, however I think writers and artists can glean much from this book. First Things First details a better form of time management by examining both your wants as well as your whole-human needs.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, by Michael J. Gelb

Excellent reading. Tho Gelb professes everyone has "unlimited potential for learning and creativity," I was quite intimidated reading about da Vinci's genius. The rest of the chapters are very interesting... The seven steps are: Curiosity, Experience, being aware through our Senses, willingness to embrace Chaos, balance between Art and Science, working the Body, and recognition of Connections.

Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer's Life by Bonni Goldberg

A wonderful book of prompts. Ideal for those of us who keep writer's notebooks or journals. With 201 calls to writing, you're bound to find something inspiring.

Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams

Highly recommended. Kathleen Adams reminded me that a personal journal is more than just a dull listing of the day's events. She gives loads of different journaling techniques.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

A book that leads participants through creative recovery from artistic block. A twelve week program which highlights morning pages and artistic dates. I was not able to complete the program, but the book has some great ideas for us passive reader types.

Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart, by Julia Cameron

Plenty of inspirational ideas and she's still preaching about morning pages and artist's dates. Recommended.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg shows us how to practice writing. Through practice and plenty of "low expectation" writing, the writer learns to trust them self. It's the process of writing which matters, not the finished product.

Wild Mind : Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg

The rules of practice writing apply to everything. Yes, even sex. :) This extension of Bones is excellent and fun reading.

100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost

What a great little book! Quick and Painless to read, the chapters are broken down into section that are only about a page long. The book is actually enjoyable and it covers all the bases. It starts with writer's block, goes through style and common writing errors, and ends with editing.

A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves

An inspirational writer's book full of good ideas. This is a book that I keep reading over and over. Hundreds of good writing prompts and lots of good advice, make sure you've got your notebook handy because you are going to itch to write.

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Paint Shop Pro 6 Power! by Lori J. Davis

This book covers all aspects of the latest version of PSP. It does a good job of explaining the newest features of PSP. I learned more about masks, the vector projects were a good introduction, and it gave several examples of user defined filters. Lots of pictures and good writing make this book easy to read, and I highly recommend it if you want to know exactly what PSP6 can do for you.

Sams Teach Yourself JavaScript 1.3 in 24 Hours

The back of this book says "user level: beginning" but this is definitely not a book for beginners. It's more like a quick and painless refresher course for those of us familiar with object-orientated computer languages. For normal human beings who have not studied any kind of programming, I think this book would just be a frustration. Being the complete computer geek that I am, I am actually having lots of fun reading this book and experimenting with the possibilities it presents.

Sams Teach Yourself HTML 4 in 24 Hours

This is the book I got for my birthday to spruce up the home page a little bit. So far, it's a great book. I am learning little tidbits even from the very basic sections. And it's extremely easy to read, which is always a plus for people who are easily distracted. Like me.

Sams Teach Yourself Paint Shop Pro 5 in 24 Hours

If you own PSP 5, you must read this book. There are some important changes from version 4, most notably layers and the gif animation. This book goes into all the details from opening a new image, to creating fancy text and effects, to paint tubes, to masks and layers. Fun to read, and you'll have some great images to show for it.

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The Classics

Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

Contains the ten letters as well as some background. Rilke was 27, in 1903, when the letters began and already a well-known poet. Interesting reading.

Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard

Very slow and incomprehensible reading. I don't recommend it unless you want to look cool, reading this thing in a coffee shop. :)

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

Don't forget to read a few classical books. Consolation was written in 524, and is still relevant reading. Boethius wrote this in prison and he relates how he fights off depression with reason. In the process he also defines "God".

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When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals, by Jeffrey Masson and Susan McCarthy

A scientific review of evidence of animals experiencing "higher" emotions. I think this is a very important book which everyone should read.

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home : And Other Unexplained Powers of Animals : An Investigation by Rupert Sheldrake

A scientist proves ESP, not only in dogs, but in many species, including insects and humans. The experiments and information he presents is fascinating, as is his theory of morphic fields which attempts to explain how ESP works.

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Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan

Wow! What a great book! Loads of beautiful photos. Carl Sagan give us lots of thoughtful discussion about the universe we live in and our place in it. Pale Blue Dot is inspirational and a joy to read.

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The Book of the Unicorn by Nigel Sucklink, il. Linda and Roger Garland

This beautifully illustrated book has stories of the unicorn from all over the world. This book relates the facts of unicorns throughout the ages, from the not so mythical Re'em of biblical times to use of Alicorns in the Middle Ages, to the legends that we know today.

Treasures of the Unicorn : The Return to the Sacred Quest

You may have noticed that I have a penchant for unicorns. :) This book goes into some of the myths and folklore of the unicorn. It also teaches how to use unicorns to change your life and way of thinking.

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