Logos and the Summer Reading List (2016Jul05)


Tuesday, July 05, 2016                                             1:03 PM

Kindle Purchases as of July 5, 2016:

Title    Author

Super Extra Grande                                                         Yoss

Infomocracy: A Novel                                                    Malka Older

Mechanical Failure (Epic Failure Book 1)                 Joe Zieja

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files)                                   Amie Kaufman

Porgy                                                                                 Dubose Heyward

Shakespeare’s Sonnets                                                     William Shakespeare

Wandering Stars                                                              Sholem Aleichem

The Noise of Time: A novel                                           Julian Barnes

Into Everywhere                                                              Paul McAuley

Something Coming Through                                         Paul McAuley

Little Machines                                                                Paul McAuley

Insistence of Vision: Stories                                          David Brin

The Technician (A Novel of Polity)                             Neal Asher

Dark Intelligence (Transformations)                           Neal Asher

Not Alone                                                                          Craig A. Falconer

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories                     Ken Liu

Ruined (TCG Edition)                                                     Lynn Nottage

As Good as New: A Tor.Com Original                        Charlie Jane Anders

Six Months, Three Days: A Tor.Com Original           Charlie Jane Anders

The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model                Charlie Jane Anders

Hello World                                                                     Peter Cawdron

This Long Vigil (A Short Story)                                     Rhett C Bruno

Saturn Run                                                                        John Sandford

Against a Dark Background                                           Iain M. Banks

Excession                                                                           Iain M. Banks

The State of the Art                                                          Iain M. Banks

Use of Weapons (A Culture Novel Book 3)                Iain M. Banks

The Player of Games (A Culture Novel Book 2)       Iain M. Banks

Been There, Run That                                                     Koplovitz

Apex: Nexus Trilogy Book 3 (Nexus Arc)                   Ramez Naam

The Artificial Kid                                                            Bruce Sterling

Seeds of a New Birth (Kindred Series Book 1)           Orrin Jason Bradford

The End of All Things (Old Man’s War Book 6)       John Scalzi

The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past)      Cixin Liu

Among Others (Hugo Award -Best Novel) Jo Walton

101 Great American Poems(Dover Thrift Eds)         Am.Poetry&Lit Project

Armada: A novel                                                              Ernest Cline

The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age Book 3)    John C. Wright

The Phoenix Exultant: (Golden Age, Book 2)            John C. Wright

The Golden Age                                                               John C. Wright

Idempotency                                                                    Joshua Wright

To Stand or Fall: The End of All Things #4                John Scalzi

Can Long Endure: The End of All Things #3              John Scalzi

This Hollow Union: The End of All Things #2          John Scalzi

The Life of the Mind: The End of All Things #1        John Scalzi

Mysterium                                                                        Robert Charles Wilson

A Bridge of Years                                                             Robert Charles Wilson

Pandora’s Brain                                                                Calum Chace

Schild’s Ladder                                                                 Greg Egan

The Girl With All the Gifts                                            M. R. Carey

The Turing Exception (Singularity Series Book 4)    William Hertling

The Last Firewall (Singularity Series Book 3)            William Hertling

A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity Series Book 2)              William Hertling

Avogadro Corp: TS.. (Singularity Series Book 1)       William Hertling

Nexus (The Nexus Trilogy Book 1)                              Ramez Naam

Crux (The Nexus Trilogy Book 2)                                 Ramez Naam

Cards of Grief                                                                   Jane Yolen

The Alien Chronicles (The Future Chronicles)          Hugh Howey

The Essence of Aptitude (CorpusChronicles Bk1)    Esha Bajaj

The Defeatist                                                                     Sophie Bowns

The Fold: A Novel                                                           Peter Clines

(R)evolution (Phoenix Horizon Book 1)                    PJ Manney

Curse 5.0 (Short Stories by Liu Cixin Book 7)            Cixin Liu

The Water Knife                                                              Paolo Bacigalupi

Taking Care of Gods (Short Stories Book 10)             Cixin Liu

The Wandering Earth (Short Stories Book 2)            Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem(Remem.of Earth’sPast)   Cixin Liu

Seveneves: A Novel                                                         Neal Stephenson

Vessel                                                                                 Andrew J. Morgan

H2O                                                                                    Irving Belateche

The book of the courtier                                                Baldassarre Castiglione

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci Complete      da Vinci

Godless Nerdistry: Or How to be a Bag of Chem      Dale DeBakcsy

Consider Phlebas (A Culture Novel Book 1)              Iain M. Banks

Fear the Sky (The Fear Saga Book 1)                            Stephen Moss

The Lost Starship (Lost Starship Series Book 1)         Vaughn Heppner

Stars & Empire 2: 10 More Galactic Tales                 Jay Allan

Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales                                Jay Allan

Fluency (Confluence Book 1)                                        Jennifer Foehner Wells

The Road to Hope                                                           Crissi Langwell

Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, Book 3)       Ken Follett

Robogenesis: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)     Daniel H. Wilson

A Burnable Book: A Novel                                            Bruce Holsinger

Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo series)    Hugh Howey

Wool: The Graphic Novel #1 (Silo Saga)                    Hugh Howey

YES                                                                                     Leonard Chance

The Fault in Our Stars                                                     John Green

The Divergent Series Complete Collection: D,I,A     Veronica Roth

The Nostalgist: A Tor.Com Original                            Daniel H. Wilson

Electric Blues (Arty Book 1)                                         Shaun O. McCoy

Ride of the Late Rain (Vergassy Chronicles Bk 1)    James Young

The Pattern Ship (The Pattern Universe Book 1)      Tobias Roote

After Shock: (Lucy Guardino FBI Thrillers Bk 4)     CJ Lyons

The Forgotten Land                                                         Keith McArdle

The First                                                                            Kipjo Ewers

The Princess and the Goblin (Illustrated)   George MacDonald

The Water Babies [with Biographical Intro]             Charles Kingsley

The Shriver Rpt:A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back    Maria Shriver

Wicked Sci-Fi Pulp -From1954 The Real Stuff Ill   Philip K. Dick

10 Lost Vintage Sci-Fi Short-Story Masterpieces      Chet Dembeck

Linked List of over 350 Free SciFi Classics                Morris Rosenthal

Distraction                                                                        Bruce Sterling

Vege Press-Cooker-50 Recipes for Busy People      Maria Holmes

The Seventh Science Fiction MEGAPACK Robert Silverberg

The First Science Fiction MEGAPACK                       Robert Silverberg

The Second Science Fiction Megapack                       Robert Silverberg

The Third Science Fiction MEGAPACK                     Fritz Leiber

The Fourth Science Fiction MEGAPACK                   Isaac Asimov

The Fifth Science Fiction MEGAPACK                      Gardner Dozois

The Sixth Science Fiction MEGAPACK                      Johnston McCulley

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 8 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 7 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 6 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 5 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 4 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 3 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 2 (civitas)     Various

Weird Science Fiction Tales: 101 Vol. 1 (civitas)     Various

The Edmond Hamilton MEGAPACK 16 Tales         Edmond Hamilton

The H. Beam Piper Megapack: 33 Stories                 H. Beam Piper

The Works of Alan E. Nourse  [Illustrated]               Alan E. Nourse

Over the last two and a half years I have read some books—not as many as I would have back in my ‘bookworm prime’, but I still enjoy reading better than almost anything else. The above list is not exact—in the sense that I have not read every book—or every word in every book—just most of them. (Let he who reads every book he buys cast the first stone.) Also, a few of these listed are just Kindle duplicates of books I read long ago, and subsequently re-read as e-books. But by and large my reading list for the past coupla years is fairly represented above.

I could not tell you what most of these books are about. I read them and forget them, as far as details go—if I retain the main concepts and story arcs, I figure I’m doing well. My memory does not work well—I often have trouble, during a big book, keeping things straight as I read—remembering stuff afterwards is a bonus for me. I can re-read a book and get a few chapters in before the sense of familiarity starts to come to me—I’m often disappointed to do that, because the more I read, the more I remember, until I give it up and go looking for a new book. Memory is weird stuff—especially when it’s as dysfunctional as mine.

You’ll notice I mostly read Sci-Fi books. Science Fiction isn’t exactly educational in the strictest sense of the word—that word ‘Fiction’ tells you why. But Sci-Fi does have the advantage of letting science-educated people play with the concepts they were taught—and there is great value in that.

Real math and science are very complex, they’re taught in school (often by uninspired teachers to unwilling students) and they tend to be thought of as rote data. But the sciences are a living thing, growing and changing with every day—and Science Fiction provides a safe space for playing with scientific concepts and ideas, clarifying their meanings and highlighting their possibilities. It can be a thrilling peek at the future or a dire warning to the present—but my favorite aspect of Science Fiction is that it can conjure fantasies about what the human race can become.

And Science Fiction has a strange habit of deciding, every once in a while, to become Fact. It is not so strange that speculation on the future can become prediction—even fortune-tellers get it right sometimes, and Sci-Fi writers have the extra advantage of not talking in general terms, but of extrapolating aspects of real science into stories about where that science might lead. Star Trek once speculated on the idea of hand-held communicators and, lo and behold, we now have I-phones (an actual improvement, since I-phones can do much more than allow conversations between two people). Arthur C. Clarke once wrote a story about a geo-synchronous satellite used for communications—and thus his name appears on the first patent for a communications satellite. I could go on—the historic connection between science and Science Fiction is long and full of anecdotes.

Science Fiction can also lead to greater interest in Science. Among the print books left off the above list are some biographies. Recently, I have read “Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel” (2006) by Rebecca Goldstein and “Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist” (1997) by Albert E. Moyer (which I’m still reading). I’ve also recently read “Henry James: A Life” (1985) by Leon Edel and “Beethoven: The Man Revealed” (2014) by John Suchet. I’ve read James, but truthfully I was intrigued to read his biography when I read, in Henry’s bio, that he was a tutor of the young Henry James in 19th-century Albany, NY. The Beethoven bio was a gift from friends who knew I liked classical music and reading.

So I do have other interests—Sci-Fi is simply my favorite genre. Biographies are great, too—but, being works of intense research, it gets tricky finding someone who can dig up the info and also write well. Biographies can be fun—some historical figures have whole bookshelves of biography written about them—I’ve read three different biographies of Einstein, for example, and learned as much from their differences as I did from their explicit writing.

Sarah Vowell, Barbara Tuchman, Jared Diamond, and Laura Hillenbrand are some of my favorite writers of general history. I’ve also read some lackluster histories by other authors, but I have found that, with biography and historical non-fiction, the lack of literary talent can be balanced out by one’s interest in the subject. I have read some terribly boring books, simply because I was fascinated with the subject matter. Plus, they help me appreciate the really good writers.

In the Gospel of John we are told “the Word was with God and the Word was God”, the word ‘Word’ having been translated from the ancient greek ‘Logos’, which means  “a ground”, “a plea”, “an opinion”, “an expectation”, “word”, “speech”, “account”, “to reason”—later becoming a philosophical term meaning ” a principle of order and knowledge”. Thus Logos has always held a fascination for modern writers and thinkers. The interface between words and meaning is a slippery one. Semiotics become complex. But the struggle between what we mean and what we say (or write) goes on—words may be amorphous, but they’re the best tools we have. And so, this summer, go and get your words on.

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