Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Holiday Reading

Nothing like a few hours on an airplane to help me tackle my backlog of unread books sitting on my shelves. This year? Terry Pratchet's "Monstorous Regiment" and Paul Graham's "Hackers and Painters". I read the first on my flight out to visit my parents, and the later on the return. Nice balance really, on my flight out, my mind was laden with thoughts about work, and some light brit comedy was just what the doctor ordered. On the return, I was ready to return to my real life as a computer geek. Five days with just a slow dialup on a shared phone line is hard on an internet junky like me.

Terry Pratchet's novels are far from being a bastion of serious literature. What they are is fun, quick reads. I have read most of what he has written. Some sustain themselves on TV. Me? I choose british humor. Blame my dad, really. I grew up watching brit comedy on the local PBS. Pratchet's writing is easy to read and damn smart at times, with tendency toward quirky plays on the english language that I love.

Paul Graham is what I would tend to call an 'interesting character'. An excellent communicator. Just read his essays on his personal site. He is also obviously intelligent and curious. The kind of person I tend to find most interesting. You might say that most of my good friends fit the definition of a 'Nerd' as he describes it in both his book and the essay on which that chapter is based. I like people who are more interested in doing interesting things, than in having other people think they are interesting. I enjoyed most of his book immensely (it got a little long in the tooth toward the end, I'll admit) partially because I can identify with Graham in a way. He is smarter and more accomplished than I, but the personality behind the writing was one that would likely mesh well with my friends in a casual evening. His book is full of smart observations about being a geek as well as how to leverage that to be successful. Along the way he talks about the economy, 'wealth', childhood hazing, programming languages, and how he helped create a successful startup. Very interesting read.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Pratchett. I hate the fact that they don't sell his books in airport bookstores anymore. I now have to buy them before hand. Maybe we can trade, I have a dozen or so.

-- Dare

3:29 PM  

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