Book Reviews: HS Nonfiction
This page contains reviews of the books that I read in High School or earlier.
The Nature of the Physical World by Sir Arthur Eddington
Despite its popularity with some, I found this book fairly worthless. It gave very little scientific information, and of the amount that it did give, much was flawed. It was difficult to continue through the whole book as there isn't much of a point being made. It turned out to be too much philosophy to retain my attention. Notes
Wealth Without Risk by Charles Givens
I would advise against reading this book because it is the type of book that is written to sell more than to educate the reader. I read that many finance professionals denounce this book because of its unrealistic expectations of the markets among other reasons. It made it seem very easy to get rich, which may be motivational, but I only believe in motivation coming from realistic expectations.
Telecosm by Douglas R. Hofstadler
Mining the Sky by Douglas R. Hofstadler
An Introduction to Information Theory by J. R. Pierce
A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays by Stephen Hawking
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
How to be Rich by J. Paul Getty
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel
The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley
Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Investing for Dummies by Eric Tyson
Secrets of the Investment All-Stars by Kenneth A. Stern
Sam's Teach Yourself Visual C++ 6 in 21 Days by Davis Chapman
Basic Electronics by Gene McWhorter and Alvis J. Evans
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Book Reviews: HS Fiction
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
An interesting concept, but not one of Crichton's best. It is certainly an entertaining story, but it lacks the intensity and originality of Sphere.
Airframe by Michael Crichton
This is less like science fiction than most Crichton novels, it is more a modern day, real world story. The action is high pace and the story will change your perspective on the lives of some people.
Sphere by Michael Chrichton
For a while, this was my favorite book. It is nice and simple, like most of Chrichton's writing, and it really makes you feel the fear of the characters. There is also much perception-shifting to keep the reader in just as bad a position as the characters. The whole setting of the story in a deep sea tank makes it science fiction, but the sphere concept makes it even more mysterious.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Somehow this book became very popular, despite its simplicity and almost boring plot. The only explanation is that it appeals to ego by portraying a character that is frankly superior to everyone. There is some interesting action throughout the story, but it doesn't achieve its purpose through science fiction, but fantasy more than anything. The ending did evoke some genuine emotion, but was executed poorly so as to not take advantage of the full potential of effect it could have had.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The classic collection of robot stories contains themes of problem solving and robot/human interaction. There are some very clever situations that Asimov dreamt up in this book.
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Reading this book feels like floating silently through an alien world. Its a little different, but still quite inventive. It takes a lot of concentration to stick with it.
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
It is surprising that this book can be so good with such a thin plot. There is almost nothing besides the description of this ships voyage through extreme time and space. However, this is one of the most interesting things to describe so it is really awe-inspiring. It vividly portrays the loneliness and magestic nature of the universe.
Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
This was one of the most fascinating hard science fiction stories I have ever read. It is so intricate that it becomes difficult to visualize the plot all at once, but not because it is obfuscated. There are many excellent ideas that could potentially apply to the real world. All the best stuff in one place!
Manifold: Space by Stephen Baxter
The sequel to Manifold: Time was just as good. The beginning was a little slow, but there were some even more impressive scenes later.
Manifold: Origin by Stephen Baxter
Somehow this one went bad (to my great surprise). The first 90% was simply an adventure story of survival in a strange paleolithic world with a stark absence of the hard SF that made the previous books so good. The ending was fairly interesting, but even that wasn't as good as a random chunk out of another of the books.
Signal to Noise by Eric S. Nylund
Signal to Noise is a great book that mixes illustrations of fantastic technologies with high-paced business world action. The foundation of this plot is excellent, you just have to look past the less than professional writing.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash is a very popular book. It does have some SF, more of a cyberpunk style, but with a twist of etymology and other exotic themes that give it a flavor of its own. Though somewhat slow at times, the book as a whole was enjoyable and intriguing.
Dune by Frank Herbert
This book is definitely not SF. I thought that I should read it considering I heard it was very interesting, but I was extremely bored by it. It turns out that it is political fiction and fantasy. However, I do see why it has become so famous; the amount of creativity in the intricacies of the story is mind-bending (very impressive).
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
This was a really interesting story about computers and a top secret government agency.
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott
I just didn't get this book. It was so boring and pointless I was surprised it was famous.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
This book was given to me as a gift due to its popularity, so I gave it a shot. I thought the plot flowed well and the writing was nice and clear, but I couldn't figure out what was so special that made it so popular. I thought there must be thousands of books like this out there. Maybe I was just overly optimistic about the quality of children's books available. I suppose it wouldn't be far fetched to think that this is one of the best.
Book Reviews: HS Required
1984 by George Orwell
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Psychology by David G. Myers
The Republic by Plato
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien