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