List5 Books Part 2

II. Books I have suggested recently and tried to get people to read, often unsuccessfully.
1. I have to second American Gods. Traditional ideas vs. the technological age. And Gaiman is just so cool. It would be cool and frightening to be working for a Norse god, and hang out with Egyptian Gods and long forgotten deities of various cultures. I got CRL, who prefers horror & mystery to read Gods and some Gaiman short stories, like “October in the Chair”. She loved it. It’s well worth it.

2. Neal Stephenson, in particular the Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver, the Confusion, and The System of the World.. I like books that make me go to the dictionary and Wikipedia to make sure I know what’s going on. The Cycle is about the Enlightenment and the growth of a monetary system in Europe, and is as much fun as that sounds boring. Issac Newton & Leibniz and the later Stuart Kings (I did my graduate History work on this period) and the Glorious Revolution and Barbary Pirates and…it’s just incredible, and they were all bestsellers. But I have trouble convincing those I hold near and dear to read it. It’s just 3,000 pages or so. C’mon. I think sometimes it was written for me and I should just accept that. But if you’ll just start with Quicksilver, I swear you’ll love it, just like I do…
It would be easier to read Snow Crash, which is incredible near-future neo-libertarian cyberpunk, or The Diamond Age, about neo-Victorians and nanotech, or Cryptonomicom, which is about cryptography, the nature of money, modern data havens,World War II and the Enigma machine. These are all by Stephenson, and great so I usually let people negotiate me down into suggesting these, which are all incredibly brain-expanding, (and not 3,000 pages.)

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