reply to post by Wang Tang
The majority of my technical and purely informational reading is done online, with the normal exceptions, like biographies, and for example A Brief
History of Time by Stephen Hawking. However, one of my most favoured pastimes is to sit in my room, or on the couch with a book, several cups of
steaming tea, and my imagination set to its most outlandish, and read crime thrillers, action epics, fantasies, science fiction, and the like.
I am also a big fan of comedy, and if a writer combines comedy with any one of the above genres, then I can next to always enjoy it. My working
conditions used to be very isolating in some respects, because for a while I used to run a key cutting concession stand on behalf of the family
business, out of a large DIY store about eleven miles from here. It was a small stand, and I had to be rooted to it, since custom was once thinner on
the ground up there than it is. I became so utterly bored that it actually started killing my brain cells. Their little screams still haunt me to this
So bored did I become, that I started writing a personal log of my time there, going into unnecessary levels of detail about the tedium to
which I was exposed, describing the sound of rain on the metal roof, the rivets which held together the superstructure of the store, the way the
lighting would fail on occasion, making a note of anything and everything, just to pass time. I became extremely introverted while I was there, and
this was not my way.
To cure that, I started taking advantage of the Charity Book stand which was next to my little slice of the action. Thirty of my finest British pence
would get me a book of my choice, and I had a massive appetite for distraction (because there are only so many times you can sweep a clean counter
before you start wanting to insert the dustpan into a passing shopper...slowly). This resulted in my being able to purchase a book of between five and
seven hundred pages at nine in the morning, and have it finished by about four in the afternoon, depending on the number of customers I got, and the
amount of time required to service their needs. That saved my brain from unhealthy levels of introspection, and was hugely helpful in keeping me alert
and ready to greet customers in a cheery manner.
I would read ghost stories, fantasy epic sword and sorcery tales, vast science fiction romps, and spy thrillers, and a boat load else besides, all
while at work. It got to the point where I was reading four hefty tomes a week, and staff at the store would look at me with a mixture of respect and
confusion (because I look like I fell out of the seventies, and never quite recovered, even though I was born in the eighties, and that is not a look
traditionally connected to intelligence and an appreciation for the written word).
The books that have produced the most intense responses from me are:
2001:A Space Odyssey (and indeed every book in that cycle) - Arthur C. Clarke
Songs Of Earth And Power - Greg Bear
Left Hand Of God - Paul Hoffman
The Parsifal Mosaic - Robert Ludlum
The various series of books which have always kept my bloodlust in check:
The Horus Heresy - Published by Black Library , and by various authors (part of the Games Workshop mob).
The Dresden Files - Authored by Jim Butcher
Combat - K - Andy Remic
There are more, but their names are lost beneath the vast pile of cadavers they left in my brain.
The series which have made me chuckle hardest:
The Discworld books - Terry Pratchett
The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Anything by Robert Rankin.