I’ve got a serious problem when it comes to books… I like them alot. I admittedly wasn’t always like this, when I was in school I hated reading anything other than non-fiction.
Then a friend gave me a .txt file of William Gibson’s – Neuromancer on disk of all things and it changed my life…
I will be forever indebted to my friend Warren, who gave me a copy of Neuromancer which I promptly read on my computer almost all the way through in a 48hour marathon session. It suddenly showed me that there were authors out there who actually wrote cool books and it was from then on that I was hooked. I read all the William Gibson books I could find… and really enjoyed books like “Pattern Recognition” which I bought a copy of and read in a day… and twice since then. I then discovered Neal Stephenson and his Cryptonomicon which kept me busy for weeks as it told it’s story of a guy breaking codes in world war two and his grandson doing cryptography in our time… it was an awesome story and got me interested in finding out more about the Enigma code and machines and about code breaking in world war 2. An unexpected trip to Jo’burg made me make a rushed 24hour delivery purchase on Kalarhari.net of a bunch of books one of which was a book called “Singularity Sky – by Charles Stross” a very cool book that’s set in the future but is full of believable tech. What was interesting was to later discover that Charles was a computer programmer before he became a writer. Then while killing time in an airport in Jo’burg I found a copy of another of his books “Iron Sunrise” which was also awesome and carried on the stories from his other book.
My taste in books varies from sci-fi and cyber punk to murder mysteries and “who dunits” I’ve read both good and bad books.. and own a few non-fiction books like “A Briefer History of Time” and “The Elegant Universe”. I love non-fiction books that tell you more about something.. that fill in your gaps of knowlegde of space, science, technology and people. I have very few computer books as I tend to read to escape the world that I spend most of my time in.
I love books that make you think, that are cleverly written. I’m not too interested in been scared witless or been brought to tears by a story. I want to be entertained and ideally learn something new along the way. Most of my favorite authors I’ve listed above, most of them are “sci-fi” authors but I think that’s mostly because they write about things that make you think. When buying books I tend to buy an equal number of fiction and non-fiction books, if you look over my list of books I own you’ll see what I mean it’s rather a balanced list with the non-fiction side mostly covering cryptography and science and technology.
PS: I really enjoy reading Charles Stross’s website – Charlie’s Place it gives you great examples of what his books are like to read.