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Tue, Oct. 10th, 2006, 04:29 pm
Book Month!!

How could I not have known it was Book Month!!

In celebration, I’ll ask a question gacked from Creating Passionate Users (an awesome blog, by the way): what’s a book you wish everyone would read?

She’s got rules, like one fiction and one non-fiction book, but this is my blog and we do things my way!  You’re welcome to list as many books as you like, as long as you provide an explanation (silly, serious, whatever) about why you think that everyone should read the books you’re listing.

Me, if I don’t keep it to strict limits, I’ll be sitting here all day - so I’ll go with one fiction, one non-fiction, that I read this year.

For my fiction pick, I’d choose Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds, along with its sequels Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap.  (Ha!  See?  Three recommendations in one!)  This far-future nanopunk space opera trilogy is fantastic reading, with a plot that won’t let you put it down and surprising choices at every turn.  But the reason why I think everyone should read it is because Reynolds is a master at putting his characters in unpalatable situations where sticky moral decisions are pretty much a necessity.  In an age where black-and-white thinking seems to govern much of our public discourse, a novel that dramatizes the bad things good people are pushed to (and vice versa) under the right circumstances seems important to me.

For my non-fiction, once I put aside anything I’ve read for school, the choice pretty much made itself: Linda Hirshman’s Get to Work.   This self-admitted manifesto is a quick read - only 92 pages - but an incredibly powerful analysis of the cultural forces pushing women to make certain apparently “personal” choices, and the consequences that those choices are having both for individual women and for the feminist cause as a whole.  Her discussion of why economic theorists seem blind to the economic bargains made within a marriage is brief, incisive and more or less mind-blowing.  Even better, she includes specific life prescriptions to help women avoid painting themselves into a corner.  Whenever I wake up wanting to throw up my hands at all the work I have to do, Hirshman makes me happy that I’ve got meaningful work, the opportunity to exercise my genius, and the chance to live a morally and personally productive life.

Your turn now!