When I was 18, I read Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, and that had a big effect on me. I make myself read it every decade because I get a different perspective every time. It’s a beautiful book.
Maxwell’s masterpiece, which weighs in at a mere 144 pages, contains as much life, range, and depth of emotion as its 1,000-page counterparts. It made me think that what is left unsaid can be as powerful as the words on the page.
A beautifully written novel about a programmer’s attempt to find, fix and vanquish a computer bug or error so elusive that it is given a name: “the Jester”. The protagonist’s quest after this ever-vanishing and reappearing “Heisenbug” becomes a poignant meditation on technology’s effects on humans.
Undoubtedly Morgan’s best-written novel so far, Thirteen is a near-future story of genetic engineering gone badly wrong — a future version of all those classic paranoid political thrillers of the 70’s but with a much harder edge. Highly recommended. Also very helpful re advising on things to think about before booking your next trip back from Mars.
A book I would recommend to an aspiring doctor. It is the best portrayal of sickness and suffering I have ever read — minutely observed, difficult and still true a century and a quarter later.
Even more enlightening than Machiavelli’s The Prince, this book describes power takeovers and social organizations in a chimpanzee colony and argues that power politics is part of the evolutionary heritage that we share with our closest nonhuman relatives. I’ll never look at academic or corporate politics the same way, and I understand their machinations much better for having read this book. Chimps, unlike humans, do not cloak their political pretenses in rhetoric, so we can see more clearly the process at work and thereby learn much about ourselves.
A profoundly strange novel from one of the best — equally compelling to readers of speculative and mainstream fiction. This one still resonates with me, years after I read it.
Frankopan’s history of the Silk Road is a wide-ranging and incisive history of a region that has been and will be incredibly important, economically and culturally, for the world. The ‘re-rise’ of Asia and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative make this an especially timely account.