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Bibliomania - Cliff Pickover: My Favorite Books

I've published over 40 books, but I should tell you about some of my favorite books of other authors.

As we travel through life, there are certain books that mold and remold us, and though we may not have read the books for a long time, we remain, nonetheless their work. No book ever crosses the path of our destiny without leaving some mark upon it forever.

Sometimes books influence our beliefs or imbue us with so much knowledge that our intellect is forever shaped. More important to me are those books that provide a mystic transport to another reality. Equally important are those books that give pure druglike pleasure and relaxation, allowing us to escape reality in times of stress. Whether they are profoundly philosophical or provide an endless adventure, books provide us with a means and system to leave the prison of our aloneness and enter alternate worlds of infinite possibility.

What does a person's favorite books tell us about that person?

Codes: F=fiction, N=nonfiction, R2="read the book twice over my lifetime", R3="read the book three times during my life", A=autobiography, Y="I read this when I was young; it would be interesting to determine if I would find it as valuable today as when I first read it."

Below are my favorite books, in order of preference:

Cliff Pickover

    My favorite novel of all time is....

    Number of the Beast, by Robert Heinlein (F, R7): this is also my most reread book. Please psychoanalyze me and tell me why it is my favorite novel. Of course, I did enjoy the adventure, genius characters, the parallel universes, the love, and the wit. However, I could not finish the book the first 3 times I tried, and you also wont be able to finish it your first time. That's OK: It gives you a chance to try again later in your life.

    People either love this book or hate it. Personally, I enjoy underlining words in the book that we don't understand, and then I look them up.... Words like "amphigory" or "Deja Thoris" or "Kilkenny cat" etc.... You can learn a lot by doing this. In this way, you can make the adventure of reading this book before bed a supreme learning experience. Every time I reread it, and I will continued to do so, I learn something new. Tell me what you learned.

    I do think it was bold that Heinlein ends with an insane chapter most humans can't understand. There is probably not a human on this planet that understands every reference in that final, diffuse chaotic-fragmentation chapter. It is this boldness throughout the book (which most writers could never get away with because readers would think an author had lost his mind), that I enjoyed! How could Heinlein be so bold and daring?

    And the book is also about love. And adventure, with a vague backdrop of lurking danger. Also, notice how Heinlein says so little about the surroundings. It starts at a California party. I see it in my mind. The pool. The leaves on the trees. The musicians. The dancing. But Heinlein's magic is that he says almost NOTHING about the party, yet your brain fills in the gaps, and you see it anyway. How does he do that?

    Jack Kirwan wrote in the National Review that the novel is "about two men and two women in a time machine safari through this and other universes. But describing The Number of the Beast thus is like saying Moby Dick is about a one-legged guy trying to catch a fish." He goes on to say that Heinlein celebrates the "competent person."

    Here are the remainder of my favorite books:

    1. Permutation City by Greg Egan (F, R2) Worth rereading!
    2. The comic-strip volumes of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past by Stephane Heuet (N, R5). Worth reading, over and over again!
    3. Diaspora by Greg Egan (F, R2)
    4. Passage, Connie Willis (F)
    5. Shibumi, Trevanian (F)
    6. Job, Robert Heinlein (F, R3)
    7. He Who Shrank, Henry Hasse (F, R3)
    8. The Story of Mankind, Hendrik Willem van Loon (N, R3)
    9. I. Asimov, Isaac Asimov (A)
    10. The Mist, Stephen King (F, R2)
    11. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert Heinlein (F, R2, Y)
    12. Time Enough for Love, Robert Heinlein (F,Y)
    13. The Magus, John Fowles (F)
    14. Revelation, W. A. Harbinson (F)
    15. Birdy, William Wharton (F)
    16. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig (F/N,Y)
    17. Image of the Beast, Philip Jose Farmer (F, R2)
    18. The 100: A Ranking of the 100 Most Influence People in History, Michael Hart (N)
    19. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould (N)
    20. The Truth Machine by James Halperin (F)
    21. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Einstein's Universe by Gary F. Moring (N)
    22. Queen of the Damned, Anne Rice (F)
    23. Memnoch the Devil, Anne Rice (F)
    24. Why I am Not Christian, Bertrand Russell (N)
    25. Venus on the Half Shell, Kilgore Trout (F,Y)
    26. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke (F,Y)

    I'm totally insane (in a good way) about this series of graphic guides to science.

    In terms of pure mind-boggling concepts, such as higher dimensions, imaginative alien life, and the future of humanity, I'd say that Diaspora by Greg Egan is my favorite book in this department. I also found that The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle had many valuable lessons. I'm also a fan of the author Chuck Palahnuik.

    For a wonderful book on Einstein and some ramifications of his strange theories, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Einstein's Universe by Gary F. Moring is great.

    . The following book series are among my favorites: George Chesbro (Mongo and Veil series, F), Jack Chalker (Well of Souls series, F,Y), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Martian series, F,Y), Richard Marcinko (Rogue Warrior series, N/F).

    Notes: The Mist is a novella in Dark Forces, edited by Kirby McCauly. He Who Shrank is a novella in Famous Science Fiction Stores: Adventures in Time and Space, edited by Raymond Healy and J. Frances McComas. Number of the Beast drags towards the end, but the beginning is especially interesting and exciting.

    As for music, how can you beat: The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt or Ashes are Burning by Renaissance?

    Cliff Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University, is the author of twenty books (fiction and nonfiction) with translations in six languages, and is associate editor of numerous journals.

    If you would like me to publish your own "Top Ten" list of books, please send me your list formatted in html, as above, and also send a one or two line biographical sketch. Feel free to take the source of this page to help you format your own list for inclusion on this page.

    Here are some words I learned while reading Heinlein's Number of the Beast

    Amphigory - nonsensical writing

    Harridan - A strict, bossy, or belligerent old woman

    Jirel of Joiry is a fictional character created by American writer C. L. Moore, who appeared in a series of sword and sorcery stories published first in the pulp horror/fantasy magazine Weird Tales. Jirel is the proud, tough, arrogant and beautiful ruler of her own domain—apparently somewhere in medieval France. Her adventures continually involve her in dangerous brushes with the supernatural.

    Cooper’s Droop – The Cooper’s ligaments stretch causing the breasts to sag. This is sometimes referred to as Cooper’s droop. Myth has it that if a woman could hold a pencil under her breast, she has Cooper’s droop.

    Moloch – is the name of an ancient Semitic god, in particular a god of the Phoenicians, and the name of a particular kind of child sacrifice associated with that god. Moloch was historically affiliated with cultures throughout the Middle East, including the Ammonite, Hebrew, Canaanite, Phoenician and related cultures in North Africa and the Levant. In modern English usage, "Moloch" can refer derivatively to any person or thing which demands or requires costly sacrifices.

    Messalina – Valeria Messalina (c. 17/20 – 48) was a Roman empress as the third wife of the Emperor Claudius. She was also a paternal cousin of the Emperor Nero, second cousin of the Emperor Caligula, and great-grandniece of the Emperor Augustus. A powerful and influential woman with a reputation for promiscuity, she conspired against her husband and was executed when the plot was discovered.

    Pied-à-terre - a small living unit usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual's primary residence. It may be an apartment or condominium. The term pied-à-terre implies usage as a temporary second residence, either for part of the year or part of the work week, by a person of some means.

    Baksheesh - a term used to describe tipping, charitable giving, and certain forms of political corruption and bribery in the Middle East and South Asia. Leo Deuel sardonically described baksheesh as "lavish remuneration and bribes, rudely demanded but ever so graciously accepted by the natives in return for little or no services rendered.

    Beulahland – Beulah Land is a well-known gospel hymn written by Edgar Page Stites (1836–1921) in either 1875 or 1876. The hymn, Stites' most popular, is set to music written by John R. Sweney (1837–1899). The hymn concludes with O Beulah land, sweet Beulah land: My heaven, my home forever more. Isaiah 62:4 the return of the Jews from their exile in Babylon in which the Jews shall no longer be called Forsaken, but Hephzibah (My Delight Is in Her), and Jerusalem shall no longer be called Desolate, but Beulah (Married). This implies that the Jews have turned back to the worship of God. The universe in which the crew of the Gay Deceiver settled briefly, looking for a safe place to have their babies. It was pastoral, libertarian, and mostly very dull. The history was slightly different from the crew's homeworld: There was no slavery, but much indenture; and sometime in the 16th century the oceans had risen considerably, changing the coastlines and much of the political situation.

    Codpiece -- a covering flap or pouch that attaches to the front of the crotch of men's trousers and usually accentuates the genital area.

    Retroussé - Turned up at the end. Used of the nose.

    Lysistrata - one of the few surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BCE, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War. Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace — a strategy, however, that inflames the battle between the sexes.

    Laplap - a waistcloth or loincloth worn in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. This item of clothing has three parts: a front flap, a back flap, and a thread to tie them around the waist. The sides are generally open. How much is covered by the front and back flaps varies.

    Kalend –first days of each month of the Roman calendar. The Romans assigned these calends to the first day of the month, signifying the start of the new moon cycle. On that day, the pontiffs would announce at the Curia Calabra the rest days for the upcoming month, and the debtors had to pay off their debts that were inscribed in the calendaria, a sort of accounts book.

    Paskoodnyahk – (paskudnyak) Yiddish insult. THE most potent and offensive insult known to man. it has so much connotation that cannot be truly defined that the closest you can come to its meaning is "horrible person". no other definition has the meaning, and there is no way to convey how powerful that word is. Use with caution.

    Gilbreth - Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878 – January 2, 1972) was an American psychologist and industrial engineer. One of the first working female engineers holding a Ph.D., she is arguably the first true industrial/organizational psychologist. She and her husband Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Sr. were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering in fields such as motion study and human factors.

    Neutra - Richard Joseph Neutra (April 8, 1892 – April 16, 1970) is considered one of modernism's most important architects.

    Noblesse oblige – One must act in a fashion that conforms to one's position, and with the reputation that one has earned. Noble ancestry constrains to honorable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility

    Hypergolic -- substances that ignite or explode on contact (without needing an external aid such as a spark). Hypergolic substances are used as rocket fuel and explosives.

    Praxiteles -- Praxiteles of Athens, the son of Cephisodotus the Elder, was the most renowned of the Attic sculptors of the 4th century BC. He was the first to sculpt the nude female form in a life-size statue. A supposed relationship between Praxiteles and his beautiful model

    Kilkenny cats -- anyone who is a tenacious fighter. An old story about two cats who fought to the death and ate each other up such that only their tails were left.

    Hetaerae -- In ancient Greece, hetaerae were courtesans, that is to say, highly educated, sophisticated companions close to what is for the modern times the geishas. They are often wrongly confused as prostitutes, due to having open, but unpaid sexual relations.

    Rapscallions -- A mischievous person: "they were the rapscallions behind this practical joke"

    obstipate – to constipate severely

    floccinaucinihilipilification is the second longest word in the English language. It means an estimation of something as worthless. See also: floccinaucinihilipilificatrix.

    You'll also find lots of names to study in the book, as in one of Heinlein's sentences: "You sound like Whorf debating Korzybski with Shannon as referee. ... It won't take him long to decide that I'm not Lobachevski."

    My Colleagues Favorite Books

    Stephanie Herman

    1. Henderson, the Rain King, Saul Bellow(F, R3)
    2. The Road Less Travelled, M. Scott Peck (N, R3)
    3. Cruel Shoes, Steve Martin (F, R3)
    4. Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver (F, R2)
    5. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman (F, R2)
    6. The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Allan Gurganus (F)
    7. Farenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (F)
    8. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers (F)
    9. The Secret History, Donna Tartt (F)
    10. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis (N)
    11. Fried Green Tomatoes, Fannie Flagg (F)
    12. The De-Valuing of America, William Bennett (N)
    13. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tom Robbins (F)
    14. Writers Dreaming, Naomi Epel (N)
    15. Who Stole Feminism?, Christina Hoff Sommers (N)
    Stephanie Herman is a critically-aclaimed conservative writer and non-feminist who is fascinated by the connections between math, language, science and art.

    Craig Becker, one man who's opinions I highly value, gives his own science-fiction list.

    From Larissa:

    How'd you guess: I LOVE to read, to a near-excessive degree. I'll mention some books in this note that I'd guess you might find stimulating. In general, my own most transporting moments haven't been sparked by reading, however, so I don't feel qualified to recommend any books specifically for that kind of insight or experience. I think the mental state that can use literature for as a departure to transcendence, can also use other stimuli encountered in daily life. The most mystical connections I have ever made have stemmed from earthly/earthy, sensual experience.

    Also, I am assuming that anything I as a non-scientific layperson could have read on the subjects of chaos, computers, fractals, or mathematics, you will have read or could have written, so I won't mention such entertaining books.

    That said, the following books occurred to me as some you might enjoy arguing with. Let me know if any of them were what you had in mind, and how you liked any you read!

    Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress. The novella won a Nebula in 1991; there is a novel-length version, too, that I did not read. This is a story about, among other things, people who do not need to sleep and so have that much more time to learn, work, create, find connections...and how much "normal" people hate and fear them. I wish I could "sleep less to live more," as Napoleon said!* Your chapter on The Human Mind Questionnaire, with its super-IQs and hyper-IQs, reminded me of this favorite story.

    A Beautiful Mind : A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar. Another Genius!

    Seeing Voices : A Journey into the World of the Deaf , by Oliver Sacks. This is a collection of three essays Sacks wrote over time on deafness and the perception and brains of the deaf; how signing changes the shape of the visual areas of the cortex in the deaf and hearing alike, and how this can affect creativity, cognition, perception and learning. Neurology, especially as it pertains to perception or language, is always fascinating, and I enjoy all of Dr. Sacks' books, books by or about Dr. Ramachandra, and so on.

    The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. This is an exciting story about the compilation of a disctionary! THE dictionary: the OED. And one of its major contributors, Dr. W.C. Minor, a murderer living in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.

    Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic: The Psychological Genesis of Violence, Evil, and Creativity, by Stephen A. Diamond and Rollo May Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian L. Weiss. This is the only deliberately mystical book I've read lately, on the recommendation of a programmer I was working with. The best part was arguing with my friend about the book, and why we want to believe in reincarnation, afterlife, alien allies, guardian angels...I pretty much take the standard Jewish position that, "We don't pretend to know, and living in this world, on Earth, is miracle, challenge to understanding, and work enough for a very full lifetime," but speculating is fun and fascinating. Here is a summary of the Amazon Books review: "Psychiatry and metaphysics blend together in this fascinating book based on a true case history. Dr. Weiss, who was once firmly entrenched in a clinical approach to psychiatry, finds himself reluctantly drawn into past-life therapy when a hypnotized client suddenly reveals details of her previous lives."

    Who is Fourier? A Mathematical Adventure, by the Transnational College of Lex (Japan), in the English translation offered by the Language Research Foundation. This is interesting not as a way to play with FFTs, but because it was written by laypeople with no particular mathematical ability or education, who decided to approach mathematics strictly as a "language." The introduction to the book and the group is fun, and different from the way math and language are usually taught here.

    Lois Greenfield's photography and Scott Kim's visual palindromes. I have another book, I believe by Douglas Hofstadter, on visual palindromes, but the friend I lent it to must like it, because it's still out!

    Anything by James Burke, but especially his Connections video series from twenty years ago. This is fun science history and biography, with Burke's conclusions on social consequence quietly bundled in for a bonus. His most recent book, as far as I know (1995), is The Axemaker's Gift, for which his co-author is Robert Ornstein, director of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge in Los Altos. The Institute sounds to me like a place where you would be at home!

    The Monkey's Wrench, by Primo Levi. If you like engineering as well as science, this is a good novelette that captures the blessed feeling of loving your work and being good at it, and the joy of figuring things out.

    Artistry of the Mentally Ill : A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration , by Hans Prinzhorn, et al.

    Creativity & Madness : Psychological Studies of Art and Artists, by Barry Panter, Bernard Virshup

    Depression and the Spiritual in Modern Art : Homage to Miro, by Joseph J. Schildkraut, Aurora Otero

    Mania: Clinical and Research Perspectives, by Paul J. Goodnick, MD

    Cognitive Psychology and Emotional Disorders, Wiley Publishing's Series in Clinical Psychology

    What I like to read: Anything, especially literature, popular science and science history/biography, music, science fiction, history, linguistic and cognitive theory, wordplay, puzzles and games, reference materials (particularly on language and "trivia," like the Cecil Adams books or dictionaries of unusual words), folklore and urban legendry, historical folklore, folk wisdom, and folktales (especially Yiddish folks). I have a thing for text as art, and the elusive quality of light as expressed through color, so I find illuminated manuscripts and old maps, and the obvious artists, wonderful.

    *(My high school boyfriend was taken with the idea, too, and actually trained himself to sleep four hours less each night. Last I knew of him, he had kept his sleep at that level for a few years with no apparent harm. Sleep is such a pleasure, and dreams a source of insight, creative connections, visualizations and even wordplay, that I don't want to give it up completely; I'd like to reach about 65% less sleep.)

    From Dale:

    For the record, here are my Top Ten Books and Movies: Top Ten Movies
    (1) The Godfather - Mario Puzo (F)
    (2) King Rat - James Clavell (F)
    (3) Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury (F)
    (4) Hell House - Richard Matheson (F)
    (5) Interview With The Vampire - Anne Rice (F)
    (6) My Sixty Memorable Games - Bobby Fischer (NF)
    (7) Grammatical Man - Jeremy Campbell (NF)
    (8) Programming & Metaprogramming In The Human
    Biocomputer - John C. Lilly (NF)
    (9) Journeys Out Of The Body - Robert Monroe (NF)
    (10) Music, The Brain & Ecstacy - Robert Jourdain (NF)

    Top Ten Movies

    (1) King Kong - 1933
    (2) Island Of Lost Souls - 1933
    (3) War Of The Worlds - 1953
    (4) Forbidden Planet - 1956
    (5) Invasion Of The Body Snatchers - 1956
    (6) Jaws - 1975
    (7) Alien - 1979
    (8) Apocalpyse Now - 1979
    (9) Dreamscape - 1984
    (10) Nightmare On Elm Street - 1984

    From Donna:

    Nonfiction: Laurens Van Der Post: The Heart of the Lonely Hunter
    Admiral Byrd: Alone
    Oliver Sacks: Awakenings
    Dalai Lama: Autobiography
    Aung San Suu Kyi: Letters from Burma
    M. Scott Peck: The Road Less Traveled

    Fiction: Antoine de Saint Exupery: Wind, Sand and Stars
    Louisa May Alcott: Little Women series
    Victor Hugo: Les Miserables
    Chaim Potok: All of his books
    Pearl S. Buck: Letter from Peking

    The above sort of moves a person's soul. A thought provoking one is: James Michener: The Covenent

    From Nandor: I've read some key book multiple times. My tallies below, sadly enough. I'm sure you'll be able to read too much into my psyche, but here we go. All spellings and numbers of books are from memory (are there 14 John Carter books, or only 12? I forget)

    2 times:
    The 5 books in the Riverworld sequence, Philip Jose Farmer
    The 14 books in the John Carter sequence, Edgar Rice Burroughs
    The Handmaid's Tale, Margret Attwood
    3 times:
    The Bible straight through
    The 8 books in the Well World sequence, Jack Chalker
    V for Vendetta, Alan Moore
    The Watchmen, Alan Moore
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain
    4 times:
    The 14 books in Asimov's robots, empire, and foundation sequence
    The 4 books in the Wrinkle In Time books, Madeline L'Engle
    Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
    Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
    The 5 books in the Prydain Chronicles, Lloyd Alexander
    The 3 books in the space trilogy of CS Lewis
    5-10 times:
    The 5 books in the Hitchhiker's Guide sequence, Douglas Adams
    The 3 books in The Pendragon Cycle, Stephen R. Lawhead
    10-20 times:
    Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
    Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
    The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
    20-30 times:
    The 5 books in The Dark is Rising sequence, Susan Cooper
    The Book of Job from the Bible
    About 50 times:
    Each of the 4 Gospels and Acts
    And the worst of all: I've read The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien exactly 57 times. Yes, I kept track (starting about 20 years ago). I read it for the first time in fourth grade (so I must have been about 9 years old). I read it for the 50th time just before the release of the first movie in 2001 (when I was 29). Yes, there was even one year where I read it four times (my sophomore year of college, when my girlfriend was at an exchange semester at another college). Yes, I've read through four different sets of the books and had to throw them away due to wear and tear (no, I didn't hold burials of the remains). Yes, I shed a tear every time I read that Samwise puts Elanor on his lap and tells his wife "Well, I'm back." What can I say? I'm a loser. But I LOVE that book!

    From Lon:

    I've read a number of books several times:

    Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, 3 times

    Outer Dark, by Cormac McCarthy, twice

    Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut, at least half a dozen times

    Water Music, by T.C. Boyle, twice

    The Road To Wellville, Boyle, twice

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson, at least half a dozen times The Double Helix, by James Watson, about three or four times

    From Eva:

    I reread a lot of books I have liked. I have always done so, and I didn't realise that was unusual until relatively recently. I enjoy it--it's like visiting with an old friend, and I usually don't reread until the details of the plot have grown sufficiently fuzzy in my memory for me to enjoy them all over again. It's less tense, too, than an initial reading--I feel no need to hurry to the ending, to find out what happens, to see if beloved character so-and-so survives the plot. Wordplay, imagery or phrasing I might have loved, dialogue that might have moved me--I get to enjoy it again, in a more leisurely fashion. I often notice details and foreshadowing that I missed the first time around, too.

    Upon rereading the above ;), I note the 'old friend' comparison--to be honest, when I was younger, especially, I didn't have a lot of those. Friends, that is (as opposed to... er, comparisons :). We moved around a fair bit, so I suppose that's part of it. I really lost myself in books, and I still do.

    Sometimes I just reread books because I haven't any new ones to read, but usually it's for the sheer pleasure of revisiting the stories.

    From Mike Blailock:

    1. The Chronicles of Doodah , George Lee Walker
    2. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
    3. Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
    4. Freethinkers, Susan Jacoby
    5. PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, Simson Garfinkel
    6. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
    7. The Gift of Tears, Frank J. Mountford
    8. Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative, David Roberts
    9. Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?, Molly Ivins
    10. Dictionary of Philosophy And Religion, W.L. Reese

    Mike Blailock, critically unacclaimed, has spent time on Earth as an alter boy, musician, college student, dishwasher, marine, pipelayer, senior systems engineer (computer programmer), mountain climber, skydiver, motorcyclist, stagehand and truck driver. He has waltzed with the suits and run with the tough guys. Nobody cares about any of this but it's fun for me to recollect. The point is to turn someone on to a book they may not have read and hopefully they enjoy. Ciao!

    From John McHugh:

    Here are my top ten books chosen for the frequency by which I return to them rather than their actual merit. I am a physics PhD dropout, musician, artist, runner and full time fry cook. There is no order to the ranking.

    1. Claudius, Robert Graves
    2. Stephen Hero, James Joyce
    3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
    4. Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein
    5. The Iliad, Homer
    6. The Annals of Imperial Rome, Tacitus
    7. The Analects, Confucius
    8. The Book of the Courtier, Castiglione
    9. At the Mountains of Madness, HP Lovecraft
    10. Flatland, Abbot

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