Books I Have Read

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Books I Have Read and Recommend:

The Cat of Bubastes : A Tale of Ancient Egypt By G. A. Henty
Enslaved by a conquering army, the young prince Amuba finds friendship in the house of an Egyptian high priest, where he acts as a companion to the priest's son Chebron. The entire household plunges into peril when Chebron accidentally kills the sacred cat of the great temple at Bubastes--a riot ensues, and the boys are forced to flee. Set in 1250 b.c., the time of Moses, this thrilling adventure story offers an evocative look at the ancient Egyptian world. Skillfully interwoven in the narrative thread are fascinating, accurate details about Egyptian religion and geography, the methods by which the Nile was used for irrigation, and how the Egyptians made war and were prepared for burial.

Deception Point By Dan Brown
When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory, a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery, a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the President, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a deadly team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

The Egyptologist By Arthur Phillips
Critically acclaimed author Arthur Phillips won the L.A. Times First Fiction Prize for his debut novel, Prague, which landed on top 10 lists across America and was a New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune best seller. In The Egyptologist, Phillips displays his gift for brilliantly constructed, labyrinthine stories infused with imaginative wit.
Howard Carter has just made one of the great discoveries of all time, the unveiling of Tutankhamun's tomb. At the same time, Egyptologist Ralph Trilipush finds himself in a slightly less spectacular position. He has staked everything on a scrap of hieroglyphic pornography. Halfway around the world, an Australian detective sets off on a globetrotting quest to find a murderer. Or two. Or three. These events, seemingly unrelated, are about to collide in a spectacular yet utterly unpredictable fashion.

God's Equation : Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe by AMIR D. ACZEL
The product of research around the globe and interviews with dozens of prominent scientists, God's Equation discusses the latest developments in cosmology, the study of the nature of the universe. Using Einstein and his theories to explain the links between relativity and cosmology via Einstein's "cosmological constant," Aczel tells us it is almost as though Einstein were God's mouthpiece, revealing the most fundamental truths about our larger environment, truths scientists are just now confirming. And yet Aczel reveals a side of Einstein - the man - no one else has brought to light. Aczel is the first to have translated certain letters of Einstein, in private hands until recently. These letters cast a new spin on Einstein's relationship with other scientists and his early efforts to prove his revolutionary theory that a strong gravitational force will make light bend.

Angels and Demons By Dan Brown
An ancient secret brotherhood. A devastating new weapon of destruction. An unthinkable target...

World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization - the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth...the long-forgotten Illuminati lair.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, a baffling cipher found near the body. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, sort through the bizarre riddle, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci - clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter. The stakes are raised when Langdon uncovers a startling link: the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion - an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. Langdon suspects they are on the hunt for a breathtaking historical secret, one that has proven through the centuries to be as enlightening as it is dangerous. In a frantic race through Paris, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu find themselves matching wits with a faceless powerbroker who appears to anticipate their every move. Unless they can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle, the Priory's secret - and an explosive ancient truth -will be lost forever.

The Demon in the Freezer by RICHARD PRESTON
The first major bioterror event in the United States - the anthrax attacks in October 2001 - was a clarion call for scientists who work with "hot" agents to find ways of protecting civilian populations against biological weapons. In The Demon in the Freezer, Richard Preston takes us into the heart of USAMRIID, the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland.  Peter Jahrling, the top scientist at USAMRIID, has ORCON security clearance that gives him access to top-secret information of bioweapons. His most urgent priority is to develop a drug that will take on smallpox - and win. Eradicated from the planet in 1979, the smallpox virus now resides, officially, in only two high-security freezers - at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, and in Siberia, at a Russian virology institute called Vector. But the demon in the freezer has been set loose. It is almost certain that illegal stocks are in the possession of hostile states, including Iraq and North Korea. Jahrling is haunted by the thought that biologists in secret labs are using genetic engineering to create a new superpox virus, a smallpox resistant to all vaccines. USAMRIID went into a state of Delta Alert on September 11 and activated its emergency response teams when the first anthrax letters were opened in New York and Washington, D.C. Preston reports, in unprecedented detail, on the government's response to the attacks and takes us into the ongoing FBI investigation. His story is based on interviews with top-level FBI agents and with Dr. Steven Hatfill.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality by Brian Greene
Space and time form the very fabric of the cosmos. Yet they remain among the most mysterious of concepts. Is space an entity? Why does time have a direction? Could the universe exist without space and time? Can we travel to the past? Greene uses these questions to guide us toward modern science's new and deeper understanding of the universe. From Newton's unchanging realm in which space and time are absolute, to Einstein's fluid conception of spacetime, to quantum mechanics' entangled arena where vastly distant objects can bridge their spatial separation to instantaneously coordinate their behavior or even undergo teleportation, Greene reveals our world to be very different from what common experience leads us to believe. Focusing on the enigma of time, Greene establishes that nothing in the laws of physics insists that it run in any particular direction and that "time's arrow" is a relic of the universe's condition at the moment of the big bang. And in explaining the big bang itself, Greene shows how recent cutting-edge developments in superstring and M-theory may reconcile the behavior of everything from the smallest particle to the largest black hole. This startling vision culminates in a vibrant eleven-dimensional "multiverse," pulsating with ever-changing textures, where space and time themselves may dissolve into subtler, more fundamental entities. Sparked by the trademark wit, humor, and brilliant use of analogy, Brian Greene takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on an irresistible and revelatory journey to the new layers of reality that modern physics has discovered lying just beneath the surface of our everyday world.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
In A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson takes his ultimate journey - into the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It's a dazzling quest, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. To that end, Bill Bryson apprenticed himself to a host of the world's most profound scientific minds, living and dead. His challenge is to take subjects like geology, chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people, like himself, made bored (or scared) stiff of science by school. On his travels through space and time, Bill Bryson encounters a splendid gallery of the most fascinating personalities ever to ask a hard question. In their company, he undertakes a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge. Science has never been more involving, and the world we inhabit has never been more full of wonder and delight.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Clare and Henry have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six. They were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing. Clare and Henry's story unfolds from both points of view, depicting the effects of time travel on their marraige and their passionate love for each other. They attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals: steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
This is the new near-future SF thriller from the popular and award-winning Robert J. Sawyer. An alien shuttle craft lands outside the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. A six-legged, two-armed alien emerges, who says, in perfect English, "Take me to a paleontologist." It seems that Earth, and the alien's home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling on the alien mother ship, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at about the same time (one example of these "cataclysmic events" would be the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). Both alien races believe this proves the existence of God. God has obviously been playing with the evolution of life on each of these planets. From this provocative launch point, Sawyer tells a fast-paced, and morally and intellectually challenging, SF story that just grows larger and larger in scope. This evidence of God's existence is not universally well received on Earth, nor even immediately believed. And it reveals nothing of God's nature. In fact, it poses more questions than it answers. When a supernova explodes out in the galaxy but close enough to wipe out life on all three homeworlds, the big question is, Will God intervene or is this the sixth cataclysm?

 

The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Baxter

The Light of Other Days follows a soulless tech billionaire (sort of an older, more crotchety Bill Gates), a soulful muckraking journalist, and the billionaire's two (separated since birth) sons. It's 2035, and all four hold ringside seats at the birth of a new paradigm-destroying technology, a system of "WormCams," harnessing the power of wormholes to see absolutely anyone or anything, anywhere, at any distance (even light years away). As if that weren't enough, the sons eventually figure out how to exploit a time-dilation effect, allowing them to use the holes to peer back in time.
Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer
UFO abductions, television psychics, paranormal phenomena, skeptics and believers alike, find themselves debating truths and lies in the strange web of pseudoscience and the occult. With everyday normal life moving too fast to comprehend, people are turning to the bizarre and wacky for comfort. Now, director of the Skeptics Society Michael Shermer explores the very human reasons why we find other worldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. The eternal search for meaning and spiritual fulfillment leads us astray by extraordinary claims and controversial ideas, particularly those in the realms of superstition and the supernatural. This celebrates the scientific spirit and the joy to be found in rationally exploring the world's greatest mysteries.

Back to the Moon by Homer Hickam
The space shuttle Columbia has been hijacked by an ex-astronaut and former employee of NASA, Jack Medaris. But Jack is by no means the bad guy--he has simply grown disillusioned with NASA, with its "timid" bureaucracy that no longer works for the good of mankind. Earth's supply of fuel is in jeopardy, and Jack believes that the moon holds the secrets of an alternative source of power. But a shady organization called the Millennium group is determined to stop the space shuttle from reaching the moon. As the shuttle hurtles through the galaxy, the renegade astronaut battles to steer the ship towards its destination. He also fights to keep himself from falling in love with one of the ship's crew members--a feisty female astronaut named Penny High Eagle.

Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward
Only the cheela can survive on Dragon's Egg, a neutron star with surface gravity sixty-seven billion times that of earth's--but when a monstrous starquake strikes, human astronauts must abandon them or die saving the cheela from extinction. Reissue

Einstein's Bridge by John Cramer 
physicist-author Cramer's latest hard science fiction yarn (Twistor, 1989) begins in an alternate "bubble'' universe where the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) project didn't collapse through lack of funding in the 1990s. Instead, in 2004, the search for the elusive Higgs boson begins--but the operation of the SSC inadvertently sends a signal into another bubble universe, this inhabited by the malignant and utterly ruthless Hive, who colonize new universes by completely obliterating the competition. Fortunately, the benevolent Makers also receive the signal and send a message back alerting Earth to the danger. Cramer splendidly demonstrates just how fascinating and mind- boggling real science can be, and shows exactly how vulnerable basic research is to political whim. 

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E-Mail:   Andrew: andrew@softwareartist.com

By Mail: The Software Artist Limited, 195 Ellis Street, Chatham, Ontario, Canada, N7L 2L9

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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 02:44:42 PM