Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Books you should make your kids read...and you should too!

Recently, I was informed by my wife that she wanted to get the kids interested in reading.  I have also tried to encourage my kids to read but the two older ones haven't expressed a lot of interest and I don't want to force it because I'm sure they'll come around sooner or later.

Anyway, I figured I'd jot down a few books I considered "Classics" and must reads.  That list grew pretty quickly to over 140 books.  I've sneakily interjected some of my own personal favorites but if you give this list a quick glance, I think you'll find some of your own best beloved books from your own childhood, many deserving of a re-read.

I've left out a lot of great books such as "Goodnight Sun, Hello Moon", "Where the Wild Things Are" and the unquestionable classic "Everyone Poops" which are all aimed at a much younger crowd.  I would consider most of these suitable for 7 years old and up.  A few of these books might be considered a bit more risque and better suited for a 13 and older crowd depending on how puritianical you are.

You might find some of these books a bit hefty for younger readers.  As a child, I was a voracious reader myself.  Our local library had a lending limit which they quickly lifted for me because I was bringing back books I had just borrowed the next day.  When I was about 9, I begged my Dad to let me borrow his large, leatherbound edition of the Complete Works of Shakespeare...the one without any pictures!  I actually had a reading test as a child, in which the surprised teachers informed me and my parents that I was reading at an adult level.  As a consquence of being so well-read, I also wrote at an accelerated level which for a short time caused my teachers to question some of the written work I turned in until they realized I was just a really good reader/writer.  Math...not so much though.

Many of these books are also what I would call "Gateway" books, introductory books to great writers and literary genres such as fantasy, science-fiction, horror and mystery to name a few.

Anyway, here's the list.  If you copy it, you should be able to paste it right into Excel or any other spreadsheet program as a "comma delimited file".

Aesop's Fables , Aesop
Brave New World , Aldous Huxley
The Three Musketeers , Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo , Alexandre Dumas
Black Beauty , Anna Sewell
Dragonflight , Anne McCaffrey
A Clockwork Orange , Anthony Burgess
Childhood's End , Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Oddysey , Arthur C. Clarke
The Lost World , Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes Complete Works , Arthur Conan Doyle
Dracula , Bram Stoker
The Chronicles of Narnia , C.S. Lewis
Pickwick Papers , Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist , Charles Dickens
Nicholas Nickleby , Charles Dickens
Great Expectations , Charles Dickens
David Copperfield , Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities , Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol , Charles Dickens
Tales of Mother Goose , Charles Perrault
Robinson Crusoe , Daniel Dafoe
The Divine Comedy , Dante Alighieri
The Postman , David Brin
A Voyage to Arcturus , David Lindsay
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , Douglas Adams
Charlotte's Web , E.B. White
Complete Stories and Poems , Edgar Allan Poe
Tarzan of the Apes , Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Princess of Mars , Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Worm Ouroboros , Erick Eddison
The Sun Also Rises , Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Secret Garden , Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess , Frances Hodgson Burnett
Dune , Frank Herbert
Gateway , Frederik Pohl
The Phantom of the Opera , Gaston Leroux
1984, George Orwell
Animal Farm , George Orwell
War of the Worlds , H.G. Wells
The Time Machine , H.G. Wells
Tales of H.P. Lovecraft , H.P. Lovecraft
The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales , Hans Christian Andersen
The Beast who shouted love at the top of the world , Harlan Ellison
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream , Harlan Ellison
To Kill A Mockingbird , Harper Lee
Uncle Tom's Cabin , Harriet Beecher Stowe
Walden , Henry David Thoreau
Moby Dick , Herman Melville
The Iliad and Odyssey , Homer
Foundation , Isaac Asimov
The Catcher in the Rye , J.D. Salinger
The Call of the Wild , Jack London
The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales , Jacob Grimm
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone , JK Rowling
The Forever War , Joe Haldeman
Swiss Family Robinson , Johann David Wyss
Grendel , John Gardner
Paradise Lost , John Milton
The Grapes of Wrath , John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men , John Steinbeck
East of Eden , John Steinbeck
Gulliver's Travels , Jonathan Swift
The Lord of the Rings , JRR Tolkien
The Hobbit , JRR Tolkien
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and other verses from the Red Book , JRR Tolkien
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea , Jules Verne
Journey to the Center of the Earth , Jules Verne
Around the World in Eighty Days , Jules Verne
Slaughterhouse Five , Kurt Vonnegut
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , L. Frank Baum
Ringworld , Larry Niven
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass , Lewis Carroll
Little Women , Louisa May Alcott
A Wrinkle in Time , Madeleine L'Engle
Gone with the Wind , Margaret Mitchell
Dragonlance Chronicles , Margaret Weis
The Prince & The Pauper , Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Mark Twain
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court , Mark Twain
The Borrowers , Mary Norton
Frankenstein , Mary Shelly
The Neverending Story , Michael Ende
Don Quixote , Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Ender's Game , Orson Scott Card
The Picture of Dorian Gray , Oscar Wilde
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep , Philip K. Dick
On a Pale Horse , Piers Anthony
A spell for Chameleon , Piers Anthony
The Broken Sword , Poul Anderson
The Martian Chronicles , Ray Bradbury
Something Wicked this way comes , Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 , Ray Bradbury
Watership Down , Richard Adams
James and the Giant Peach , Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , Roald Dahl
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress , Robert Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land , Robert Heinlein
Starship Troopers , Robert Heinlein
Magic Inc. , Robert Heinlein
Glory Road , Robert Heinlein
Citizen of the Galaxy , Robert Heinlein
Conan , Robert Howard
The Wheel of Time , Robert Jordan
Treasure Island , Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Robert Louis Stevenson
Kidnapped , Robert Louis Stevenson
Nine Princes in Amber , Roger Zelazny
The Jungle Books , Rudyard Kipling
Just So Stories , Rudyard Kipling
The Outsiders , S.E. Hinton
The Missing Piece, Shel Silverstein
Peter Pan , Sir James Matthew Barrie
The Red Badge of Courage , Stephen Crane
The Stand , Stephen King
Pet Semetary , Stephen King
Needful Things , Stephen King
The Once and Future King , T.H. White
The Wasteland and Other Poems , T.S. Eliot
The Wasteland , T.S. Eliot
The Sword of Shannara , Terry Brooks
Magic Kingdon for Sale -- SOLD! , Terry Brooks
The Colour of Magic , Terry Pratchet
The Sword in the Stone , TH White
The Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights , Unknown
The Earthsea Trilogy , Ursula Guin
Collection of Greek Mythology , Various
The Hunchback of Notre Dame , Victor Hugo
Les Miserables , Victor Hugo
Rob Roy , Walter Scott
Ivanhoe , Walter Scott
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow , Washington Irving
Neuromancer , William Gibson
Lord of the Flies , William Golding
The Princess Bride , William Goldman
Romeo and Juliet , William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream , William Shakespeare
The Adventures of Robin Hood,
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cory Doctorow loves the Taliban?

Got your attention?  Does Cory Doctorow really support the Taliban?  Well, no...I don't think so.  But over at BoingBoing, (a popular news, tech & science blog) some comments I recently made critical of the Taliban seem to have hit a sore spot with BoingBoing's "Lead moderator", Antinous.

The article in question was a Tom the Dancing Bug graphic comparing the recent movie, "The Hunger Games" with recent real world happenings, including the American soldier charged with the killing of 17 men, women and children in Afghanistan.

While I agree and also stated the act was reprehensible, I couldn't help but point out that just 3 days later a Taliban roadside bomb killed 9 children and 4 women and while the slaying of the 17 was a rare and isolated incident, both discriminate and indiscriminate killings of women and children by the Taliban are commonplace on a monthly if not weekly basis.

Antinous has been critical of the U.S. in many past comments on the blog, some might even say downright anti-American in some cases but I honestly have no problem with that.  I welcome open discourse and critique on politics world-wide but after I posted my initial comment Antinous quickly deleted it.  At first I thought it was a fluke but no, when I tried to repost it that was deleted too.  I posted three more comments in an attempt to espouse my views and all were deleted.

My comments weren't inflammatory, they contained no swears or naughty words, they were not indelicate and they were not xenophobic.  I don't blame the Muslim people as a whole for the barbarous acts of the Taliban but apparently criticizing the Taliban is off-limits when Antinous is watching the BoingBoing comments with a hawk-eye.

It bothers me because BoingBoing has long been a bastion of freedom, speaking out against evil-doers and speaking up for the oppressed but apparently all it takes is one rogue moderator with a personal agenda to stir up drama.  BoingBoing is no stranger to drama either, they've had a fair share of past drama with other former moderators who also seemed to have gotten a little too "drunk with power".

But since, I can't say what I want to say on BoingBoing, I'll say it here instead and since this is my own forum I'll take a little more time to elaborate and expound on my original comments, which were only about 3 or 4 sentences.

The massacre in Kandahar while reprehensible was an isolated incident and certainly not justified but consider this: In 2008 the Taliban massacred 25 people in a bus in Kandahar. In 2011 they fired a RPG at a schoolbus killing 4 children, the driver and causing horrific injuries to 14 children and 2 women.  3 days after an American soldier is charged with killing 17 Afghans, a Taliban roadside bomb killed 9 children and 6 women.

Those are just a few incidents from the last 4 years. I could give you numerous examples from the last four months. The Taliban commit these atrocities on regular basis. They don't apologize.  These barbarisms aren't retaliation for acts by American forces.  Most of the time they don't even involve American forces.  These are simply evil people who want power and they do that by controlling the Afghan people with fear.  Don't believe me?  Don't take my word for it!  Take the Taliban's word for it!  They proudly issue public statements and openly take responsibility for these acts, murdering their "own" men, women and children.

They torture, extort, spray acid on women and children for going to school and rape and murder their own people on a regular basis. Where is the outrage? Where are the protests?

So, you'll forgive me if I can't take the Taliban seriously when they issue statements decrying the killing of 17 Afghans by an American soldier while vowing to take revenge for the deaths of innocent Afghan people when the Taliban have themselves slaughtered far more innocents while maintaining a smug, callous and of course "holier than thou" attitude.  I'm not even talking about the deaths and killing of American military forces or Coalition forces.  That at least I could understand.  I'm talking about Taliban killing their own innocent Arab brothers, sisters and children plain and simple, non-combatants, most not even politically affiliated and the Taliban does it without remorse, without cause or justification and while reveling in the fact and even applauding themselves as lauding themselves as great heroes.

What saddens me is the Taliban's continued oppression and killing of their "own" people has become so commonplace that no one seems to even care anymore, much less the Afghan people themselves either through apathy or fear of reprisal.

I'm not saying the U.S. should remain in Afghanistan but let me ask you this...who is the Taliban going to blame their killing and murdering on when the U.S. isn't there anymore?  The Taliban won't have an excuse when the U.S. leaves and they don't have an excuse now.

And if you want to hear something really rich on the 13th of March, Taliban insurgents opened fire and attacked a group of senior Afghan investigators that were...(drumroll) investigating the killings the American soldier Staff Sgt. Robert Bales is charged with.  High-five Taliban!  Time to publish another glowing press release patting yourselves on the back.  I mean...honestly I couldn't make up shit that stupid.

That's all.  Thanks for listening.