David Neto's upcoming book reviews
Updated July 30, 1998
Added (July 30, 1998): Added James Strickland's recommendation,
and now I've read four of Jane Jacobs' books.
Updated (July 23, 1997): New ``current read'', more
Updated (May 25, 1997): More recommendations to me,
pending reviewslist shrunk.
New (April 7, 1997): more books I've read but have yet to
New (August 21, 1996): Arthur C. Clarke's recommendation;
not to me personally, of course!
The Shape of the City: Toronto Struggles with Modern Planning,
by John Sewell. John Sewell is a city activist,
columnist in Now weekly magazine,
former Toronto city councillor, former Toronto mayor, and a person
of intelligence and integrity. (He rides his bicycle to work.)
This book is a case study of the 20th century conflict
between ``modern city planning''
Toronto is one of the most liveable
cities in North America
in part because Toronto escaped much of the ravages of the modern planning
movement, thanks to the efforts of many aware and vocal citizens, John
Sewell prominent among them.
I am looking forward to reading the stories of Regent Park, St. Jamestown,
Moss Park, St. Lawrence and other neighbourhood I see almost every
day in this city I call home.
This book ought to be read in the context of Jane Jacobs'
The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Indeed,
Jane Jacobs provides a foreword for The Shape of the City.
I've finished reading, but have not yet reviewed:
(Notice a pattern?)
I started and stopped reading
The Essential Distributed Objects Survival Guide, but have
written a preliminary review.
- The Economy of Cities, by Jane Jacobs.
- Systems of Survival: A dialogue on the moral foundations
of commerce and politics, by Jane Jacobs. More memes
per megabit than any other book I've read. (Spivak is almost there.)
- The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, by Douglas Adams.
- A Journey Through Economic Time, by John Kenneth Galbraith.
- The Death and Life of Great American Cities, by Jane Jacobs.
I started and stopped reading Attachment by John Bowlby.
This book describes ``attachment theory'', a system of ideas
used to explain of the bonding needs of children. It is also a theoretical
orientation for some psychological therapies later in life.
My wife recommended this book to me, and it's very interesting.
I haven't decided on my next book, but the candidates are:
This is a list of the books that other people have recommended to me, but that
I have not yet read.
- ``Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman!'': Adventures of a curious
character, by Richard P. Feynman.
- The Adobe Type 1 Font Format, revised edition, by Adobe Systems
Incorporated. (Nah. I've already used it as a reference few times.)
- The Coming of the New Deal by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
Follows FDR's administration thorugh its early years.
- No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The homefront
story of the early/middle years of FDR's administration and his
home life during that time. This book won a Pulitzer prize, and
apparently is a good followon to Arthur Schlesinger's books on Roosevelt:
Crisis of the Old Order:
1919--1933 and The Coming of the New Deal.
- Years of Trials and Hope by Harry S. Truman.
- The Garden of Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee.
Book three in
the four-part Rama series. (Rumour has it that he's writing
the last book in the 2001 series, called
3001: The Final Odyssey. I hope that book returns to
the quality of the first two books in that series.)
Richard Alsen not
only majored in English and is a sci-fi buff, but he's also a good friend
He now works in Victoria B.C.'s finest
book store, Bolen Books.
the following to me.
- The Engines Of God by Jack McDevitt: an A.C.Clarke-esque tale
of archaeology on alien planets.
- Red Mars
by Kim Stanley Robinson: an excellent treatment
of the terraforming of the red planet.
It is followed by
Green Mars and Blue Mars.
- Arthur C. Clarke says about
Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men that
``No other book had a greater influence on my life''. Wow. Now all I
need to do is find it -- it was published in 1930.
He also likes Stapledon's 1935 work Odd John: A story between Jest
and Earnest. Clarke quotes a reviewer as saying that Clarke's
Childhood's End makes
explicit some ``mythological meanings which remained half implicit
in Odd John''. Double wow.
- Wayne Hayes, an
astronomer/CS friend of mine, has recommended the following books on philosophy:
- Lila by Robert Pirsig. This is the follow-on to
the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and
displays Pirsig's ideas of practical philosophy after 20 years of development.
- Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein. About an
immortal man and how he learns to love. Sounds like a morality play.
- LeCarre books:
- Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy. This is the first in the
Karla Trilogy. It is followed by the (reportedly so-so)
The Honourable Schoolboy, and the (reportedly satisfying)
- Jim Rootham recommends anything by
Jane Jacobs. Now that I've read four of
her books, I concur
Jim seconds Arthur Clarke's recommendation of Last and First
Men, calling it ``pretty amazing''.
Jim also reads ``ANYTHING'' by LeCarre, adding ``The earlier books
have some further setup
characterizations that are useful in dealing with the Circus. In
Smiley is not so deferentially treated by LeCarre in some of the earlier
work.'' [For the record, I've already read LeCarre's first five books,
and can't seem to motivate myself to read The Naive and
Sentimental Lover, the next one.
Do you think it has anything to do with the
title of the book? :) ]
On the memes per megabit front, Jim suggests
Empire and Communication(?) by Harold Innes, saying
`` Not as well written as anything by Jane Jacobs, but you
get to skip Marshall McLuhan.''
- James Strickland recommends Better Living Through Less Traffic,
(or something like that)
David Engwicht. Capsule summary: ``At the time I read it it seemed to
crystallize a whole bunch of thoughts I had already had... highly
recommended.'' James is a noted public transportation advocate.
His commute to work is a six (6) minute bicycle ride.
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