Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney. For anyone who only knows the name Tesla because of Elon Musk, you are in for a surprise because the company was named after a genius of a man. That man’s full name is Nikola Tesla and he was born on July 10th, 1856, and went on to become the reason we have electricity in our homes. Yes, Thomas Edison played a huge part in that, but he and Tesla also had a large feud historically named the Current Wars that went on to determine the future of electricity for the entire world.

This book, along with another written by Cheney called Tesla: Master of Lightning, goes into the details of Tesla’s life and how he was influential in his field while remaining fairly unknown. I think his name is coming back into popular view because of companies like the one named after him and because electricity is currently being used to produce more economically friendly alternatives throughout the world.

I became enthralled by Tesla when I was around fifteen. I was always taught that Edison had been the front-runner in the field of creating and producing electricity, but when I found out that Tesla was just as if not more influential in the field I could not help but delve deeper into who this seemingly unknown man was. I am glad I did because he remains one of my heroes. He is someone at the top of my list when asked that theoretical question: Who, alive or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?

Margaret Cheney was 22 years old when Nikola Tesla died in 1943. She has done thorough research and, luckily for us, produced excellent books that elaborate on a still mysterious man. This book was originally published in 1981. She uses articles written at the time of the events to show how Edison (technically indirectly) ran a rather inhumane smear campaign against Tesla. Seriously, they electrocuted an elephant, as well as other animals, to try and show that alternating current was dangerous. If they tried to do that today, they would all be in jail.

Tesla, on the other hand, never cared about money or fame. He only cared about his work. He even had an idea that would provide free electricity to everyone in the world. Sound familiar? Elon Musk recently threw out the idea of producing free (or cheap) wifi for everyone in the world. It’s good to see they are following in the footsteps of the man they admire. The Tesla company also pulled a namesake move when they released the patents on their electric vehicles to the public and stated that they would not charge royalties for anyone using them.

Anyway, before I give too much away, give this book a read if you are interested. As with most historical/biographical books, this one also gives a great glimpse into what life was like 120 years ago when electricity was a luxury.

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. This was one of my required readings in high school (or was it middle school?). Either way, I absolutely loved it. I need to read it again.

This book was originally released in 1939 with a very different title that was changed for obvious reasons. The original title, Ten Little Niggers, was apparently taken from a song (or possibly a nursery rhyme). It has another title, Ten Little Indians, but when introduced in America in 1940 it was given the name that it has since been known by. Obviously the title change was needed and in no way would be seen on shelves today. Luckily it escaped its title issues because it is truly is a great read and has gone on to sell over 100 million copies, is the most popular of Christie’s books, and back in 2009 was listed as the sixth best-selling novel of all time.

The story takes place in the late 1930s. Eight strangers are invited to a house on an island where they are met by two others. After dinner, a recording is played that accuses each member of a murder they have committed in their past. Then one of the guests is killed and what ensues is an intricate game to discover the killer and survive.

Many stories have used this premise since this book was published, which just goes to show how popular and influential it is. The first movie based on the book came out in 1945. The most recent adaptation I found was a few years ago in 2015 which is a television series. I won’t be surprised if we see a newer movie made about this book in a few years. After all, we just got another remake of The Murder on the Orient Express which is another of Christie’s novels.

If you like mysteries, or just like being drawn into a book where you can’t stop reading, then read this one if you haven’t. It is on the Great American Read Top 100 list for a reason. Christie is considered a master of mystery and is a popular author whose works have and will continue to entertain readers.

Happy Reading.

No More Book Recommendations

Okay, that title is a little misleading, but I will no longer be posting book recommendations on a weekly basis. This is for several reasons. The first being that most people (and unfortunately myself included at the moment) do not read a book a week. I plan to increase my reading quantity greatly, but I’ve been struggling to find the time and a book that really grips me. You know that feeling when a story consumes your thoughts? When every neuron fired includes some aspect of the plot or characters that you can’t wait to get back to reading that book? I’ve been missing that of late. But I’ll find it again I’m sure. Of course not every book will have such an effect. I just hope to have at least a few a year that really take the reins.

The second reason is also logically simple. I’m running out of books to recommend. Before you yell at me to simply read more or try to convince me that I’ve read enough books to write a weekly recommendation for the next three years (which I’m sure I have), I must stop you and say that the recommendations I make here are made with consideration. I could easily spend a year recommending only Star Wars books, but I wouldn’t do that because I know not everyone likes that franchise and that it would be boring to see essentially the same thing every week.

What I’m trying to say is: I don’t write these recommendations simply for me. I write them because I genuinely like the book, of course, but I write them for everyone. I try to mix things up and recommend different genres, styles, and interests. I like to expand my own reading and hope to expand yours by simply considering a book I’ve recommended that you may have never heard of or would not have given a chance before seeing why I recommended it.

The third reason aligns with the second. You may not have noticed, but I have never recommended a sequel in any of my weekly recommendations. I could easily keep these posts going weekly if I had, but there is a reason I don’t, which goes along with what I stated in my second reason. If I recommend the first, and you like it, then I’m sure you can find the sequel yourselves, and I won’t be recommending something that I’ve essentially already recommended.

I have recommended several books by the same author, but never a sequel of theirs. I have recommended a series once or twice, but the first time it was all the books in one volume (more bang for the buck) and the second time I explain why in that specific post.

Now, as I wrap this up, I will clarify a few things. I am not getting rid of book recommendations completely because I think that would be dumb. I will be following through with my conviction to write the weekly recommendation through the end of this year. So, this change will not go into effect until 2019. I will still recommend books, but not as frequently or consistently. I will aim for at least one a month, but my writing aspirations for next year will consume more of my time. I will be explaining these in another post later this year.

As always, I am always open to any recommendations you may have for me. I will always encourage reading. And, of course:

Happy Reading.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book was released in 2008 and is the first in a trilogy. It became a popular movies series (of four movies) in 2012. I first read the books in December of 2011 after I received the trilogy box set as a Christmas gift. I promptly read all three books within a few weeks. My favorite of the trilogy is actually the second book, Catching Fire. This book is well written, captivating, and intense.

In a dystopian future where America is crippled by a war, the land is split into thirteen districts. Every year, two children from each district is chosen to participate in the games, which is a battle royale fight to the death. Pretty insane, I know (and this was well before Fortnite blew up and made the battle royale thing popular). You may have seen the movies. If you have, I hope you read the books as well, though I do think the movies did a good job following the source material.

This book series is surprisingly aimed at young adults, but I think it does a great job focusing on the characters versus the violence and allows the reader to become engrossed in the events that lie outside the main character’s control. Obviously the whole system if messed up, but Katniss, though limited, does everything she can to protect what she loves and improve the dismal world she lives in. She may not go about things in the best way, but it’s never easy going against an established societal norm. This is why I think this series will endure as a popular story. The battles these characters face can be applied as reflections of what we see in our own world.

I know sometimes people don’t want to give something a shot because it was super popular and possibly over-hyped. If you haven’t read this series because of one of those reasons, try it out. I think you may be surprised.

Happy Reading.

 

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). With Disney’s animated movie based on this book, released in 1951, and their two live-action versions of based on this book and its sequel Through the Looking Glass, I think nearly everyone knows of this story. However, I think the number of people who have read the book would be surprisingly low, which is why I’m recommending it. Have you read this book?

It is an easy read. You can usually find a version that includes both Alice’s Adventures and Through the Looking Glass in one volume (as I did). The first book was published roughly 150 years ago and was influenced by an actual girl named Alice. I’m much less certain about the origins of other beloved characters such as the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter.

I believe so few actually read the story nowadays because there are so many versions out there (mostly movies). Several books have been based on the original Alice stories as well. I have yet to read them, but I know about two “retelling”s of the story itself that take the story in a drastically different narrative. One I believe is actually quite dark. (Side note: A quick Google search produced at least 83 modern versions of this story which is insane, but it is popular for many reasons.)

My reason for recommending the original story is twofold. It is a good story and it’s always good to read the original content, and it is a glimpse into history. Sure, this book probably seemed insane when it came out 150 years ago (I mean, they did have drugs back them too), but Queen Victoria like it! They didn’t have nearly as many forms of entertainment back then that we do now, and it was definitely not as accessible, but this fun little story has persisted through the years to entertain us. I hope it will entertain you as well.

Because it came out that long ago, and Mr. Carroll/Dodgson is long gone, I can provide a free copy of both books to you without an ounce of worry. Feel free to jump right in.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Happy Reading.