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What Else Are You Reading? > Non-fiction recommendations for Sword and Laser fans

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message 1: by Arroyo0 (new)

Arroyo0 | 51 comments I've heard Tom mention James Gleick a few times on the podcast and I highly recommend his latest book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood.
Tom, if you haven't read it yet, try it you will love it! It's like a Non-fiction thriller, I couldn't put it down.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2839 comments I tried getting this from the library but never got to it before it was due again. Still on my list! I think I read about it in Wired.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 489 comments I loved both The Information and Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. Gleick is one of my favourite non-fiction writers, along with Malcolm Gladwell.


message 4: by Jenny (Reading Envy) (last edited Nov 01, 2011 05:16AM) (new)

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2839 comments Another one I have on my list to read is Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker, and of course Steve Jobs.


message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 489 comments Jenny wrote: "Another one I have on my list to read is Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker, and of course Steve Jobs."

That sounds interesting. Of course, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling write a fair bit of non-fiction, usually only really readable in the shorter form unless you are a serious wirehead...


message 6: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Paul 'Pezter' wrote:Of course, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling write a fair bit of non-fiction, usually only really readable in the shorter form unless you are a serious wirehead... ."

Cory Doctorow reading Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown is pretty awesome. http://boingboing.net/2008/01/13/podc...


message 7: by Bill (new)

Bill H | 8 comments Gleick's biography Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman is another one worth reading.


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 489 comments Outstanding, thanks Kate!


message 9: by Brew (last edited Nov 02, 2011 02:03PM) (new)

Brew | 44 comments Here are a few non fictions that I finished recently (or fairly recently) that I really enjoyed:


Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

I am also about halfway through Steve Jobs and am really really enjoying it. I highly recommend it.


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 489 comments Brew wrote: "Here are a few non fictions that I finished recently (or fairly recently) that I really enjoyed:



The books on Genghis and Mithradates look fascinating, Brew. I've just finished Rubicon and found the little on the clash with Mithradates intriguing and worthy of deeper reading. I'm also looking for something on Parthia, the large Empire that stretched from what is now the Middle East to Pakistan and which the Roman war machine tangled with disastrously.


message 11: by Brew (last edited Nov 03, 2011 07:33AM) (new)

Brew | 44 comments Paul 'Pezter' wrote: "Brew wrote: "Here are a few non fictions that I finished recently (or fairly recently) that I really enjoyed:



The books on Genghis and Mithradates look fascinating, Brew. I've just finished [boo..."



[book:Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic|91017] is definitely on my reading list. Dan Carlin just finished a 5 part epic series on the Hardcore History podcast that I thought was great. The cast was based heavily on Rubicon. If you are at all interested in that period of Roman History, the Poison King borders on a must read. It really does read like fiction, including more than a little dose of the supernatural.

Though technically not non-fiction, Robert Harris' fictionalized account of the life of Cicero in Imperium and Lustrum (I actually read it as Conspirata) is very good and something you may enjoy that is set in that same time frame.

I have not seen any books spotlighting Partha and all I know about them is that they were pretty bad ass, something old Crassus found out the hard way. Is that a history spoiler?


message 12: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (forjay) | 51 comments I recently finished The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. It was excellent. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in science. It is a collection of true stories underlying the discovery of the elements and the creation of the periodic table, taking the reader on an entertaining romp through scientific history.


message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 489 comments Brew wrote: "Though technically not non-fiction, Robert Harris' fictionalized account of the life of Cicero in Imperium and Lustrum (I actually read it as Conspirata) is very good and something you may enjoy that is set in that same time frame.."

I actually picked up Imperium the same week as Rubicon, just after listening to some BBC Radio plays based on Suetonius' histories, which I think is what started off my current historical kick. I will definitely look into The Poison King, thanks.

I've also been having a bit of trouble finding books on Parthia, although i did find a website http://www.parthia.com/


message 14: by Arroyo0 (new)

Arroyo0 | 51 comments Paul 'Pezter' and Bill, thanks for the recommendations on Gleick's other books, he's a terrific author.

Brew, I join Paul 'Pezter' in thanking you for the recommendations on Genghis and Mithradates (and thanks again to Paul for the Rubicon recommendation), I really got into a ancient history binge after reading Colleen McCullough Masters of Rome series.
Mithradates is a fascinating corner of history I know little about.
Finally I'm joining other here with a request for good books on Parthia, lets call this my Parthian shot :-)


message 15: by Marcus (new)

Marcus (minondas) | 1 comments A Short History of Nearly Everything is pretty much a safe bet for those interested in science and history.


message 16: by David (new)

David Newhall | 39 comments A Short History of Nearly Everything audiobook read by the author is great. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time by Dava Sobel is a must read for anyone interested in science and technology.


message 17: by AJ (last edited Nov 09, 2011 05:07AM) (new)

AJ | 15 comments I am surprised to have not seen any mention of David McCullough David McCullough . I loved 1776 and I am in the middle of John Adams. He does a great job pulling the reader in and keeping them interested until the end.

There are a lot of really interesting books in here I am going to need to add these to my to read list. Thanks again Sword and Laser.


message 18: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (aaazealot) | 8 comments Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun Is Changing Reality I'm only halfway through this book (pub. 2007), and some parts are definitely more interesting than others, but if you love games, especially online virtual world environments, you might enjoy reading this study of what makes some games more effective (i.e., creating more joy) than others. The analysis gets a little technical at times (the production of endorphin and dopamine as responses to certain kinds of brain stimulation, etc.). An economic model of game world productivity. Lots of examples of synthetic modeling of real world behavior. That sort of thing. Ok, reading about game design aesthetics is not as much fun as playing them. On the upside, it's only about 200 pages.


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