Tagged by Tom…
1. Name one book that changed your life.
I do actually have one of these: The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. I read it at 18, and found it to be a clear, detailed and convincing argument for evolution over any kind of design theory, but also much more than that: a compelling ode to a rational worldview. These were not the scientists I’d envisaged from years of reading the pseudosciences. As a direct result of the attitude and reading recommendations of this book – Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman etc. – I went from vaguely religious to atheist, and from credulous fan of pseudoscience to a skeptic supporter of the scientific method.
2. One book you’ve read more than once.
Northern Lights – Philip Pullman.
3. One book you’d want on a desert island.
The Third Policeman – Flann O’Brien.
4. One book that made you laugh.
The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud.
5. One book that made you cry.
Bag of Bones – Stephen King. Those bastards.
6. One book you wish you’d written.
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson.
7. One book you wish had never been written.
Dianetics – L. Ron Hubbard. Even books like ‘The Bell Curve’ could be argued to have some virtue in that they provided an opportunity for counter-arguments to be clearly and forcefully thought-through and expressed. But imho the manual of Scientology is completely worthless, and actively wrecks lives.
8. One book you’re currently reading.
Fallen Dragon – Peter F. Hamilton. Except I left it at my parents’ house yesterday, which is really annoying.
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read.
The Language Instinct – Steven Pinker. Not one I can read in small daily chunks – need to take it on holiday, I think.
10. Now tag five people.
The usual suspects 🙂