Book Meme

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 🙂