Minimalist Reviews [Bookshelf]

Cutting reviews down to size, and passing the savings on to you

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Just as great as the John Huston film, the text is spartan and intense. And Sam Spade is awesome.

Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll
A gripping autobiographical tale about a grad student who unwittingly finds himself chasing a hacker, featuring a nice mix of clever technical stunts and the effects that the zealous pursuit had on the author's life.

My Brain is Open by Bruce Schechter
How eccentric do you have to be to become one of history's most prolific mathematicians? Read this inspiring biography of Paul Erdos to find out.

The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
Finally a story about a character who can out-Ender Ender Wiggin without becoming a loser in the sequels. Bujold is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Mathenauts edited by Rudy Rucker
This collection of mathematical fiction features some wonderful stories as well as a few bombs, but the wheat outweighs the chaff.

Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
A really neat adventure story told with the style and background of a Chinese myth. The writing is engaging and the humor is first rate.

Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny
I went looking for something different and I found this gem from the Golden Age of science fiction. It combines clever ideas with unusual storytelling tricks and a whimsical sense of humor.

The Icarus Effect by Timothy Zahn
Another great plot-twisting adventure. Easily the most entertaining book I've read in the last six months (since Cryptonomicon).

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson Despite its flaws, this is a great piece of fiction. Neal Stephenson to the nth power.

Vertical Run by Joseph Garber
An entertaining, surprisingly intelligent thriller.

In the Beginning was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson
Long, but excellent and insightful essay on computer interfaces.

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy (First two chapters available online here)
I especially liked the first third of the book which dealt with the original MIT "hackers". Their inventive spirit is an inspiration to us all.

Last Chance to See  by Douglas Adams
Brilliantly written, educational, and fun.

The Double Helix   by James Watson
Graduate students do research and win a Nobel prize.

Snow Crash   by Neal Stephenson
This is one of those rare books that combines excitement, adventure, and legitimately intriguing ideas.

The Blackcollar  by Timothy Zahn
I finally found this early Zahn novel at a used bookstore. It is just awesome.

Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
Boffo. A good one.

The Magic Mirror of M.C.Escher  by Bruno Ernst
An interesting look at Escher's art with mathematical explanations.

Twistor  by John Cramer
Entertaining, believable sci-fi; much better than Cramer's other effort, Einstein's Bridge.

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