1998 Summer Reading List

Okay, since we're all bored to tears with the summer movie fare thus far, with a few exceptions, we decided to take the law into our own hands and create the first annual SDI Summer Reading List.  That's right--you remember books, don't you?  Sure you do.  Take that eight bucks you would spend on seeing Dirty Work and go buy a book, for pity's sake. 

(in alphabetical order, by author)

Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland.  What on the surface seems to be a primer for understanding spatial dimensions, this book has a simple two dimensional shape discovering that there's more out there than believed possible.  I should have read this before Gleick and Kaku.  Help me.

Richard Adams' Watership Down.  I added this at the last minute because I realized that a lot of people I knew had not read this book, which is surprising.  The movie was good as well, but we're going for the print, right?  It's the story of a warren of rabbits who are driven from their home and must find a new one.  Don't go tharn on me, pal.  Read it.

Gloria G. Brame, William D. Brame, and Jon Jacobs' Different Loving.  Another primer, although this one provides easy how-to information for a brand of extracurricular activities (no pun intended) and demystifies the subject for the outsider.

William S. Burroughs' Junky.  Burroughs' first novel, it's a hallucinatory excursion into the life and mind of a heroin addict from one who knew the ropes.  Though it's filled with chemical visions, it's more realistic than Uncle Bill's later work. 

Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.  A thriller set in a 14th Century abbey has our hero, Brother William, trying to solve a series of murders and at the same time convince everyone that the end of the world isn't arriving.  Better than the movie.  But then again, what book isn't?

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.  Ellison's bizarre, disturbing, surreal vision of how one black man is  viewed (or not viewed) in American society and how he struggles to deal with his reality.  Amazing.

Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.  Generally considered the numero uno of Heinlein's work--and for good reason.  A classic science fiction story and a terrific send-up of religion and sexuality--it provides a new perspective on many things.  Grok it.

Stephen King's The Dead Zone.  Look, you can say what you want about King, but when he is on, he is on.  And this book is definitely a high point.  I consider it Steve's best novel storywise: a perfect book for first-time King readers.  Highly recommended.

Dean Koontz' Lightning.  I'll admit I'm not a big fan of Koontz, but this book was quite good.  A book about a woman and the strange changes that affect her life, it's hard to put down--a well-crafted suspenseful read.  Then onto Gravity's Rainbow.  I'm kidding.

Richard Masterson's I Am Legend.  The sucker's back in print, awww yeah.  And I'm telling you to read it now before the movie comes out and spoils everything.  The last man on an Earth populated by vampires--how cool is that?

Alan Moore's Watchmen.  With great artwork by Dave Gibbons, this is considered one of the graphic novel epics, up there with Frank Miller's Dark Knight.  Pretty much the last superhero story, it's kind of like Kingdom Come, but even more bitter.  Get it.

Pablo Neruda's Five Decades: Poems 1925-1970.  A great edition with the text in Spanish and English, it's a perfect demonstration of what gets lost in the translation.  But don't worry, even if you can only read one side of the page, it's worth it.  An amazing poet.

Wallace Stevens' The Palm at the End of the Mind.  A series of poetry and a play by one of the masters himself, any Stevens is a good read, but this one especially.  We advise you to try it.

Gore Vidal's Live from Golgotha.  Okay, I've not read this one, but from what I understand, it involves Jesus, time travel, capitalism, and obesity.  What more can you ask for from a book?

Robert Anton Wilson's Prometheus Rising.  You knew some RAW would be in here, right?  Sure.  This book is a tremendous step toward rewiring your own head, which is something we should all be doing perpetually.

Well, that's it for now.  Go out there and read them and soon enough we'll have links to where you can buy the things.  And hey--did we miss some stuff?  Well, sure send it to us--we get enough suggestions, we'll have a Fall Reading List too. Why not?