10 books

As a follow up to the 10 movies challenge, there was also a 10 books in 10 days challenge.

1 Second Foundation

This was the book that sparked my interest in the Foundation, the related Galactic Empire and Robot series by Asimov, and, I might add, my interest in science fiction in general. Looking back, I have to say that I was very fortunate to have randomly picked up this novel from my school library (around Year 9 in high school) at a time when I was still struggling with my English, having migrated to Australia some 4 years ago.

2 射雕英雄傳 (The Legend of the Condor Heroes)

My favourite series of all by 金庸, having re-read this countless times since secondary school.

3 A Brief History of Time

I have always been fascinated by science, physics and mathematics throughout my secondary school. When this book came out during my final year in high school, I was thrilled to be able to glean insights from one of the giants in Physics at the time.

4 The Tao of Physics

I became fascinated with idea of Quantum physics having some connections to Eastern mysticism during the final two years in high school, and read quite a few titles in the summer before university was to start. This, together with the The Dancing Wu Li Masters and In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality.

5 Citizen of the Galaxy

I read this novel – apparently for teens, according to Amazon anyway – during my first year at university. Perhaps being in a totally new environment and feeling like fish out of water, this story always reminds me of the need to find one’s identity.

6 Ender’s Game

Over the years, I have read every novel in the Ender saga (there are over 10 I believe), with the exception of Speaker for the Dead, none has the same emotional impact as this first novel. In this first novel, read during my first year in undergrad, I felt somehow connected to this young boy, for his isolation, first among his peers, etc. It remains so even when I picked up again years later.

6.1 Speaker for the Dead

For me, this was Ender the compassionate adult as Ender’s Game was about Ender the compassionate but torn child-genius.

7 The Final Encyclopedia

This was a fascinating sci-fi series that I discovered during the last two years of my undergrad. This was the first of a two-part conclusion up to that point in time, but the series was never completed. I was a little sad to learn years later the reason for not finding the series concluding novels: the author Gordon R. Dickson had passed away in 2001.

8 The Road Less Travelled

This was the novel my Year 12 form teacher gave to me as a parting gift. Somewhat shamefully after quite a few start-stops since my first year in university, I only finished reading this while trekking along the Annapurna circuit in Nepal in 1998. I suppose everything has it time and place, and I was simply not mature or simply didn’t have the mindset to absorb the contents prior to my trip to Nepal.

9 Outliers

I have always been fascinated by such topics as how people learn, and genius vs effort, intelligence, etc. I was truly fascinated by the concept of 10,000 hours when I first came across it. Gladwell’s recent book Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Knowis also quite interesting.

10 Steve Jobs

The story of Apple and Steve Jobs are so intertwined and I seriously doubt that there would be anyone in developed countries who don’t know either of these two names. I am very fortunate to have used an Apple II Plus in my youth, and subsequently witnessed the decline (near bankruptcy) and the rise from the ashes of Apple, thanks largely to the drive and genius of one man. A very interesting story which I managed to devour in a couple of days. The man has faults certainly but his single-mindedness and dedication to “beauty” are qualities that I admire.

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