Saturday, July 19, 2008

Latest Reading List

A list of some of the reading I've done over the last eighteen months or so -- in addition to the hundreds of documents I've looked at online. I've got to get outside more.
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Tocqueville in America, by George Wilson Pierson. Reading in progress. With 852 pages to read, I'm not rushing to finish. I'm trying to find out more about the man who wrote so perceptively about America nearly two hundred years ago.
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The Conservative Mind, by Russell Kirk. An in-depth analysis of the roots of Conservatism from a historical perspective. I want to understand why I believe the things I believe. (Basically, the "latest fashionable idea" (e.g., reflexive government action on "manmade global warming") doesn't carry as much weight as centuries of collective wisdom.
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The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D and William D. Danko, Ph.D. An analysis of how millionaires got to be that way. One salient point: Income does not necessarily equal wealth.
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Powers of Mind, by Adam Smith. Re-read for about the fifteenth time. One of the best-written non-fiction books of all time. It happens to be about all the mysticism and science surrounding the abilities of the human mind.
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The Key, by Joe Vitale. For research on self-help books.
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You Were Born Rich, by Bob Proctor. Ditto.
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Rain Fall, Hard Rain and Requiem for an Assassin, all by Barry Eisler. Eisler spoke at a writers conference I attended, and I wanted to familiarize myself with his work before I heard him speak. He was very cordial and encouraging to all participants, including me. I think I became "That Guy" by accosting him in the hallway a couple of times with questions. If you ever read this, Barry, I apologize.
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Finding Your Voice, by Les Edgerton. Another book on writing. How to put your own personality into your writing.
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The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters, by Karl Iglesias
Rebel Without a Crew, by Robert Rodriguez.
Filmmaking for Teens, by Troy Lanier & Clay Nichols.
Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434, by Lew Hunter.
Setting Up Your Shots, by Jeremy Vineyard.
$30 Film School, by Michael W. Dean
Screenwriters on Screenwriting, by Joel Engel.
Filmmaking for Dummies, by Bryan Michael Stoller.
Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman.
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All of the above because of my intense, but brief, interest in writing, producing and directing a film. Ultimately, I had to admit that I can't be a filmmaker. Hopefully the knowledge I gained will come in useful at some point, but I don't have the drive to actually make films. Life is too short and I have too many other more compelling interests that take up my time. I had to choose something to sacrifice, and filmmaking was it.
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Low-Carb Dieting for Dummies, by Katherine B. Chauncey, Phd, Rd. Chauncey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University School of Medicine. Not really an Atkins-like approach to carbohydrates, but more of a "whole foods" diet. Designed to encourage the eating of "good" carbs like fresh vegetables and fruit. Common sense dieting, which I need to do more of.
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Scene & Structure, by Jack M. Bickham. Another book on writing, re-read for about the fifth time. The most amazing approach to how to get from point A to point B in writing fiction, based on a simple cause/effect sequence.
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The Compleat Gentleman, by Brad Miner. The subtitle -- The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry -- pretty much says it all. How to translate the lessons from all the stories about great men into our own lives..
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for Your Home, by Dan Ramsey. More research for the "dream home" that I'm designing and hope to build in ten or twelve years. Big challenge I face: How does one go about being water self-sufficient in arid west Texas?
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On Writing, by Stephen King. A writing book by the author voted Greatest Living American Writer by the readers of Writers Digest. A few nuts and bolts on writing, lots of biography, with details about the accident that almost killed him. Best part: the section on his and his wife's reactions when his novel Carrie made them rich.
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Picks & Shovels, by Dee Burks & Liz Ragland. The writing book that put me on course to my current career.
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Gettysburg, by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen. An alternative-history novel about the Battle of Gettysburg. What if Lee's Southern troops had won that battle? This book stimulated my interest in the real battle, even to the point of buying the DVD of the movie Gettysburg.
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Mobocracy, by Matthew Robinson. A book which documents what I've understood for a long time -- the mainstream media use polls to create news, rather than report it.
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Crucial Conversations, by Kerry Patterson and others. Fantastic book on how to talk about subjects which are hard to discuss. As much as I talk, I'm guilty of avoiding hard discussions sometimes. This book gives tips on how to talk about things without destroying relationships.
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Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms, by Ed Rollins. The architect of Ronald Reagan's 1984 presidential campaign talks about his life.
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Freakonomics by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt. An unusual use of economic theory and techniques to analyze issues facing American society.
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All seven Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling. Actually, I listened to the first six on mp3 and then actually read the last book. I avoided these books for years because every time I started the first one it came across as juvenile. Once I began listening to the first one, however, I got hooked on the story -- which got progressively more mature as the story progressed. Amazing phenomenon.

5 comments:

Michael W. Dean said...

Cool!

I'm reading "Modern Shotgunning" by Dave Henderson.


Michael W. Dean

wordkyle said...

Excellent, thanks for the comment. Another advantage of having a shotgun for home defense is there is less penetration through walls, minimizing collateral damage when and if it's used.

[Note to other readers: Go back through the list of books on filmmaking.]

lovelit said...

Wow, my reading over the last 18 months is seriously dwarfed by yours! Although I don't much care for the self-help books I love the writing books...'On Writing' is one I pick up every few months to remind myself of how much I like King and how I should at least try to write that first short story or novel...one day! And awesome to see that you loved HP...anyone who enjoys a good story has got to love it:)

I read your comments on the Wise Co. blog and agree with you 99 percent of the time. Your answers are way more researched and eloquent re: politics than mine will probably ever be...your passion is appreciated!

wordkyle said...

Thanks for the nice comments. I have to brace myself whenever someone says they read my comments in Liberally Lean. LOL

I read Salem's Lot when it first came out in paperback, about 1976. I've enjoyed most of Stephen King's work since then. I knew a lot of the information in his book, but there were some details that I hadn't known. Not the best book on writing, maybe, but the opinions of someone who knows what he's doing.

My vote for the best writing book would be Dwight Swain's Techniques of the Selling Writer (if you can find a copy.) It's a direct ancestor of Bickham's book I mentioned in the post. Great nuts-and-bolts stuff.

Again, I appreciate your kind remarks.

AnObiter said...

Freakonomics -- great read. As for the rest of your list? My Critical Thinkers' Book Club wasn't too sad over my resignation a couple of months ago; my "critical" content focus was too heady for them. They'd choke on their bruschetta if they saw your reading list! lol

Feeding the mind is a good past time though...and I LOVE your posts on LL; insightful, correct and around there? Brave. ;)

Keep it up.