A few recommended books

I’ve been reading quite a lot throughout the summer, and thought I could recommend books that might be worth your time. I’ve been discovering America however, as they are mostly classic ones. Nevertheless, if you haven’t read these, I suggest you do some catching-up too. And, by the way, if you’re not into science fiction, these might be just the right books, as it is good science fiction. I’ve got hold of a few Ursula Le Guin books. I remember trying to read one when I was about twelve, and it didn’t seem to be my cup of tea then. Not this time however – she’s got me so good that I’m preparing to read everything she’s written. I read The Lathe of Heaven first, and I was astonished. It’s about dreams and how little we know about these everyday miracles.

The Word for World is Forest is a bit more moralistic, or how to put it, but it reflects Le Guin’s understanding of human nature woven in a classical topic, the clash of technology and nature.

The last book worth recommending so far is called The Dispossessed. Again, it’s a book with interesting and quite utopian ideas, as a large part of it takes place in an anarchistic society, which is being contrasted with a depiction of capitalistic system.

The second author is John Wyndham I loved his Day of the Triffids when I read it years ago, but I never got to read anything else from him – until now. Chocky has been a surprise, I definitely didn’t expect the kind of plot it puts in front of you – family and relationship issues, parents raising their kids… but throw one unusual thing into the mix, in this case a kid’s imaginary friend, and you have an interesting story with a message.

Last author I’ve been catching up with is Neal Stephenson. I’ve read The Baroque Cycle Series a while ago, and now I got to his older works, The Diamond Age and Snow Crash. While Snow Crash seemed like it is trying too hard to be a cyberpunk novel, it turned out as very interesting, since the cyberpunk world (which I got used to in no time anyway) serves as a background for topics like memes, human mind and Sumerian civilization, which I wouldn’t expect. The Diamond Age takes place in a more advanced world where nanotechnology is the common way of producing everything, and where there are no nation-states – people can belong to different organisations with different possibilities, goals and power structures. The world is depicted in utterly convincing and believable manner, and for me, the actual storyline was less of a priority – and while I had that with other Stephenson’s books, I don’t think it matters at all. They are simply incredible.

And then I’ve read Clive Barker‘s Imajica once again. Its often described as a monumental epic, and it really is monumental. While Barker is renowned for horrors and weird stories, Imajica is more of a fantasy/alternative reality thing (there, I’ve said it…). It’s got nothing to do with sci-fi, but it still is connected to the previous books with a red line – it is again a book which points out how little we actually know about ourselves and our own perception of the world, and what other possibilities there might be – now, or in the future – without us actualyl noticing anything, our perception caged by seemingly relevant pieces of information, fed to us first from the outside and later hungrily sought after by ourselves, when we’ve shaped our perception accordingly.

Read moreA few recommended books

Report from Boom Festival 2006

Map of our journeyDuring slightly more than three weeks, we went with two cars from Prague to Hannover in Germany, then through France, around Spain to the Boom Festival in Portugal and back – 7500 km with all the surrounding journey branches. This is the description of our journey – full of unpleasant surprises and despite that, full of sun and relaxation. The blue icons in text are hyperlinks to Google Earth data, which will take you to the spots I’m mentioning. UPDATE: I’ve added photos. I was too lazy to make a gallery, so it’s a kind of all-in-one report. The photos were taken with Panasonic Lumix FZ20 and Nokia N70, panoramas made by AutoPano. Don’t mind the ghosts please.

Read moreReport from Boom Festival 2006