In Part 1, I mentioned that my two Christmases got postponed, and listed my book score from the first gathering. In the second Christmas gathering, with one person fewer attending than at the first, I got one book fewer.
Three of us do a used book exchange each year, and what we receive tends to be a surprise because unlike the rest of the books that get gifted each Christmas the selections are made by the givers without any input from the recipients. Other books tend to come from Amazon wishlists. The second gathering was where we gave each other the used book exchange gifts this year.
Without further ado, the following was my book haul for Part 2. . . .
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
I think it was one of the SigO‘s coworkers that once told her that Robin Hobb’s books were “intelligent” fantasy. Since then, we’ve been kicking around the idea of reading something by Hobb. I guess, to make sure something actually happened with that, she decided now was a good time to give me one of Hobb’s books. This book in particular is part one of the Farseer series — a trilogy, I think. I also think this may be Hobb’s debut novel.
Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity by Lawrence Lessig
Lessig’s statements in favor of “free culture” have always struck me as a little utilitarian (I specifically subscribe to the anti-copyright approach served by copyfree policy, for reasons derived from free market principles), but regardless of any potential disagreement I might have with the principles that lead him to his policies — and the resulting policies — he is probably the single best-known advocate for free and open licensing outside of the narrow niche of software licensing. It’s about time I give this book a read, so I’ll have a more direct knowledge of a very influential book in the “free culture” movement (in fact, the book that probably gave the movement its name). Someone picked it out of my wishlist for me this year, and I’ll probably read it before the book Lessig endorsed that was in my Part 1 haul, Steven Levy’s Hackers.
Hamilton’s Curse by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
On the front of the book, I see the words “How Jefferson’s Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution — and What It Means for Americans Today”. With the promise of a thesis statement (or TL;DR summary) like that, I can’t possibly resist this book. Interestingly, there’s an endorsing quote on the cover from Ron Paul that reads “I recommend this book to my fellow Jeffersonians.” My personal take is that Jefferson was damned near perfect in principle, and tended to fold like a house of cards when faced with opposition from erstwhile allies — which, of course, in no way detracts from the value of the principles themselves. In any case, I expect to find the book a thoroughly intriguing read.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I have not actually heard much about this book, but I know it’s a “classic”. It’s also apparently very short. This was my other used book exchange gift this year, along with Assassin’s Apprentice.
This book’s title certainly lends to the notion that it may be a good companion volume to Wealth of Nations for “The Information Age” (do people still use that term?). Given my belief that a free (as in speech) Internet is essentially the last bastion of intellectual freedom in the world these days, regardless of how much I may agree or disagree with what this book presents, I expect to find it interesting.
Well, that’s all of it. Unless I get something wholly unexpected, that’s the end of my Christmas 2009 book haul (though the loot was actually pillaged in January 2010). I’m already looking forward to more books at the tail end of this year — but I have some great reading material to absorb my attention in the meantime.