Friday, October 11, 2013

More books

During the last two weeks, I've traveled almost every day (meaning at least two hours traveling in the morning and the same in the evening), meaning that on one hand, I've had very little personal time (I'm too tired in the evening to do much) but on the other hand, I've had the opportunity to read even more books.

Two books were about computers - the autobiography of Steve Wozniak (contrast his life with Jobs'!) and the story of a 21st century hacker who engaged no small amount in credit card crime.

One modern literature book which I found very intriguing and captivating was 'What Alice Forgot' by Liane Moriarty. The book opens with the titular Alice dreaming - as a result of a head injury that she sustained whilst working out in the gym. Alice thinks that she's 29, happily married and expecting her first child whereas in fact she is 39, has three children and has recently separated from her husband. The injury causes her to forget the last ten years of her life, placing her in a completely different 'head space'.

Ignoring the story itself (how she slowly recovers her memory, how she integrates her earlier self with her later self, etc), it is very interesting to try the same exercise out on oneself. If I were to lose the memories of the last ten years, I think that I would still be in a similar 'head space', but if the accident were to happen to me when I was 39, then certainly things would be very different. Aged 29, I was living on one kibbutz with a wife but no children, committed to making a success of that kibbutz, whereas ten years later I was living somewhere else with two children, somewhat embittered at my first kibbutz. Of course, the ten years between 19 and 29 would have even greater changes.

I am currently reading 'Without remorse' by Tom Clancy, probably in recognition of his death last week. This book was written in 1993 but somehow missed my attention. It is very much a prequel to the 'Jack Ryan universe', set in 1968, as its protagonist is someone who will become the John Clark of later books. The penny didn't drop at first, but after the second mention, I realised that one of the policemen mentioned, Lt Emmet Ryan, is the father of Jack Ryan. Maybe the younger Ryan himself appears in the book, although I doubt it.

Whilst displaying none of the global intrigue of the Ryan books (so far most the action takes place in Baltimore although there is a thread about American prisoners of war in Vietnam), Clancy's attention to detail shines all the way through the book. Clark is a very thorough person in what he does.

At least one does not need an MBA to understand this book - it's fairly normal tough guy material, albeit on a very high level.

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