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December 19, 2004

WIRED lists some recommended books for holiday gift-giving.

And here are some InstaPundit recommendations:

For fiction, go here -- and also check out John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which I liked very much, and which is now shipping.

For nonfiction: James Webb's Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. (My capsule review here.) I also recommend David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, from which Webb (as he freely admits) gets a lot of his stuff.

James Bennett's The Anglosphere Challenge makes an interesting companion to the above. Follow the link to read a review by Lexington Green of the ChicagoBoyz, or read excerpts from the Times Literary Supplement review here.

George Dyson's Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship, discussing the interesting work his father Freeman did. (My column on the book -- with video of an Orion test -- is here). Another cool space book is Bob Zubrin's Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization.


Joe Trippi's book, The Revolution will not be Televised. Still the best blogs-and-politics book to date -- though I haven't read Hugh Hewitt's forthcoming book on the same topic, which will be out next month. Dan Gillmor's We the Media is also a must-read in this department.

Derrick Story, Digital Photography Hacks. Also Scott Kelby, The Adobe Photoshop CS Book for Digital Photographers. (Though I took Kelby's advice on recalibrating the auto-color-correction and regretted it until I restored the default settings. But the book's otherwise good.)

And, though it's pre-digital, Photography, by Phil Davis, is still an excellent text.

And, finally, for the HGTV crowd there's James Lileks' must-read Interior Desecrations -- full of stuff that will no doubt be back in style in the near future.


Happy reading! And if reading's not your bag -- er, then what are you doing here? -- but there's always this complete Star Trek video collection. Woohoo!

UPDATE: Reader Douglas Williams emails: "If you liked Albion's Seed, you're going to love Washington's Crossing. I envy you not having read it." No envy needed -- here's my post. And Hackett Fischer fans may also like his most recent book, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas, which I haven't reviewed -- but here's a post from ChicagoBoyz. Meanwhile, post-surgical reader Jim Martin responds to my "what are you doing here?" question:

I would love to read the books on your list, but, unfortunately I can not.

I have had glaucoma for 25 years and, Thursday, I had laser surgery on my right eye for the second time in 23 years in an effort to save what vision is left, about 20%. I also have double vision which makes print reading almost impossible.

Two hours following the laser surgery I could not watch televison due to the anesthesia and a gel they put on the eye so a lens isn't painful. The surgery is somewhat painful even with anesthesia, seventy shots around the optic nerve.

What I could do was read your blog with no discomfort at all. The font is large and easy to see and the subjects far more interesting than TV anyhow.

I wish books could be posted on Web pages, not just the classics.

Well, you can read the stuff at the Baen Free Library on the web for free, and it includes some of the fiction works I've recommended. And I'm glad that InstaPundit is reader-friendly for people with eye problems, which was part of the design philosophy (including the text-size menu). But it makes me feel guilty for not posting more often!