The Way Things Work

All around us, the fruits of science labor on our behalf to provide us with convenience, comfort, safety, and entertainment. From simple machines like wheels and levers we have come to a point where we have computers and space ships. How do they work inside, and how do the same principles make up so many different machines? Brilliantly illustrating the principles behind many of the most ubiquitous machines in the modern world, David Macaulay's The Way Things Work is a classic of science for the young and old alike.

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The English language has often been criticized for being a mishmash of different languages with no clear rules. While this is true to some extent, this characteristic of the language allows you to make powerful statements, both in the intensity of feeling and the complexity of communication. The Oxymoron is a language construct which appears false, but which is often correct at some deeper level. Oxymoronica is Dr. Mardy Grothe's book about them, and it contains fourteen hundred of the doctor's favorite oxymoronic quotes.

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Automotive Technology

Like many Americans, I've always been fascinated by cars. I'm only 29 and I've owned something like fifteen of them; I currently have three (two in working order.) Over time, I've learned about cars for the most pragmatic reason possible: I cannot afford to take them to repair shops. Well, sure, I could afford to, but then I'd have to go without toys, and let's face it, life is about toys.


You're a Heinlein fan, and you've read Starship Troopers a million times, but maybe you didn't even bother to see the movie because it didn't have the armor. Your favorite vehicle in Macross is the Cyclone and you cheered every time bullets ricocheted off Robocop. You are a powered armor freak, and you need to read this book.

Now, there are reasons to read this book other than the simple involvement of powered armor. People who need more should continue reading; some people have already clicked over to buy the thing. They're making the right move, but they may not yet understand why. But why? Because this is one of the best science-fiction books ever written. I know that if more of you were less jaded by statements like that, I'd be getting boatloads of hatemail already, but I'm prepared to back up my statement.

The Food Chain

Geoff Nicholson is a highly prolific writer, yet this is my first exposure to his work. As such, it was something of a revelation, although I don't believe that's quite the proper term. A quick glance over Nicholson's body of work reveals something of a preoccupation with sex, an impression well-backed-up by this book.

The Food Chain is primarily a book about a well-aged old boys' hangout known as "The Everlasting Club". Britain's past is full of such clubs, and in fact perhaps the best known and most infamous, the Hellfire Club, is mentioned in this book as a contemporary of this fictional organization, each with their own array of dark secrets.

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