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The Great Book Alphabet Game

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A bunch of good ones for M…

 

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. The private journal of the 2nd Century Roman Emperor, written while campaigning. Musings on philosophy and stoicism and what it means to be a good man or a rational man. I frequently pick up Meditations and read a few random passages; I finally got a Kindle edition I could read on my phone because I wore out my paper copy, and now it's my favorite "I've got 5 minutes to kill" reading.

 

Mao Tse Tung on Guerilla Warfare. Still the seminal work on the topic as far as I’m concerned, a highly practical book written while Mao was actively fighting a guerilla war against the Nationalists.

 

Mind Hunter by John Douglas. Douglas is the guy who founded the FBI behavioral science “profiler” unit, and served as the basis for Scott Glen’s character in Silence of the Lambs. More recent research has cast serious doubt on the effectiveness of his type of profiling, but it’s still a fascinating read, tho a teensy bit dark.

 

The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols. A wonderful novel about a struggle for water rights in a fictional New Mexico town. Mandatory reading if you’re from NM – if you’re not, you may not get it, but that’s not my problem.

 

Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway. Connects the dost showing how the group of scientists and advisors that are claiming climate change is fake are the same people – literally the exact same people in many cases – who in previous decades used the exact same tactics to create public doubt that smoking causes lung cancer, coal smoke causes acid rain, and CFC harm the ozone layer.

 

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Some of his best work IMO.

 

Men Against Fire: the Problem of Battle Command in Future War by SLA Marshall. Published right after WWII, and based on interviews & research he conducted during that war, Marshall made the claim that only 25% of US soldiers actually fired their weapon with intent to kill even when they were under direct enemy fire. Hugely controversial to this day, and a number of people have seriously questioned his research methodology, so read with a grain of salt; but still well worth reading.

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How remiss of me !

 

M is for Monster Manual

This became my inspiration for some of my Storn Cook illustrations. But I love the Type V demon, the Roper, the Shambling Mound, the Umber Hulk, the Owl Bear and the Purple Worm. Orcs, Kobolds, Goblins and Hobgoblins. And of course Dragons. a prized possession of mine.

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Okay, I've got a couple of recommendations for the letter N, both by Roger Zelazny.

 

Nine Princes in Amber: The book that kicked off the whole Amber series (and its sequels and derivatives). It's the story of a complicated, often deeply flawed protagonist who, despite his otherworldly origins, is one of the most human characters in Fantasy. It was also my introduction to the Unreliable Narrator trope.

 

A Night in the Lonesome October: Apparently someone bet Zelazny $50 that he couldn't write a story that would have people cheering for Jack the Ripper as the hero. Boy, was that guy wrong. Quirky, macabre, and witty, and told from the point of view of a dog to boot. It was Zelazny's last book, and arguably one of his best.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Armoured Polar Bears ? I'm there dude !

 

A Night to Remember by Walter Lord. The sinking of the Titanic.

 

Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Looks at the early life of Sam Vimes.

 

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Deaths at a monastery cause Franciscan friars to investigate. Filmed with Sean Connery. 

 

Neuromancer by William Gibson. It kicked off the cyber genre.

 

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. The nightmarish version of the future.

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A Night in the Lonesome October: Apparently someone bet Zelazny $50 that he couldn't write a story that would have people cheering for Jack the Ripper as the hero. Boy, was that guy wrong. Quirky, macabre, and witty, and told from the point of view of a dog to boot. It was Zelazny's last book, and arguably one of his best.

 

Hadn't heard of that one. Sounds cool.

 

Neuromancer by William Gibson. It kicked off the cyber genre.

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell. The nightmarish version of the future.

 

I second both of these.

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Nine Princes In Amber: check.

Night At The Lonesome October: check

Neuromancer: check.

Name Of The Rose: check

 

Well that's about all I had. The only one I'd add, just for its curiosity factor, is Number, Predictions & War by Trevor N. Dupuy. Dupuy was a WWII veteran who later taught military science at Harvard, and wrote something like 50 books on military history. He's probably best known for The Encyclopedia of Military History, which was an absolutely invaluable reference in the pre-Internet age. In Numbers, Predictions & War, he presents what he calls the Quantified Judgment Method, a mathematical model to analyze and predict the outcome of battles, based on a huge slate of variables, ranging from Force Strength to leadership & morale, to terrain & weather factors to air superiority, etc. etc. etc. Like a lot of computer models with relatively subjective inputs, the outputs shouldn't be taken as gospel; but it's fun to play around with, especially if you like to play around with ideas like how would a modern rifle platoon fare against a Roman Legion and that sort of thing, and you'd rather not paint a ton of minis.

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Oh, here's one I missed for M: Making The Most Of Your Money by Jane Bryant Quinn. Or as it's known in our house, the Holy Book Of Jane. A book on money management written for normal people, not one-percenters. Mrs BDH credits it for getting her out of debt in her 20s, it helped us figure out how to start saving in our 30s, manage it in our 40s, and are using it for retirement planning now that we're in our 50s. It covers everything from the basics of banking, to how much insurance do you really need, to creating a budget/spending plan that actually works, to how much house can you afford, to picking a mutual fund to retiring in style. Seriously, if there's one book I'd recommend everyone should read, this is it, whether you're living paycheck to paycheck or trying to decide what to do with that extra $50 a month or whatever.

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One book we really should have picked up on.

The Necronomicon by Olaus Wormius. This is a fascinating book and the knowledge you get from it is to put it frankly quite astounding. You feel so much more in tune with the universe and such power !

 

Pity I can't get my hands on the Arabic version but you can't have everything.

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Shall we O?

 

On War by Carl von Clausewitz. In the Army we used to say Clausewitz is like the Bible: everyone quotes it, but few have actually read the whole damn thing. [rimshot] Not an easy book to get through - no translation I've seen has managed to get past Clausewitz' ponderous prose style - and many have questioned how relevant Clausewitz is in the era of nuclear weapons and asymmetric warfare. But it's still a must-read for any serious student of military history.

 

Also of note is On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War by Col. Harry Summers. Summers examines America's strategy in Vietnam from a Clausewitzian perspective, as well as in terms of the Principles Of War outlined in US Army doctrine. I actually disagree pretty strongly with several of his conclusions, but it's still an interesting analysis.

 

On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Ian Fleming. My favorite Bond book, and would've been the best Bond movie if they'd had literally anyone else in the lead role...

 

The Once And Future King by T.H. White. The book that really brought the Arthurian legend into the 20th Century.

 

One you might be less aware of: The Old Gods Waken by Manly Wade Wellman. The first full-length novel featuring his Silver John character (aka John the Balladeer). If you've never read any of the Silver John books or dozens of short stories, think Cthulhu tales set in the backwoods of 1950s-60s Appalachia. Well worth checking out! Plus, he wins the award for Most Badass Name, Fantasy Author Category.

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Missing books

 

Memories of Ice and Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson both part of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

and Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esselmont which is also part of the Malazan Book of the Fallen

 

Under O

 

One Day in a Very Long War by John Ellis. This looks at October 25th 1944 in all theatres of the war. This is part of the battle of Leyte Gulf which is why it was chosen but it also looks at the war in Europe. It is a great read.

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Been quite for a while, so let's move on to P.

 

Personality Plus by Florance Littauer. I've read a lot of psychology and personality books in my time, but this has always been my favorite. It covers the four classic types (choleric, sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatic) that were originally proposed by Hippocrates (father of medicine). It does a great job of explaining each, and also goes into depth about how each type interacts with each other type at work, relationships, and such. Very useful.

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My books are all boxed up prepping to move, so this is just off the top of my head:

 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I'm always surprised how many fans of the movie aren't even aware there is a book. And as wonderful as the movie is, the book contains a few surprises that didn't make it into film.

 

The Prince by Machiavelli. Nuff said.

 

Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller. Talks about the actual science behind public policy, on things such as nuclear power, terrorism, energy, space exploration, & climate, in plain-English that even a politician could understand.

 

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The greatest Pulp adventure novel of all time IMO.

 

 

Q...I got nothing.

 

 

R:

 

Redshirts by John Scalzi. Think Star Trek as told by "Crewman #4."

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, coming soon to a theater near you. (And the trailer looks like they actually read the book!)

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