“10 books that have stayed with you”

A couple of people have tagged me in the “10 books that have stayed with you” challenge that has been floating around on Facebook. The challenge is to list 10 books that resonated with you somehow; not necessarily the “best” or anything, just books that have stayed with you.

I replied to the first person who issued me this challenge that I wasn’t sure I could do it — while I’ve certainly read plenty of books, the influential things in my life have tended to be movies or television shows. I was a voracious reader as a kid, but am on something akin to a novel-every-two-plus-years pace these days (in that I start a novel, read a chapter every few weeks, and finish it two and a half years later). So I genuinely wasn’t sure I could do this. 

But tonight Melissa tagged me in her list too, and when your wife throws down the gauntlet you’ve gotta pick it up. So here’s my crack at this. In no particular order (with Amazon links):

• “Dune” by Frank Herbert
• “Armor” by John Steakley
• “Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000” by L. Ron Hubbard
• “Red Storm Rising” by Tom Clancy
• “Imagica” by Clive Barker
• “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson
• “It Will Be Exhilarating” by Dan Provost, Tom Gerhardt and Clay Shirky
• “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
• “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
• “Farenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

What I’m Playing
I picked up Velocity 2X yesterday; it’s this month’s free PS4 game on Playstation Network. I played for about an hour last night and got through maybe 11 of the game’s 50 levels. It’s not a challenging game by any means, and the intent is that you replay levels repeatedly in an attempt to pick up every item in a particular level in the fastest possible time — thus velocity. It’s clever in that it is a mashup of side-scrolling platformer and top-down shooter, to the extent that both genres are available in a single level in many circumstances (you start as top-down shooter, “dock” in a certain area of the level so you can find a switch that you need to open a gated area, and once inside the dock you change over to side-scroller so you can run to the switch). It’s clever. But the game’s challenge comes not from being able to finish a level (during my time playing, the levels were so easy that not completing one didn’t even feel like an option — granted, I am only about 20 percent of the way through the game), but to finish the level perfectly (by snagging all of the level’s collectables and reaching a certain score threshold) while at the same time finishing ahead of a time limit. However, once you’ve beaten a level there isn’t much motivation to replay it to beat the time limit unless you want the achievements; the “XP” you get as currency for reaching certain performance thresholds in each level is used to un-gate future levels, so it may well be that by the time those gates take hold, you’ll have to farm previously-completed levels to get enough XP to unlock new stages. Which, honestly, might just make me quit playing. 

It’s fun. I’m glad it was free. I’m not sure I’ll ever beat all 50 levels, though. 

Fun stuff from social media today
• Bungie put out a rather awesome live-action trailer for Destiny; check it out here. Bring on Tuesday…
• Ikea put out a brilliant ad for its 2015 catalog, “bookbook”. Watch it on YouTube

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