Karl's recommended reading from 1999

Cloud Nine, Baby!

The Laughing Sutra (!!!!) by Mark Salzman. I read another book by Salzman called Iron and Silk a while ago and it was very good so I picked this up. It was a change from the non-fiction autobiography that he wrote before, but it still contains some interesting messanges. He tells a story of a young man who surives the cultural revolution in China and returns to his master's residence (Buddhist monk) where he learns that his master is dying and his last wish is to have the Laughing Sutra, which is said to give immortality. Thebook is about his journey to the U.S. and is full of great storytelling and lots of Chinese history. I love this book.

Beloved (!!!!) by Toni Morrison. A brilliant book written in a very poetic style. It deals with the elements of slavery that most refuse to acknowledge. I have since recommended this book to my father and mother and had many discussions with them and a couple of my friends. Most amazing is my friend who reads a book a year, who read this book and agonized over it with me. This book opened up a new world of reading for him. I highly recommend it.

You gotta dance with them what brung you (!!!!) by Molly Ivins. A collection of her political articles from 1990-98. I agree with her on almost all the issues she addresses except, of course, her anti-military stance. "We should make peace, not war." ??? How does one make peace with a tank or a nuclear arsenal? Oh well, as you can see, there is room for much discussion on this book. A must read.

Bless Me Ultima (!!!!) by Rudolfo Anaya. This book came highly recommended by my friends (especially my Latino friends who thought the book was a riot) and I almost read it before we did in class. After reading it, I find myself thinking about my beliefs and the way I lead my life. This book reaffirmed my faith in myself and I think everyone should read it.

Invisible Man (!!!!) by Ralph Ellison. An in-depth study on a man's illusions and how being black is also being invisible. A very profound novel that made me think for quite some time. I found my friend's essay (Harman's) on illusions in "Invisible Man" very interesting as well.

You're at the Pearly Gates and here's Gabriel's reading list

Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies (!!!) by Tom De Haver. A book about a comic ghost writer during the depression. It's a cute love story that has some pretty go0d moments. It's worth the time to read.

Eaters of the Dead (!!!) by Michael Crichton (translator) and Ibn Fadln (writer). This is supposedly a first-hand account by a Muslim from Baghdad who travels to the north and stays with the Vikings. The strange thing about this book is that they fight off a pack of Neanderthals. There have been countless arguments as to whether this account is authentic or just a story, but the way it is written lends the story some truth. Ibn tells everything with an impartial eye and rarely puts down any culture he visits that is different from his own. Interesting read.

Theodore Roosevelt (!!!) by Nathan Miller. Who can not love Teddy Roosevelt? This biography is very intersting and is told in a mostly impartial light. TR did some stupid things but he looks like, to me, one of the last truly honest politicians. TR's the man. I think I'll read the new biography that came out last year.

Contact (!!!) by Carl Sagan. Even thought he spells his name wrong he writes well. It's interesting to see what they change in movies based on books. In the movie they reworked the main character's childhood (did that in starship troopers too) and made the president a man. A good book that brings up many ideas about extraterrestrial life and religion.


Trouble on Triton (!!) by Sam Delany. When my uncle gave me this book he said that Delany is one of the great style writers. I will say he has a unique style, but my mind can't focus long enough to read a long description in the middle of a sentence. Altogether an ok book about some bizarre love in the future. He's got most of the general sci-fi stuff: nudism, strange sexual practices and scantily clad everyone. If you like strange stuff, go for it.

Convergence (!!) by Jack Fuller. My friend's father wrote this book, and I wanted to see if it's any good. A fairly interesting spy story about communication and spy networks during the cold war. I enjoyed seeing the logical reasoning the CIA and FBI went through trying to catch a spy. A fun book for a rainy weekend.


Conan of the Isles (!) by Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter. I needed a break from heavy novels. Reading "Beloved" then "Invisible Man" was a bit much for me. I can always count on a Conan book to lighten the day. Conan walks into a room full of thousands of skeletons and any one would be more than a match for a normal man, but Conan manages to work his way to a bridge and braces for the onslaught. His arms swing like a windmill that never stops... You get the idea.

Hornblower: Mr. Midshipman (!) by C.S. Forester. A pretty dull book. Hornblower is a midshipman on the British frigate the Indefatigable and he has some adventures. This really isn't my kind of book, but it's a quick read and it came highly recommended. If you like boats, maybe you'll like this book.

[Note from Katie: Karl really enjoyed telling people what to read, and many of his family, Robinsons and Riekes and Buttons, were happy to oblige and return the favor. I remember giving "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower" to him when he was 12 or 13 and home from school with a cold. Obviously, he never forgave me. I take comfort in the fact that I was also the one who gave him "Iron and Silk" and "The Laughing Sutra" (No. 1 on his list, above). Among the more recent additions to his library were the complete works of William Gibson (see the footnote to "My Life as a Bookworm"), two more biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, many by Carl Hiassen (weird, funny detective stories, sort of), many by Terry Pratchett, "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, and many many others. Karl had excellent taste in reading material. I really miss his input.]