The Literary 10 – Number 6

6. Writing on Both Sides of the Brain

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, there are two characters named Caliban and Ariel. Ariel represents unfettered freedom, whimsy, and flight, while Caliban symbolizes control and rigidity.

It’s these two characters that Henriettte Anne Klauser invokes in this book to represent the right and left brains. Writing on Both Sides of the Brain helped me understand that there’s a time for inspiration to flow and a time to let the inner critic take over.

There’s also a number of techniques introduced here, such as rapid or free writing (where you just cut loose for 10 minutes), separate chairs for ruminating and writing, and branching (think mind mapping).

Overall, just a lot of good things for writers of any stripe. I heartily recommend it.

The Literary 10 – Number 7

CIW Site Designer

7. CIW Site Designer Bible

Ok, so it’s not literary by any means. But this book has been influential on me, seeing as how it launched my career as a web developer.

This book has it all for the aspiring web guru. There’s HTML, CSS, basic page layout concepts and design. You’ll learn how to harness the power of advanced technologies such as Microsoft FrontPage 2000, HomeSite 4.5, and Macromedia Flash 5.0.

All right, so this book is a little old…13 years old. But it provided a solid foundation on which I’ve launched my career.

Just wish it had PHP in it…

The Literary 10 – Number 8

The Gay Science

8. The Gay Science

There was a time when I thought Friedrich Nietzsche was the bee’s knees. I was young and in college, a time when every young man stretches the limits of his imagination and explores vast new horizons.

That was a long time ago.

Yes, this is the tome where Nietzsche wrote the infamous line, “God is dead.” But that’s not the reason I remember this book.

Towards the end of the book (aphorism 341, to be exact), he devises a thought experiment. Suppose a demon crawled into your bedroom one night and told you that you would have to relive your life all over again. Every moment of anguish, every moment of joy. Would you tell that demon to bring it on? Could you? If so, Nietzsche argued that you lived a life worth living.

I know I couldn’t say that to the demon. How about you?

The Literary 10 – Number 9


9. The Warrior Trilogy

The idea of books being written based on Battletech, a game I loved as a kid (yeah, this kid played games with dice, miniatures, and paper), was weird at first. Maybe they wouldn’t have much story or maybe they were just another way to sell game books and modules.

Boy was I wrong.

The Warrior Trilogy was engaging storytelling from cover to cover. It certainly helped that Michael A. Stackpole, who would go on to write books in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, wrote these books about a young man finding his way in the universe…oh, and the beginning of a great interstellar war that consumes the Inner Sphere (set off by the ballsiest wedding gift any man could give his bride). Very space operatic, and I loved the descriptions Stackpole provided.

I could have easily put the Blood of Kerensky Trilogy here as well. This series of books is set roughly 30 years after the Warrior Trilogy, features some of the same characters, and tells the tale of the great houses of the Inner Sphere uniting against an invader from beyond the stars. But, in the end, I had to give it to the Warrior Trilogy.

N.B. There was a 2nd edition released in 1998, currently available on Amazon. The covers above are from the first edition.

Grace. Wisdom.