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Books with a Beu

Jamie Beu, owner and co-author (with his wife) of CatholicFamily.info, is a "cradle Catholic", devoted husband, and father of two girls. He is a regular contributor to his parish newsletter, as well as an impassioned defender of the faith who is able to both support and challenge others as necessary -- all in an effort to build-up Christ's Kingdom on Earth. To this end, he does a lot of reading - not just of religious books (for education and research), but also of secular books, both to decompress as well as to keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture (the better to relate to others, as well as to help restore the culture).

Currently reading

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
Meg Meeker, Meg Meeker
Dan Simmons
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
'John Townsend', 'Henry Cloud'
Boundaries Face to Face: How to Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding
Henry Cloud
Jesus of Nazareth
Pope Benedict XVI, Adrian J. Walker
Permutation City
Greg Egan
Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions
Pope Benedict XVI
Is Jesus Coming Soon?: A Catholic Perspective on the Second Coming
Ralph Martin
Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1)
Isaac Asimov
Autobiography of a Saint: Therese of Lisieux
Thérèse de Lisieux, Ronald A. Knox, Vernon Johnson

A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought)

A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge This is a book that is very difficult to get into because it presents so many new concepts all at once: a dormant godlike computer virus on the edge of the galaxy; races of humanoids, tree-like beings who move along in motorized planter boxes, and doglike aliens who are sentient only in packs; and a new way of viewing the galaxy as having increasing layers of technological complexity based on distance from the center.

This is "hard" sci-fi at it's hardest (i.e., most difficult to ingest). Yet it is also one of those books that expands your mind as to what sci-fi can be.

Personally, I am more of a fan of "space opera" - a small set of basic characters, usually engaged in battle involving a bunch of ships, with maybe 1 or 2 "futuristic/sci-fi" twists thrown in (e.g., Old Man's War or Dauntless). This one threw so much at me at once that I was overwhelmed and almost put it down forever several times. However, I pressed on and now, a year and a half later, I still ponder some of the concepts covered in this book.

I only rated this 3 stars when I first finished it. Now that I think back on it, and the how it has affected me since, I've got to throw in an extra star.

This book is not for the faint-of-heart - it is not a "read by the poolside" or "read before bedtime" book. But the investment will be worth it down the road. (For the record, I am contemplating reading another of Vinge's books, but I don't think I've quite yet built up the mental stamina required.)