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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

Learning the World: a Scientific Romance

Learning the World: A Scientific Romance - Ken MacLeod This was a very well-done "first contact" story, in that it presented human contact with aliens from both sides. This in itself may not sound so original, but it is literally from both sides, as if there are two separate, parallel stories in one book. I love books that tell a familiar story from a different perspective (like Star Wars: Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina or Zoe's Tale), but having both in the same book is even better.

Another original twist is that we (homo sapiens) are the "superior" space-faring species coming into contact with an alien race for the first time for both them and us. They, on the other hand, are at approximately the same technological level as pre-WWI human beings.

Lastly, the way the story is told is also unique: it is told as a narrative with conversations, as well as through a blog of sorts (called a "biolog").

So it is not just a first contact tale, but it is also a sort of "future history" and "alternate history" sci-fi book as well. As such, the characters and competing factions (in both species) are done rather well - in fact, the characterization of the "aliens" is done a little better than that of the "future human" characters.

For anyone who enjoys first contact stories, this is a must-read. However, if you like your sci-fi alien-free, this is not for you.