Books

My favorite book of 2012 is not surprisingly, written by Doug Cooke. It’s called: How to Drive: The Drivers Book on Maximizing Fuel Economy, Time, Efficiency, and Happiness on the Road.

Because of rising fuel prices and increasing traffic, it’s important for the average driver to know some techniques and strategies for saving time, gas, money, and grief on the road. This book has it all: how to drive in the city, the country, the freeway, and maximize your efficiency and happiness.

With all the books out that have ever been written, it’s really impossible to narrow a list down to 10 of them, but it’s all a matter of opinion, anyway. Here are Doug’s top recommendations.

  1. The Bible – various authors and dates.  Not only the best-selling book of all time, but also the most owned and most read of any written work.  It has stood the test of time as people of all ages and generations have found relevance in it. With dozens of books and thousands of historical and allegorical stories: kings, wars, extra-terrestrials, plagues, national and global disasters, divine intervention, torture, future visions, love, hope, and more, the Bible has it all.  It even features a real messiah (not a drug abusing communist pretending to be a president and savior).  Favorites include Ecclesiastes and Proverbs written mostly by Solomon, the Revelation of St. John, and the Book of Daniel.
  2. The Three Musketeers (1844) – Alexandre Dumas.  Starting in 1625 France, young, cocky swordfighter D’Artagnan joins the Kings Musketeers after being recruited by Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, three of the top Musketeers.  These three take the young one under their wings and all around the country to save their King from the Cardinal and his Guard, among other conspirators.  The following books in the series from 1845-1847, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, reveal continuing adventures of the original heroes and are well worth reading.  Two further books in the series, The Son of Porthos and D’Artagnan Kingmaker, were not necessarily written by Dumas, who died before they were published.
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-1956) – CS Lewis.  This is a completely fantastical tale based on Biblical stories and principals.  In a classic battle of good versus evil, children are forced to take sides in a magical dream-world whose fate they control.  Written for children, it provides entertainment for all ages.  Books include: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician’s Nephew; The Last Battle.  All are well worth reading.
  4. 1984 – George Orwell (1948).  In a remarkable vision of the future written in 1948, Orwell reveals the reality of communism taking over and people thereby losing the right to speak and act freely. This book could have easily been dismissed if it didn’t actually happen to several countries since written, and is happening to once-great nations even now.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities (1859) – Charles Dickens.  The highest selling single volume book of all time, this compelling tale is set in London and France before the revolution. There are actually several tales told in this volume, depicting life under aristocratic rule in both cities during that era.  It’s an original, semi-historical work of fiction that reveals life in the 19th century like no other book has ever had since.
  6. The Lord of the Rings (1954) – J.R.R. Tolkien.  Another fantastical series written in the mid-50’s with similarities to Lewis’ Chronicles.  A humble Hobbit must make a journey to save the world with a magical ring, while being tempted by the dark side of its powers.  Battles of good versus evil by many unworldly intelligent creatures populate this timeless tale.
  7. The Space Trilogy (1938-1945) – CS Lewis.  This trilogy moniker is an unofficial name for this series that includes: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength.  The story begins with a scientist being shipped to another planet and encounters various types of intelligent beings that are quite different from humans, especially in that they live in harmony.  Extra-dimensional spiritual beings guide the man to accomplish his missions on various planets, and battles of good versus evil take place throughout.
  8. The Last Days (Series 2006-2011) – Joel Rosenberg.  This unofficially named series begins with The Last Jihad, followed quickly by The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, The Copper Scroll, and Dead Heat, all of which follow the main character Jon Bennett in his various efforts which somehow result in saving the world in some astonishing fashion.  These political thrillers have it all: action, mystery, romance, intrigue, history, and above all, intensity.  You won’t put them down easily.
  9. Sigma Force (Series, 2004-2011) – James Rollins.  These novels involve secret, highly trained government operatives that are forced into missions that hardly anybody else in the world is qualified to undertake.  The operations take them all around the world into various countries, normally hunting down some important treasure that can save the world.  Combining geography, technology, and history in an interesting action-packed thriller format, these novels are also very difficult to put down once opened.
  10. A Brief History of Time (1988) – Stephen Hawking.  Known as one of the smartest and greatest physicists of our time, Hawking puts into writing the history of the universe, in as simple terms as possible.  Using theories and laws of physics that have changed over time, Hawking goes down to the molecular level to reveal the current state of the universe.  This book is meant for and understood by scientific-minded intellectuals, and packs a lot of information into a very small tome.
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