I just recently completed a cross country road trip, from Monterey, CA to Balitmore, MD over the course of nearly 4 days, while driving for 12 hours+ a day sometimes. One thing that really kept my mind awake and entertained during this time was some great classic audiobooks such as: Around the World in 80 Days (Jules Verne), The Prince (Nicolo Machiavelli), Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting Oneâ€™s Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences (Rene Descartes), The Man Who Knew Too Much (Gilbert Chersterton), The Innocents Abroad (Mark Twain), and parts of several other texts thanks to the wonderful resources of Librivox, Free Classic Audiobooks, and Free Christian Audiobooks. I’m also going to check out some of the audiobook offerings from Project Gutenberg and LiteralSystems.
“Around the World in 80 Days” was by far the most entertaining and adventerous. You know those books that you “just can’t seem to put down”… this is one of those books, and I could hardly ever turn off my headphones since I was so into it. Each chapter will leave you reeling with suspense, and it’s quite a good story – and appeals to my sense of adventure. The thing I was suprised to read, was that nearly 3 chapters take place in Nebraska! I should have read this earlier when I was a child, and I am suprised it was never thus mentioned to me then!
Descartes’ Discourse was very intriguing as he brings about perhaps the first notion of the scientific method and algorithm of grasping an understanding of very large and complex problems by breaking them down into smaller pieces, and solving them each individually to solve the whole. We all use this method now in object oriented program design and component based system construction (if all the components of system A are “secure” -> system A is “secure”?!). He devoted his life quite humbly to understanding the world as much as possible in order to live a very just life. He thus goes into discussion for a proof of God and many other philosophical discoveries, including the infamous “I think therefore I am”.
I found “The Prince” to be rather quite boring at times, unless you really care to listen about the tales of ancient Princes, lands and soldiers doing battle against each other and working to maintian their victories. This book really appears to be a rendition of “The Art of War” with lessons learned by Machiavelli through extensive study, all condensed into a book of lessons for the new Prince of Italy at the time. I found some parts insightful and intriguing, but most of it would put me to sleep.
There are so many great books here to read — err, listen to — that I think I’ll keep busy for quite some time. I do hope to volunteer and read some classic texts into audiobooks as well, should my voice be appropriate enough for the task.