Most important books (in order of memory):

Fiction:

  • Aldous HuxleyIsland
    Huxley’s Utopic vision of an alternate society.
  • George OrwellNineteen Eighty Four
    Orwell’s dire predictions for a non-visible totalitarianism. If you aren’t scared, you should read this book.
  • Douglas AdamsHitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    • Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency
  • Terry Pratchettthe Dark Side of the Sun, or anything else by Pratchett, including:
    • Small Gods
    • the Carpet people
  • Kim Stanley Robinson – the Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars), also:
    • Science in the Capital Trilogy (40 Signs of Rain, 50 Degrees Below,60 Days and Counting)
  • Ursula Le GuinThe Dispossesed
    Le Guin’s amazingly well thought out vision of an anarchist society – distopic and utopic sides both explored.

    • The Earth Sea trilogy
    • The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Jostein GaarderSophie’s World
  • Thomas MooreUtopia
  • Daniel QuinnIshmael
    Ishmael and its sequels are probably some of the most important books ever written. Environmentalists and social justice activists have been screaming this stuff for decades. Quinn is the only person who’s managed to put it all together.
  • John SteinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath
  • Ken Kesey –  One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest

Non-Fiction:

  • Douglas AdamsLast Chance to See, or anything else by Adams, including
    • the Salmon of Doubt
  • Naomi KleinNo Logo
  • Rebecca SolnitHope in the Dark
  • Ian CohenGreen Fire
  • Christopher Alexander, et al. – The Timless Way, also:
    • A Pattern Language
  • Daniel QuinnIf They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways
    Quinn talks about how he thinks.
  • Richard TrudgenWhy Warriors Lie Down and Die
    Trudgen’s account of why indigenous communities are suffering in the top-end
  • Richard DawkinsThe Selfish Gene
    Best explanation of evolution ever, and highly entertaining.

Practical stuff:

  • Betty EdwardsDrawing on the Right Side of the Brain
    If you want to know how to draw and paint, read this book. All the others are just technique. This book is reason.
  • Bill Mollison, David Holmgren et al. – the Permaculture Designer’s Manual
  • David Pearsonthe Natural House
  • Bernard RudofskyVernacular Architecture

Poems:

Books I haven’t finished, but really want to:

  • the Life and Death of American Cities – Jane Jacobs
  • Towards an Eco-City: Calming the Traffic – David Engwicht

Films worth seeing:

  • The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

Music worth listening to:

  • Rage Against the Machine
  • Saul Williams
  • Redgum
  • Chumbawamba
  • Against Me!

Software worth using:
All the software listed is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). In most cases, I’ve found it to be better (easier, more adaptable, more support) than proprietary software, except perhaps some of the younger programs:

  • Inkscape (vector image editing)
  • The GIMP  (Raster image editing)
  • Firefox and Thunderbird (browsing and email)
  • Ubuntu or Debian (Operating system), using KDE and all it’s associated apps
  • Drupal (Website content management)
  • Open Office (Office suite)
  • Scribus (layout)
  • Pidgin (instant messaging)
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