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Discussion on: What are your favorite non-programming books?

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Adam Brandizzi

Two books who really help me until today are How to talk to children so they listen and how to listen so they talk and Non-violent Communication. The first one is valid even for dealing with grown-up people. The second one is really helping me to be less damaging to others and myself.

Another non-fiction book is Vital Dust, about the history of life. I'm afraid it may be a bit outdated today but it gives a great panoramic view. The first volume of History of Private Life is amazing (but I cannot bear the other ones).

In fiction, two books I really like are One Hundred Years of Solitude and Creation (by Gore Vidal). The first one is a really pleasurable book. I used to arrive late at home after working and studying in college, and by 11 PM I would read "one or two pages." In general I went to bed by 4 AM having to wake up at 6 AM... The second one was really instructive and entertaining.

I like poetry, and my favorite long poem is Paradise Lost. There is an obscure Brazilian one, Anchieta or Gospel in the Junge, that I really like. I kinda liked the Divine Comedy and the Lusiads, but they are harder to read. (I would prefer Fernando Pessoa's Message over Lusiads any time!) Aeneid was good, too, but I barely read the first forty verses. (Curiously, I never liked Iliad and Odyssey...)

But the book I really, really love is _Grande Sertão: Veredas (or The Devil to Pay in the Backlands in English.) It is very idiosyncratic and relies heavily in rural Brazilian Portuguese dialects, so I cannot really recommend the translation. (They say it is a great translation, but I feel it would be like translating "Ulysses" from James Joyce. It sounds like impossible :) ). I don't think it is a book most people would like, so that's why I've put it at last, but it is undoubtedly my favorite. It is the only voluminous book I've read twice, and will read for the third time.

(The truth however is that I've read most of those books in my teen years and early twenties; those days I only read about tech most of the time.)