N. Cretton
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Books I warmly recommend

Science and religion

The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins

This is one of the greatest and most stiumlating book I ever laid my eyes on. This witty, clearly written, elegant, funny, entertaining and mind-opener work should be read by everyone, especially by ignorant and dangerous fundamentalists of every type of religion. Each page is a delight, full of clever comparisons that sheds light on the real meaning of science and religion. Read it, think about it, and share your experience with others.
Richard Dawkins is a great scientist (remember "The Selfish Gene"?) who has demonstrated throughout his career the power (and the limits) of cool, hard reason to explain life itself.


The Naked Ape, Desmond Morris

This is one my all-time favorite books. It is clear, concise and gives a fascinating zoologist perspective on the human being. It made me understand that man is what he is because he collaborated with each other. Without this solidarity, he could not have survived and competed with other species at the time when, around 5 millions years ago, we got down from the trees, started to eat mostly meat (instead of fruits), lost our body hair and started to walk upright most of the time. Solidarity is in our genes, it is our profound nature. We should love and help each other, not because someone told us to do so some 2000 years ago, but because it is what we are. In that sense, it is truly unnatural to be selfish and individualistic. Few species have the level of collaboration that we have in our modern societies. Unfortunately, it seems that (in my region at least) people don't care much about solidarity any more, just think about how people feel about paying health insurance (based on a solidarity system) and taxes...

Nevertheless some people have perfectly understood it: "We are visitors on this planet. We are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. Try to be at peace with yourself, and help others share that peace. If you contribute to other peoples' happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life." (Tenzin Gyatso, Fourteenth Dalai Lama, "My Tibet")

Chapeau !

Historical novels

Les rois maudits, Maurice Druon

This one is probably my favorite historical novel, fun to read and historically accurate. The author managed to give such humanity to the historical figures that the reader can easily "fall in love" with some of them. I did.

Mémoires d'Hadrien, Marguerite Yourcenar

On his deathbed, the emperor Hadrian tells the story of his life. Hadrian was the Roman Emperor who brought the Greek cultural heritage (art, philosophy, etc) into the Roman culture. This book is so well written, that it happened to me (more than once) to stop in awe after a particularly beautiful sentence and read it again.

Les bienveillantes, Jonathan Littell

gives a whole new perspective on the second world war. Crude but beautiful, extremely well written in french. Remarkable.

Les croisades vues par les Arabes, Amin Maalouf

very interesting and unusual perspective.

Science fiction novels

Dune, Frank Herbert

This is certainly my all-time favorite science fiction series. I must admit I read it when I was a teenager (who knows what I would think of it today), but I was mostly fascinated by the intricate geo-political games amongst the various contendents for power. I liked it so much that I read everything Frank Herbert has ever written and that I could lay my hands on (around 14 novels).

Adventure novels

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

Breathtaking story of an dramatic expedition to Mt Everest. Brilliant.

Dans le désordre

Patrick Suskind: Le parfum, La contrebasse
John Fante: Les compagnons de la grappe
Barjavel: Merlin l'enchanteur, La nuit des temps, L'immortalité
Mikhaïl Boulgakov: Le maître et Marguerite
Jean Cocteau: Les enfants terribles
Luis Sepulveda: Le vieux qui lisait des romans d'amour
Paul Auster: New York trilogy
Italo Calvino: Il cavaliere inesistante
Cordwainer Smith: Les seigneurs de l'instrumentalité (The instrumentality of Mankind)