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Unrelated Content: Influential books of fiction

I'm going to be honest. I am tired of writing about Paul Hewitt and Georgia Tech basketball. The horse has been beaten to a pulp and I'd like to go on a completely different path and get some interaction from you out there.

A few weeks ago, Chris from SmartFootball went completely unrelated and talked about his top-ten most influential books. DawgSports also continued the trend. It's a good and fun idea, so I thought I'd bring it over to our site and see what the "techies" think.

For me, most of the books I have read are mainly fiction because that is what I tend to enjoy the most and I think you'll see a trend in the themes of the books on my list. What kicked off all my reading was one day in high school I saw the "banned books list" from some time in the past and picked books off that list that I wanted to read for pleasure. Reading off that list opened my eyes to subjects and worlds that were shocking and astounding and well worth the reads. Still the stereotypical engineer today, I continue to look for underlying themes in the books I read. I try to find the symbols and motifs and analyze and dissect the author's meaning.

My least favorite books, books that absolutely drain the soul out of you are: Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, and The Great Gatsby. Those are horrible books and not surprisingly were all assigned books.

So, in no particular order, here are my top 10 favorite fictional books:

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I love satire and this story reeks of it. Catch-22 is by far my favorite book. I have read it at least 5 times. Humor and biting sarcasm are both evident and it all wraps into a story that comes together in the end and makes you feel how bad war really is.

2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I read this book by choice a long time ago and enjoyed it (some people just can't stand the book). I think it was the whole living on an island and surviving aspect. This book was also one of the first novels that opened my eyes to the art of symbolism such as all the characters represent a form of government that Great Britain was dealing with at the time of publication.

3. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I was first introduced to William Faulkner when I read the short story "A Rose for Emily" where the protagonist poisons the man that she fancies. Faulkner's use of death and just absolute weirdness in the South is just what I said, weird.

4. Candide by Voltaire. Satire! Satire! Satire! You have a priest that has syphilis, Amazon women who have monkey-lovers all mixed in with the Spanish Inquisition just to name a few. What more can you want?

5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Say what you want about stereotypical "coming of age" book or South Park's show about it on Wednesday, but hey I enjoyed it. I think it was the first time I saw the F-bomb in print.

6. Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt  Vonnegut. Satire rears its ugly head again! Weird and funny in a sick manner. Then it makes you think. The background to Vonnegut's books are interesting as well. They all have the same theme and revolve around his real-life experiences of WW2.

7. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest HemingwayHemingway wrote about "manly men" in these stories. The outdoors, war, and women are all included.

8. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway is my favorite author because of his completely unique sense of style. Ex: The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves. This is all one sentence because IT'S ALL HAPPENING AT THE SAME TIME!!! So random but yet I love how he does this.

9. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. Great book. Absolutely fantastic.

10. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Written from the German point of view about WW1 and the horrors of it.

I just picked up Orwell's 1984 for the first time and we'll see where that book stands.

 What books do yall like to dust off and read again and again? Or am I one of the few engineers who read? Did you agree with the theme in your book or do you honestly just like the story?