To follow up on my blog ‘In defence of books’, for those of you going off on a summer break, here’s some book suggestions, since I’ve decided that there is a future for books. Each one of these involves a character who uses the Internet (or its future form), usually illegally, but for good purposes (although not always). Reading these may be what the British call a bus driver’s holiday (taking a bus tour), but they are all well worth reading by anyone who lives and works with computers and the Internet.

Cory Doctorow’s ‘Little Brother’ (2008): about M1k3y, a high school online games player in San Francisco who uses the Internet to fight back against the Department of Homeland Security when they start locking everyone up in the name of ‘security.’ Great summer reading with authentic Internet ‘hacks’ and a disturbing plot. Which leads me to:

George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Yes, you’ve probably read it before, many years ago, but read it again today, in the light of current developments. Do you still feel safe?

Watch again on DVD the original 1999 movie ‘The Matrix’, then read: William Irwin (editor) (2002) Philosophy and the Matrix The book is a serious take by philosophers on the issues raised in the movie, and great fun to read. If you weren’t paranoid up to now, you certainly will be now!

To re-enter a slightly more real, but equally awful, world, follow the adventures of Lisbeth Salander, the world’s most famous fictional hacker, in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, ‘The Girl who played with Fire’, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’. The ‘hacking’ doesn’t come over as authentic as in ‘Little Brother’, but the books are great escape.

Lastly, if you really, really can’t leave work alone when on holiday, try:

Nicola Whitton (2010) Learning With Digital Games New York/London: Routledge. This is a practical guide to engaging students in higher education, which looks at the theory, practice and technology of digital games in higher education. This is an excellent introduction to the topic with lots of practical suggestions.

If you have any other suggestions for light but fun, Internet-based books, please add them to the list.

And have a great holiday.


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