Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Eytan Kollin

Eytan Kollin is co-author of The Unincorporated Man and a teacher of history, government and economics currently living in Pasadena, California. His hobbies include historical reenactments, chess, and battle recreation with historical melee weapons.

Recently, I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Because I don’t just read for entertainment I’ll often find myself with a book that I normally wouldn’t be inclined to read. On the plus side as science fiction author I get the pleasure of reading a vast amount of S.F. and get to call it 'research.’

That being said, I’m currently reading three books and just finished the last of Kage Baker's 'Company' novels. I like a series that takes time to develop well and Baker’s was certainly one of them. Of particular interest in the Company novels was its unique take on both time travel and causality and what happens when these seemingly opposing forces bounce off each other. The great thing about any series is continuity of characters and situations because if you’re invested in both you don’t want either to end! Of course I don't feel the need for them to go on forever either (e.g. how many Remo Williams books does a man need to read? – Because I’m thinking the first eighty-seven pretty much gets you the gist). Back to Kage, though; her ten Company novels were each long enough to regret them going away but not so long that I wondered why I soldiered on.

The first book I’m reading is called, Law in America. It's a review of how our current laws developed in conjunction with, yet in opposition to, English Common Law. This is definitely not one I’d normally pick up as it is a bit dry. But some of the stories my brother and I write contain legalese and books like this help me glean extra knowledge and allow me to percolate more ideas for more complex scenes.

The second book I’m reading is, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. I’ve read around this book all my life. By that I mean I’ve read passages from, critiques for, defenses of and citations over again from different parts of this work (similar to the relationship many people have with the Bible). If I’d like to consider myself an economist and capitalist I’d better understand the foundations. This is my current 'carry' book in that I carry it around with me pretty much all the time—in my car or luggage or satchel, (which my brother insists on calling a man-bag, but let's get real, guys it's a purse). If I accidentally leave my current read somewhere, (which happens allot), I always have the ‘carry book.’ Generally I’ll highlight the heck out of it and then I’ll go back and reread what I’ve marked. Naturally a carry book takes awhile to finish, but that’s what’s good about it—it leaves me plenty of time to absorb it properly.

The third book I’m reading is John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars. Scalzi is a successful SF author and as such is on my shortlist of authors that should be read just see what they’re doing right. And reading this one it’s easy to see why he’s doing so well. Scalzi writes in a wonderfully conducive manner that allows you to get sucked into the story.
Visit The Unincorporated Man website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue