Nov 06

 jurassic park

November, 1990 – I was working in a small independent bookstore in my hometown. We had received our copies of the NEIBA Holiday Catalog, a full-color listing of the big books for that holiday season. In the catalog I saw a listing for a new book coming out: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. There was a short description – maybe a sentence long – but it was enough to get me so excited that I stopped by the store every day after school, even if I wasn’t scheduled to work. Some might say that makes me a bit of a geek, but I say it’s a testament to the imagination of Michael Crichton.

I’m sure by now most of you have heard that Mr. Crichton passed away this week. Many news services and blogs have done a great job of summarizing travelsthe career of this legendary author, so I won’t do that here. Instead I’ll share a little of my reader’s history with Mr. Crichton. Jurassic Park sent me onto a Crichton reading streak that saw me devour, in quick succession, The Andromeda Strain, Congo and Sphere. I think the book I most enjoyed was one many may not know about: Travels. This was Mr. Crichton’s memoir-of-sorts. In it he delves into the realm of psychics and exorcists, he describes his medical training, and recounts his many treks around the world, to places such as Tahiti, Malaysia, the Caribbean and Pakistan. And, it has one of the best first lines of a book: "It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw…" [FYI: This was part of his medical training!]

If you’ve never read Michael Crichton before, I’d say Travels is a great book to begin with, and now is a good time to start.
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We encourage you to write down or print out the title information and shop at your local bookstore. Titles link to LibraryThing, a social networking site that allows you to catalog your home library. LibraryThing also links to various online purchasing options. Here are the books from this post:
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, Ballantine mass market
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, Avon mass market
Congo by Michael Crichton, Avon mass market
Sphere by Michael Crichton, Ballantine mass market
Travels by Michael Crichton, Harper trade paperback 
(all information is for the U.S. editions).

  • http://donstuff.wordpress.com donstuff

    I actually winced when I read the quote from Travels.
    Yet… you’ve intrigued me. Thanks.

  • http://donstuff.wordpress.com donstuff

    I actually winced when I read the quote from Travels.
    Yet… you’ve intrigued me. Thanks.

  • http://www.booksonthenightstand.com Michael

    I actually debated about whether to put in the next line, which is no less wince-inducing (how’s that for a tease?), but it’s a great book if the very descriptive medical stuff!

  • http://www.booksonthenightstand.com Michael

    I actually debated about whether to put in the next line, which is no less wince-inducing (how’s that for a tease?), but it’s a great book if the very descriptive medical stuff!

  • http://www.mayfairstationers.co.uk Nome

    Intresting reading !

  • http://www.mayfairstationers.co.uk Nome

    Intresting reading !

  • Kristen

    I remember the day I heard that Michael Crichton passed away. I was driving and they had just announced it on NPR. I had to pull over and take a moment of silence. I began my long readership of Crichton with the Andromeda Strain in my early teens. I think it was a school assignment! So far and strange from some of his later books! At the time, I wasn’t ready to read more, but I remember being haunted by that book. It was written so well, I felt like I had read a fable. Years later, I think it must have been after I had some success in reading, believe it or not, a novel version of Aliens, without disappointment, I decided to read Jurassic Park, after the movie came out. And then I had to reread it because it was so good! It was difficult to explain to those who had not yet read the book how Crichton had woven so much together so well! Just to give you some idea how different this book is from the movie — it’s dedicated to a mathematician and his work (chaos theory). Crichton makes you feel like you understand chaos theory by the end of the novel.

    After Jurassic Park, I began a couple of years of wonderful reading. I went through every single book he had written. It was delightful! As I mentioned recently in recommending Michael Crichton for airplane reading, he’s like Encyclopedia Brown for adults. I loved how much I could learn from his books. He would teach the reader about a couple of chosen subjects, he would philosophize, and then he’d throw in some thrilling car chases, espionage, or dinosaurs worth making into a blockbuster film. This is the man who created E.R. and Twister.

    And Travels. I highly recommend Travels. Reading about where he came from is as interesting as reading about the worlds he creates.

    It’s hard to accept that we have lost Michael Crichton. My only consolation in not being able to see any additional works published by him is the hope that more people will enjoy reading him as I have. I hope I will hear in the future how he has driven others to read more and more as he once had that effect on me.

  • Kristen

    I remember the day I heard that Michael Crichton passed away. I was driving and they had just announced it on NPR. I had to pull over and take a moment of silence. I began my long readership of Crichton with the Andromeda Strain in my early teens. I think it was a school assignment! So far and strange from some of his later books! At the time, I wasn’t ready to read more, but I remember being haunted by that book. It was written so well, I felt like I had read a fable. Years later, I think it must have been after I had some success in reading, believe it or not, a novel version of Aliens, without disappointment, I decided to read Jurassic Park, after the movie came out. And then I had to reread it because it was so good! It was difficult to explain to those who had not yet read the book how Crichton had woven so much together so well! Just to give you some idea how different this book is from the movie — it’s dedicated to a mathematician and his work (chaos theory). Crichton makes you feel like you understand chaos theory by the end of the novel.

    After Jurassic Park, I began a couple of years of wonderful reading. I went through every single book he had written. It was delightful! As I mentioned recently in recommending Michael Crichton for airplane reading, he’s like Encyclopedia Brown for adults. I loved how much I could learn from his books. He would teach the reader about a couple of chosen subjects, he would philosophize, and then he’d throw in some thrilling car chases, espionage, or dinosaurs worth making into a blockbuster film. This is the man who created E.R. and Twister.

    And Travels. I highly recommend Travels. Reading about where he came from is as interesting as reading about the worlds he creates.

    It’s hard to accept that we have lost Michael Crichton. My only consolation in not being able to see any additional works published by him is the hope that more people will enjoy reading him as I have. I hope I will hear in the future how he has driven others to read more and more as he once had that effect on me.

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