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Finished up Bonfire of the Vanities.
Wow, first 100 pages? Hated them. I couldn't get into the book. I just thought it was 'oh, poor me' junk with some noble obligessesssez (I forgot how to spell it so I took lieberty (See what i did thar?) with its spelling) overlook of the various peoples of NYC. Lo and behold my hop to judgement (a truly babble trait) held me back from reading an awesome book. The plot line moves like lightning. None of the characters are loveable, they're all power-mad, alpha-male, look at my muscles, wallet or family credentials. All of the characters are just gradually broken up by their own doing. It was a really, really great and I have to suggest it to anyone. I've forced my mom to start reading it.
I have a whole skad of books that I've not read. I stuck my nose 200 pages in 'Krushev Remembers', his memoirs. I think it will be a good follow up to my summer-fall readings of 'In the Court of the Red Tsar' (highly suggested) and 'Stalin's Folley' (a very quick, enjoyable read). Both of which are interesting looks at the intricacies of the Soviet courtisans around Stalin, the perils that this honour bestowed upon its recipients, etc.
I've been looking at re-reading 'We' (hey, Beltov, I'm still pretty sure that my transliteration of the title from Russian as 'My' is correct ;)). But I also have the 'Lyre of Orpheus' I picked up in a 'please take my old books I don't want anymore' box. I also have been eyeing 'Man in the Iron Mask' or perhaps something else. I just borrowed 'Shutter Island' from a friend.
Bah, so little time. I also have 'Female Chauvinist Pigs' on hold at the ol' librarium.
Raj Patel's The Value of Nothing:Why Everything Costs So Much More Than We Think (2009)
This is a primer on the history of economic thought as well as a revelation about the hidden environmental and social costs of everything in our market driven world...the true cost of that hamburger may approach $200. This reader was reminded that the labour theory of value more closely resembles the true cost of things, while learning that Adam Smith's idea of value was distorted by those who required a single, neat interpretation. Just as the "invisible hand" - really Smith's explanation for the way in which merchants/manufacturers buying from each other locally, gave a "hand up" to local industry - was mystified by the market economists who followed.
Patel's work is dependent on economic history, but he uses it to ask the big political questions of today, like a section on "Whence the Countermovement?": "Governments don't float above market society - they're embedded in it, and the recent economic crisis demonstrated this amply. In one international survey, 63 per cent of people thought that their governments were run in the service of 'big interests' as opposed to the 30 per cent who thopught governments served the will of the people. In almost every country, those polled wanted their governments to behave in ways that were more responsive to the people. An international survey of more than 29,000 people undertaken by the BBC relealed that two out of three respondents said there there was a need to transform the internaional and domestic economic systems. The world is ready for change.
"But here's the darker part of the story. The people under those governments, you and me, are also part of the market society. There is no position from which, untainted by the world around it, some everlasting truth can guide us to a brighter future...There can be 'community failure' just as there is market failure, in which minorities risk persecution or worse. The recent rise of far-right parties around the world - from India to Europe to the United States - can also be understood as the second part of a double movement. In the United States, Louis R.Andrews, chair of the National Policy Institute - an advocay group for white people - hoped to see 'the Republican Party destroyed, so it can be reborn as a party representing the interests of white people, and not entrenched corporate elites. Which, says Andrews, is why he voted for Obama."
I got a big bag of books. A lot of them are really good. I just dove into the Vonnegut I picked up (Timequake and Bluebeard) so that should last me about a week, before I hop to Stephenson's 'Cryptonomicon'.
I freakin' well read Freakonomics last week and am now reading Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb.
I freakin' well read Freakonomics last week
I freakin' well read Freakonomics last week
I couldn't do it. I tried. I just had no interest.
I'm re-reading E.P Thompson's, The Making of the English Working Class. I didn't finish the whole book last time around. It's about 1,000 pages and I'm 1/4 through it. I'm also reading Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind which is rather more difficult. Heh.
René Lévesque's Attendez que je me rappelle (1986) (Memoirs)
Number 1 ladies detective agency, a series. Anyone else read these?
I've read the first 6 or 7, I quite like them. A light read, but very charming. I've been meaning to pick up something from one of McCall Smith's other series, set in Scotland rather than Botswana.
I just finished Pullman's new novel, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. Loved it.
Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor. A light-hearted take on life on an Ontario Res (Curve Lake, the author's starting point), it gives the reader a look at today's understanding of the Trickster in aboriginal lore...and Hayden thanks Thomas King (among others) for helping him to understand the central figure in First Nations' mythology. Taylor, noted for his humour as a playwright, brings a very humourous "spirit" to the pages of his newest novel. He's also been appreciated for his non-fiction in works such as "Me Sexy". His scriptwriting goes back to The Beachcombers and North of 60.
The reader also gets an account of what residential schooling meant to the Ojibway of central Ontario...the humour there is strained.
The trickster. Thanks for that, George.