Books I am reading now
Ron Suskind – The One Percent Doctrine
Whereas previously, I only hypothesized that the President routinely eschewed reason and made decisions based on pre-concieved ideology, now I have some substantiation.
Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita
Gautam was right. “You want to lick the words right off of the page.” Nabokov is an absolute artist with the English language. This book is funny, absurd, arousing, tragic, amusing, and incredibly hard to put down.
Books I have read recently
Gary C. Schroen – First In
Schroen is a CIA commander who airlifts into Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 to secure the allegiance of several Northern Alliance warlords. He writes with a good voice, and the topic is interesting. ****
Barbara Ehrenreich – Nickled and Dimed
Ehrenrenreich is a journalist who goes “undercover” to work and survive on low-wage jobs. This book was good enough to make it to the end, but not a must-read by any account. It’s a good read if you want to gain perspective into the life of a person who is working poor, without actually diving into such an unpleasant experiment yourself. ***
Ian Kerner – She Comes First
Don’t take my word for it. Read this book, and then ask your girlfriend for the review. ****
Al Franken – Lies and the Lying Liras Who Tell Them
Franken is AWESOME. Hilarious and pointed. *****
Kurt Vonnegut – A Man Without a Country
An unususal non-fiction offering by Vonnegut. Kind of a loose retrospective. I read it on the plane coming back from Texas. Nothing special. Read Breakfast of Champions instead. *
Eric Schlosser – Reefer Madness
Fascinating and engaging stories; extremely well researched. This book is 3 essays on vices which have a thriving black market in America – Marijuana, Porn, and Immigrant Labor. I have recommended this book countless times. ****
James Whyte – Crimes Against Logic
Routine treatise on logical argument. Pretty dry. Reasonably short. **
Eric Schlosser – Fast Food Nation
You have to love reading Eric Schlosser. This book gives a great history of fast food chains in the U.S., traces the plants, animals, and chemicals that become fast food, and tells some personal stories of fast food workers. I liked it a lot. Especially interesing is his discussion of artificial flavor. ****
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – Freakonomics
This book is popular for a reason. Lots of well-reasoned analysis of mondern day life and human behavior. Good voice. ****
Books I have started and not finished
Various – Twilight of Empire: Response to Occupation
This book is pretty depressing. I don’t any reinforcement to think that the Iraq war is a misguided, mismanaged fiasco.
John McCain – Character is Destiny
I oredered this from Amazon after seeing McCain on The Daily Show. Why did I actually think I wanted to read this book?
Jim Hightower – Thieves in High Places
Next to Franken, this is less funny and more flimsy. Read Franken instead.
Virginia Postrel – The Substance of Style
The subject matter is interesting, but about half-way through the book, I could no longer stand the author’s writing style. Let’s play a game: How many times repeat the same idea in one poorly organized chapter? Hmm, even tthat’s a waste of time. Let’s read a book that’s well written.
George Riley Scott – The History of Prostitution
This book is hilariosly unsubstantiated. The author makes sweeping generalizations on almost every page and uses them to build an argument. I might come back to this one because it is so amusingly uneducational.
Barry Schwartz – The Paradox of Choice
The Paradox of Choice is one of those books you can judge by the cover. I absorbed the entire thesis of the book by reading the jacket. I’m not even really sure why it takes so many pages to make the point.
Sam Harris – The End of Faith
Harris is unashamed in criticizing religion. But I am not really engaged. This book for me is like preaching to the chior, only the opposite of that. After the first few chapters, I was not biting.