Recent Books

* “Appointment in Samarra”:amazon by John O’Hara. Great look at smalltown society — the machinations, the viciousness, the artificial stratifications. A much better book than “The Great Gatsby”:amazon, maybe because the setting maps better to my hometown.
* “The Truth (With Jokes)”:amazon by Al Franken. Al has done more to move me towards a more liberal viewpoint than anyone. He cracks me up. His attacks on corrupt and two-faced politicians are truly hilarious. Delay and Frist take a beating. He does go in the ditch on social security funding — Al is not much of an economist or mathematician, the notion of “present value” completely escapes him. And somehow he thinks that there is a real fund backing social security — somehow it is ok with him that the social security “fund” is fully invested in US treasury securities; this is to me akin to the GM pension fund being 100% invested in GM stock, a practice which has been judged to be very bad. I actually agree with most of Al’s views on social security funding but he really botches his handling of this discussion. But when he sticks to character and integrity issues, he is generally dead on. And he throws in just enough humility and self-deprecating humour to make himself credible.
* “The Wrong Side of Paris”:amazon by Honore de Balzac. Outstanding book. A great break from American and British period fiction — the moral calculus of the characters is so different. You have to wonder why we are seeing the 97th remake of pride and prejudice in the theatres, why is no one dipping into this vein of literature. Ok I am ignorant about the french film making industry, maybe this story has been filmed 6 times.
* Oh and a list — the top 20 geek novels. I’ve read too many.