July 23rd, 2009

Caleb- snug as a bug!

I Love You, Beth Cooper

Book #26
I Love You, Beth Cooper
Larry Doyle
275 pages

Denis Cooverman wanted to say something really important in his high school graduation speech. So, in front of his 512 classmates and their 3,000 relatives, he announced:
It could have been such a sweet, romantic moment. Except that Beth, the head cheerleader, has only the vaguest idea who Denis is. And Denis, the captain of the debate team, is so far out of her league he is barely even the same species. And Kevin, Beth's remarkably large boyfriend, is in town on furlough from the United States Army.

This book was not what I expected. It wasn't the typical teenage antsy book that I thought it would be, which actually made it more interesting. I didn't care for the writing style at first, but it started to grow on me after a while.While I thought it was an interesting read, I think I might like the movie better.

Books read this year: 26/50.
Pages read this year: 9677/15000

BOOKS 26-30

BOOK 26: The Giver by Lois Lowry (Young Adults) yellow staryellow staryellow star
This easy to read book for young adults has some interesting themes through out. What is bad about living in the perfect world? I would recommend it for all age groups but the ending is very ambiguous.

BOOK 27: Breaking the Spell by Jane Stock (Auto biography) yellow staryellow staryellow star
This book is about what happens when you hand over your personal power to a religious organisation. In particular it follows Jane's life under the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (the orange people). It takes a long time for her to accept that following the group without question can lead to some very dark places.

BOOK 28: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (social issues) yellow staryellow staryellow staryellow staryellow star
Best book I have read this year. Absolutely fascinating insight into the story of success. What makes a successful person? I would recommend this book to everyone. Malcolm is a great writer and I will be reading another of his books shortly.

BOOK 29: Under the banner of heaven by Jon Krakauer yellow staryellow star
Another book exploring the dark side of religion. It explains how the new religion of The Church of the Latter Day Saints came into being. How that church was affected by politicians into changing their beliefs. Also slightly explores the concept of what is insanity and what is a religious calling. Unfortunately it is not written very well and gets a little boring in places.

BOOK 30: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Paranormal romance) yellow star
The book started well but ended up quite boring. The story didn't really go anywhere. I am glad to have finally finished the series.
  • Current Mood
    satisfied satisfied

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. It's about a girl named Susie Salmon who is raped and murdered when she's fourteen by one of her neighbors. She then tells the story in first person as she watches down on her family from heaven.

Throughout this book, you'll go through a huge range of emotions. I felt outraged in some parts, tentative in others, and almost cried in a few sections (although it's almost impossible for me to cry because of books or movies). The characters are very real, they have personalities, and the situations are things that I can imagine happening in the real world.

The novel also has a lot of suspense as the search for Susie's murderer progresses throughout the book. As the reader you find yourself rooting the family on (because the reader is aware of who the killer is from the very start) as their suspicions get closer and closer to the truth.

I thought it had a pretty satisfying ending, although I wish certain characters hadn't made some of the decisions that they did. Overall, a good read.


20 down

Live Through This

What caught my eye was the title of this new memoir is the title of a favorite album from about a decade ago. The memoir exposes an Oregon woman's struggle to find and rehabilitate her runaway daughters. The memoir asks more questions than it answers. I would have been more interested hearing the daughters' voices because ultimately, the mother remains confused about the origin of this problem. Its dark and difficult, exactly like many families' journeys.


Michael Shermer's The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape our Economic Lives attempts to combine insights from behavioral economics, complexity theory, and game theory to suggest that people can learn from their interactions in such a way as to improve collective outcomes. He's open about suggesting that behavioral economics and complexity theory need not have as their sole normative implications some sort of paternalism or some sort of philosopher-kings to address coordination failures. Book Review No. 22 suggests that while attempts to square a libertarian approach to public policy with a model of human behavior that is not the calculating machine of vulgar homo economicus is worth doing, the work is more useful (perhaps fittingly for the current affairs columnist of Scientific American) as a sociable rebuttal to the popular works on behavioral economics that draw a more collectivist normative implication than it is as a basis for economic research.

That research remains to be done, but it requires a lot more by way of formal development. Surveys that suggest people react differently to perceived gains than they do to perceived (despite being equivalent) losses require something better than a Friedman-Savage squiggly utility function before the work can begin. That complexity theory has a lot in common with Austrian market models also requires additional work. The reader of The Mind of the Market will find more by way of puzzles than solutions, although that might be a good place to start for a research project in the history of economic thought, or perhaps an extension of game theory or of decision making with uncertainty.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)