July 6th, 2010

Dead Dog Cat

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Last night I finished reading a short story collection called What Might Have Been: Alternate Wars which I found...fair. I'd seen a couple of the stories elsewhere, and a few of the others didn't impress me.

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As I type this out, I'm watching Interview With A Vampire. It makes me wonder if any of you have read these books, and your opinion of them?

16. Inkspell- Cornelia Funke. As a lover of childrens fantasy, I can't help but love a story based on characters who can jump into books. This is the sequel to Inkheart. And I can't wait for the last volume.

17. The Man In The High Castle- Philip K. Dick. I'm still trying to finalise my opinion on this. I wish it hadn't been my first Dick. But very interesting. It's an idea of what the world could have been like, if WWII had ended differently.

18. Tangerine- Edward Bloor. Re-read for me. A dark young adult book. A middle school boy has been bullied by his older brother for years. But a move offers him a new start. He starts to fit in and make friends. But trouble with his brother eventually forces him to chose if he will stand up for his friends and himself, or let his brother keep up his bullying.

19. Catch-22- Joseph Heller. Scattered, but very entertaining. Fictional, humourous accounts of war. My favourite was Milo, who spends his time in service buying and selling everything from produce to cotton, convincing everyone that it's for the good of all.

20. The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. My boyfriend convinced me to try these. I'm liking these pretty well so far. They will probably be my only King books. But the idea of a man who is like a knight set in an old west type background, throwing in some crazy characters for good measure. Creepy in parts, it's still more adventure than horror.

Book 7: Freakonomics

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt [link]

I first heard about this book at a meeting of my school's Economics Club. I'm majoring in economics and am always on the lookout for interesting books on the subject. I found Freakonomics to be a really interesting look at how economics is hidden in everyday situations. Since finishing the book, I've been keeping up with the Freakonomics blog as well, where furhter situations of hidden economics is discussed.

From a review on Amazon, some of the topics discussed in the book: "The penetrating analyses provided by Levitt appear to have no bounds as he identifies Chicago teachers, who were proven to be changing their students' test answers and ultimately fired for their actions; sumo wrestlers who were found to be cheating as well; and even the alternative and more lucrative career options that crack dealers may have at McDonald's versus making sales. He even questions the impact of a good first name in a person's later life and if children become more literate if their parents read to them."

Up Next: Another update...

7 / 50 books ~ 14% done!

2171 / 15000 pages ~ 14% done!

Book 8: Every Last One

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen [link]

I saw this book on the bestsellers list and the good reviews it got on Amazon and decided to give it a read. Definitely not the experience I thought it was going to be. The first half and second half of the book seemed to be pretty disconnected, and the first half moved sooooo slowly, I was almost going to give it up. Looking back, I'm glad I stuck with it, but it just wasn't what I expected it to be. I don't want to be too specific or spoil any of it.

From an Amazon review: "In "Every Last One," the story is narrated by Mary Beth Latham, mother of three. She has a faithful, stoic husband, her own business in gardening, and yet, this mom is feeling the slightest hints of emptiness, loneliness, as her children grow up and away. "Every Last One" is full of emotional moments and insights into the way women bond and think.

Up Next: One more update...

8 / 50 books ~ 16% done!

2470 / 15000 pages ~ 16% done!

Book 9: Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely [link]

As I mentioned in my post about Freakonomics, I'm an economics major on the lookout for interesting books about the subject. One area I economics I find particularly fascinating is behavioral economics. Predictably Irrational is an incredably interesting and well-written book exploring behavioral economics and why people behave in an irrational matter. This book would be interesting to anyone, not just those interested in the subject area. I definitely recommend it.

From an Amazon review: In the book, Ariely explains some of the factors that influence our decisionmaking: from the influence of emotions to the sometimes agonising choice between options; the pitfalls of procrastination and the lure of free offers. And why is it that we are often perfectly willing to do something for nothing, but not if payment is involved? From the discussion of the creation of a market for black pearls through discussion of types of dishonesty, Ariely provides insights into human behaviour, in many cases backed by experiments that have tested his hypotheses.

Up Next: Not sure what I'll read next, but I currently have a couple books checked out from the library.

9 / 50 books ~ 18% done!

2774 / 15000 pages ~ 18% done!


It's a little easier to type, although I continue to be preoccupied. Here's the second quarter report for 2010. Please follow the link for the date the report was posted to read the diary entry, or book review, at Fifty Book Challenge. I evaluated some books as particularly good (+) or particularly bad (-).

  1. The Big Short, 28 April 2010. (+)
  2. How Obama, Congress, and the Special Interests are Transforming ... A Slump into a Crash, Freedom into Socialism, and a Disaster into a CATASTROPHE ... And How to Fight Back, 29 April 2010. (-)
  3. Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula: Cures Many Mathematical Ills, 8 June 2010.
  4. Shutter Island, 10 June 2010.
  5. Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, 17 June 2010.
  6. The Roller Coaster Economy: Financial Crisis, Great Recession, and the Public Option, 19 June 2010.
  7. The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It, 21 June 2010.

The bookworm has added a few segments. Still no promise of making fifty by year's end.


(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
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