Monday, April 01, 2013

Library Nominees

Pardon the scarce posts these past few days.  We've been busy with home-improvement projects and have had our nose in some books.

First - two books that we had high hopes for that didn't make the grade.

The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes.  We closed this book after two chapters.  Not sure if it was the author's writing style or the fact she would put 3+ names into a sentence, or both.  The book has a great reputation and we were looking forward to it, but it did not seem worth the effort.  We might try it again at a later date.

The President's Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy.  Here is an interesting collection of presidential handoffs and partnerships.  The idea that presidents lean on their predecessors for advice and understanding is both admirable and worthy of a book.  But... while we'd love to read about non-partisan partnerships between presidents and their living predecessors, it pales in seriousness when compared to today's issues of $16 trillion debt, murdered ambassadors, and the purchase of 1.6 billion bullets for domestic pacification.  Sorry - the feel-good stuff is a luxury.

But we just finished two great books and have started a third.

Cubanos In Wisconsin by Silvio Canto Jr.  What a wonderful book!  You can read this story in a day. You will get a young boy's perspective of the Batista - Castro transition in Cuba.  You will read about changes in his father's career, changes in his mother's spending priorities, changes in his neighborhood, and changes in his diet when that country goes full communist.  You will also read about the stress of fleeing the country and the charity of so many to make the trip possible.  You will not be disappointed with this book, and we'd suggest it as a 'starter' book for those interested in learning more about Communism.  We recommend reading it with a McDonald's chocolate milkshake.  A hearty Ushanka Tip to Captain Capitalism for the recommendation.  We have added this book to our Library at the left.

Street Freak by Jared Dillian is a bit outside our normal reading, but we're glad we took the detour.  Jared was a trader at Lehman Brothers.  He witnessed 9-11, the Enron and Worldcom frauds, and foresaw the housing/subprime disasters.  You'll get a feel for the crude topics that traders are known for - it is almost an exclusively male industry - and you'll get a feel for the demands and pace of action in the investment banking world.  Jared suffers from a serious psychological illness and shares this affliction in great detail.  You can read this book to know the mind of a very focused and competitive man, to learn more about the banking problems of 2008, or to better understand psychological stress and illness.  The author has a great sense of humor too, so it is hard to think anyone would be disappointed with this book.

We just started Matthew Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic.  The story in this 2003 book is not unlike the recent gun-control debate.  You'll get the perspectives of both government agencies and gun owners.  We're not sure where this book is going, but we are on the edge of our seat.  It is the first of three books in a series.

Hearst Castle Library photos from 90Ninety Miles from Tyranny.


Dennis said...

Do try The Forgotten Man again. It took me a couple of try but is well worth it.
Dennis in Iowa

Karl said...

Thanks Dennis for your comment and encouragement. I've heard too many good things about that book to not try again.

I've also seen an article or two in the WSJ(?) by the author and found her to be one to respect and follow.

I'm guessing the author was 'setting the table' with the early chapters and it'll be a fun read thereafter.