Friday, February 3, 2017

January's Best Reads

The New Year had a few disruptions to the reading schedule (trips to visit The Sole Heir in Connecticut and the Ancestral Units in Pennsylvania sandwiched around getting together with a half-million of our closest friends on the National Mall) but there was still time for some excellent reading.

Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen. It’s authors like Hiaasen who keep me looking for better ways to track and plan my reading. It had been several years since I read him, and he never disappoints me. This time he’s in the Florida Keys with a defrocked police detective who’s now a health inspector, a woman who crashes cars for a debt collector, a mobster, a guy who relocates beaches, and the “talent” and “brains” behind a reality show that might remind you of Duck Dynasty. Inspired satirical mayhem ensues.

The Big Short, Michael Lewis. There’s an old story about a man who’s walking into town to play poker. “Don’t you know that game’s rigged?” says a friend. “Yep,” says the man, “but it’s the only game in town.” Michael Lewis has a gift for explaining not only how the markets are rigged (in this case the bond market), but how not even the people doing the rigging really understand what’s going on. Raymond Chandler once wrote that it was not funny that a man should be killed, but it was often funny that he be killed for so little, and Lewis brings that to his tales. The crash of 2008 was a tragedy—many people who never stood to gain from the boom lost everything while those responsible walked away with millions—yet Lewis finds a way to get you to shake your head at characters Elmore Leonard would have a hard time coming up with. 

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