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A Few More Books

June 28, 2011

Well I’ve continued reading a pretty good bit while I’ve been here so I thought I’d share with you what I’ve read the past few weeks:

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville– A short story about an oddball copier.  Quite good and is talked about a lot so I thought I’d read it.

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville- Another short story.  It was next in the book that had Bartleby so I read it.  Was about a ship captain, Benito Cereno, a ship captain who has had and continued to have some major problems.  Also quite good, it had a great twist near the end.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau-As most of you probably know this is about Thoreau’s two year stint in the wild by Walden pond.  What you don’t know is how boring the middle of this book is.  He goes on and on about 1. how beautiful everything is, 2. how we don’t need any of our modern conveniences–yet he needs a lamp and books for reading, etc.  3. how great he is, mainly by pointing out the deficiencies in everyone else.  All of that would probably be fine in moderation, but there really was just too much of it for me.  Read the beginning and conclusion, which are well worth reading, and maybe one chapter in between and you will know as much as anyone who professes to love the book.

On Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau-This essay almost makes up for Walden.  It is very good.  He makes a persuasive case against government because of the way it corrupts the conscience and can kill individual liberty.  It’s fairly concise, at least by his standards and I was just glad he wasn’t talking anymore about how Walden pond looked in the most obscure conditions he could think of.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay-So the next two books are what inspired the tv show Dexter, which I watched this year.  It comes on Showtime and is fantastic.  It’s about a guy, Dexter, who is a blood splatter analyst of the Miami PD, but also a serial killer who only kills the really bad guys.  As a character, Dexter is fascinating.  The books are told in his perspective and we usually get his thoughts, along with a lot of wit.  They are very good and read like a Ludlum book, but with a little more humor.

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely-This is Ariely’s second book, his first was Predictably Irrational.  Both deal with “behavioral economics” and how we sometimes do things that when judged from a perfectly efficient point of view are not rational.  Very interesting book with topics like online dating, CEO bonuses, and adapting.

White Noise by Don DeLillo-Was the national book award winner in 1985, and DeLillo had some other books that were pretty highly acclaimed as well.  The book itself was about consumer/media frenzied society of America along with how some people deal with death.  That sounds pretty morbid and at times it was–not really until the second half of the book, but it was also very intriguing.  The copy of the book I had also contained some critical reviews of his book which probably made me appreciate the book more than I would have without it, either way it was worth reading.  It starts a little slow, but gets better.

Economic Calculation in a Socialist Commonwealth by Ludwig von Mises–Is an essay rather than a book, probably only about 25 pages.  In it Mises goes on the assumption that people’s minds have changed and they will work as hard as they can according to their ability for whatever the socialist government sees fit to give them.  Then he shows how socialism still cannot work because no price system that works with socialism allows for economic calculation and even if there was such a thing it could not be coordinated with the central authority in order for them to make decisions.  That’s the short of it.

All of this was possible because I bought a nook right before leaving for India.  It’s very light, easy to use, easy to read from, and most important there are tons of books that can be gotten free either from the library or from online sites, it’s great, especially when you are in India and don’t exactly have a plethora of books to choose from.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. P Jennings permalink
    June 28, 2011 7:20 pm

    Thought I would give you a few suggestions we talked about at the beach:
    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    Nickeled and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America
    The Other Wes More (true story about two brothers who grew up very differently)
    I don’t know if you can get these on your Nook, but you can try. They are fairly recent, so you may have to buy them.
    Happy Reading!

  2. July 2, 2011 3:33 am

    go caleb!!! We are all having a great time reading your blog here at snack night with Laura, Sarah, Cambo and Stumbo! WAHOOOOOO!!!!!!

    • July 4, 2011 7:21 am

      Yum, Amanda and I were talking last night about how good some empanadas would be!…or some scones!

  3. July 14, 2011 8:40 am

    I’ve read the first one!

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