3 Following


Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future - Robert B. Reich Pretty good book. Even for someone like me who doesn't enjoy reading about economics all that much. He presents everything in a fairly simple way and at only 146 actual pages it's not a grueling read. I strongly disagree with a couple of the measures he proposes in the 'What Should Be Done' portion of Part III but his overall assessment of our current situation, and the eventual consequences, seem hard to contest.

Welcome to Utopia: Notes from a Small Town

Welcome to Utopia: Notes from a Small Town - Karen Valby I grew up in a small town (and hated it) so I had a hard time liking a single person in this book. The book's aimlessness and simplicity mirrored the subjects with which the author interacted. Which isn't her fault necessarily but my ambivalence towards all these people's lives made this a slow read for me. I thought she wrote well and told a good story, though. Unfortunately there's only so much one can do with notes from a small town.

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society - Manning Marable I don't know if I just really had trouble finding the time for this book but it took me much longer to finish than any other book I've recently read. And I wanted to really like it but there were just too many places where it lagged or bogged down on statistical data. I realize it's important to back up your thesis with some hard numbers, when you can, but I felt it was a little excessive in some places. Like several consecutive paragraphs of just straight statistics. Most of which could have been left to the 30 pages of tables in the back of the book. Still it was a good read. If it's a subject you're interested in then you'll most likely enjoy it. I definitely learned some things I didn't know or hadn't realized about black history, racism and even sexism. It would be nice to have read "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" as a point of comparison but unfortunately I haven't gotten to that yet. I recommend the updated edition because of the "Critical Reassessment" by the author. He addresses the ways in which he may have been wrong at the time but also the ways in which much of it is still an accurate evaluation.


Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Christopher Hitchens I'm torn between giving this 2 or 3 stars. I went ahead and gave it three because it is a remarkable story and I do very much respect what she has lived through. But man do I disagree with much of her opinions. I have no problem with her using her autobiography as a platform for her own political views because, after all, it is her book but I do think she is very wrong in those views. You basically have a person that was brought up to be a religious fanatic and by the end of the book she has rid herself of this crazy belief system just to be applying for a job with the American Enterprise Institute. All things considered, it just didn't seem like she really grew all that much as a person. She started out intolerant and by the end she's only slightly less so. Only now she directs her intolerance towards Muslims and poor people rather than those outside of Islam. A bigot in a different way in my opinion. I'm sorry but this idea that Islam is any worse (or better) than any other religion is ridiculous. She says Islam is about submission to God while other faiths are not. Apparently she has never been to Catholic school or been to a Southern Baptist church. All faiths if adhered to strictly excuse and/or prescribe violence against women and nonbelievers. This isn't JUST an Islamic problem. It's really just a question of application. Anyway I feel like I'm rambling on now so let me just say I did like this book. It's a compelling story. There is no denying that. But I feel the conclusions that the author and Christopher Hitchens come to about Muslims and their source of suffering are a little oversimplified. Still it's worth reading if you are into biographies and autobiographies.

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America

The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush's America - Frank Rich Good book. Probably the biggest reason I don't rate this much higher has more to do with my late reading of the book. It being 2012 and all there isn't much of this that isn't common knowledge if you've even been half listening to current events. So really had I read this sooner I might have enjoyed it more but at this late a date it was a little more boring than it should have been. I did find the timeline in the back a big help for quick reference to events as they happened. Also I think the epilogue was pretty spot on. If nothing else I say check this out at the library just for the last chapter and timeline. Unless you really want to make your way through an extremely detailed play by play of the Bush administration's blunders where the war in Iraq is concerned.


Savages - Don Winslow I was a little worried, at first, about the obnoxious California acronyms but it turned out to be a pretty good little read. Fast paced and engaging. Actually found it very amusing on a few occasions as well. Which is always good. I could have done without all the instances a phrase or word was repeated two or three times in a row but hey, no book is perfect. I look forward to seeing the movie a lot more than before I read this, I know that.


Dawn - Frances Frenaye, Elie Wiesel I found myself really really wanting to get to the end already. Not out of suspense but more because I just wanted to be done with this book. I know that's not much of a review but it really just didn't grab me in the same way as Night. It was too short to really get a feel for even the main character but still really long for the fact that nothing really happened. Books like this just aren't my cup of tea I guess. A story, to me, should be more than just examining the "deep" self reflection of a character over the course of a few hours. I need a plot.

World As It IS

The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress - Chris Hedges I honestly didn't think anyone could be more depressing than Noam Chomsky but I was wrong. Now that doesn't mean I didn't love this book. I did. It's pretty much the best book I've read this year. But man is Hedges a downer. Still I love an author/journalist/commentator, whatever, who is willing to criticize just about anybody and everybody not based on an agenda but based on the morality of their actions. If you are into toeing the line of your respective political party, be it Red or Blue, you'll probably have a hard time with this book. But if you are willing to have an open mind you may enjoy what he has to say as much as I did. Or do. He has one chapter or article in here about secession which I found hard to digest but maybe that's one of those instances where I'm not being open minded enough. Other than that, though, there wasn't much written in this book that didn't speak to me.Oh and as others have mentioned you can read most of these articles online but I still very much recommend having them all in one place. Here is one of my favorites from the book...http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_tears_of_gaza_must_be_our_tears_20100809/

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury There isn't much use in reviewing this book in my opinion. Most people are going to read it for the same reason I did. It's a classic and you are supposed to read it. And having read it you'll be imbued with a deeper understanding of the world around you. Or something like that. So I'm not really here to keep anyone from reading it but I do want to let it be known that I thought this book was horrible. I only gave it two stars because the only other book I have rated at one star is Ann Coulter and it seemed wrong to lump Bradbury in with the likes of her. So there you have it. I'm not going to go into why I didn't like it because it's largely unimportant. It just wasn't that good of a book to me. And since I feel like I'm supposed to appreciate this literary work I find some satisfaction in letting that out.

Godless: The Church of Liberalism

Godless: The Church of Liberalism - Ann Coulter All I can say is, what a bitter and angry woman. I've always wondered, does she really believe what she is saying or is she only playing to that embittered white demographic for the cash. As petty and downright mean as she gets in her writing I have to believe she believes every word. Most of the time I was reading I couldn't help but think, u mad?

Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder

Brothers in Arms: The Kennedys, the Castros, and the Politics of Murder - Gus Russo, Stephen Molton This book was a joke. It is like the "he said, she said" of The Kennedy assassination. Some 400 or so pages in and I finally had to give up on it. And I now know to avoid anything by Gus Russo like the plague. As far as historical accuracy it felt like half the stuff in the book was made up. Every eye witness account is taken as the complete and honest truth. Well, that is unless it is coming from someone in Cuban who isn't a defector. Then it's an all out fabrication. All official and unofficial word from our government officials, at the time, also have 100% credibility. Really I wish I had taken down notes of all the things I took issue with so that I could share them here and hopefully spare someone else this complete and utter waste of time. Anyone who refers to an enemy of the (US)state as "evil" almost every time their names are mentioned, cannot be taken very seriously as far as I'm concerned. The world isn't that Manichean. And to turn around and give the Kennedy administration a free pass when it's guilty of the very same plotting that Castro's government was up to is laughable. And to be honest I don't read history to listen to the author pass judgement anyway. But now I know, this wasn't meant to be historical to begin with.