highlights

Thumbs up for City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism by Jim Krane. History/travel.

Astonishingly good. I would wish that all countries had books this riveting written about them, but I don’t think it’s possible; most places just won’t make your jaw drop this often. If this were a story about oil, I wouldn’t find it very interesting. But oil came late and comparatively little.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. Psychology/business.

If you are interested in, hmm…business, creativity, learning, philosophy, travel, diet, training, or just generally getting shit done while becoming a better human being, you do listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, don’t you? Seriously, I hate podcasts and I listen to it.… >> Read more

WomensWork

Thumbs up for Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years – Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber.

Curse you, Amazon, for knowing my desires before I do. I was so good, wasn’t I, when you recommended this to me, and I ordered it from the library? You just knew that after I read it I would come straight back to your electronic embrace and order a copy for myself, because oh did I need a copy for myself.… >> Read more

TheSympathizer

Thumbs up for The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Literature.

The unnamed narrator, as he tells us in the first pages, can see two sides to all things. A hard trick to pull off for an author, but it flies. The narrator is a Communist (the story begins just before the fall of Saigon) though he to all appearances works doggedly on behalf of the Southern Vietnamese government-in-exile.… >> Read more

companytown

Thumbs up for Company Town by Madeline Ashby. Science fiction.

It seems strange that the word that would come to mind for a novel about a physically-disfigured young woman who works as a bodyguard for prostitutes on an oil rig in a gritty near-future Canada would be “sweet.” And yes, there’s murder and fighting and bombs, because it is after all a suspense story.… >> Read more

howtofailateverything

Thumbs up for How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams. Psychology.

I’m allergic to self-help books—not because I’m not interested in getting better at being a human being, but because almost all of them are full of “follow your dreams and think positively and you will be happy and wealthy” advice, despite all of recorded history amply demonstrating that this is false.… >> Read more

The Quantum Thief cover

Thumbs up for The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi. Science fiction.

So, to start with, wow. If you’ve read my review of the author’s Collected Fictions, a lot of that applies here too. If you haven’t read what I said there and are too lazy to click over, suffice it to say I Like This Author A Lot But He Will Make You Work.… >> Read more