Battlepanda: Bumper Book Blogging


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bumper Book Blogging

Most of you would have assumed by this time that I have fallen far off the book-blogging wagon. This is true when it comes to the blogging part, but I have been steadily chugging along, perhaps not quite at the rate of a book a week, but at a steady clip nevertheless. Alas, I now lack the time to blog them all to my satisfaction. Perhaps, it is time to do a catch up post to let you all know what I've been reading.

-- The Undercover Economist by Tim Hartford
This book came highly recommended from my friend Chris. Chris and I are quite sympatico when it comes to books and I've always enjoyed his recommendations. I even hallucinated that he recommended the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernoff. I liked the book and told him so, upon which he informed me that he never read the book, let alone recommend it to me. So even the Chris-recommendation that really wasn't, was good.

Now, onto The Undercover Economist: I think it's no coincidence that the Marginal Revolution guys are a big fan of this book. It's animated by an exuberant love of the market and follows Freakonomic's bestselling formula of using economics, not as a dense and esoteric study to be applied to the movement of currencies, but a sharp tool to help us figure out all aspect of the world around us where there is a supply and demand. Now and then, there are inconsistencies. Harford (rightly, in my opinion) thinks that taxing pollution is the best way of curtailing it since it turns an externality into a cost the firm must confront. At the same time, he mocks an environmental group for encouraging its members to donate money to climate concern charities at a level that "makes up" for their carbon usage. Yes, on some level it sounds rather silly and reminiscent of the defunct Catholic practice of purchasing indulgences, but another way of thinking about those donation is as a self-imposed tax on consuming petroleum products.

--The Death of Sleep by Ann Macaffrey and Jody Lynn Nye
Proto-feminist sci-fi is always good times.

-- Me Talk Pretty One Day By David Sedaris
This one is a re-read. I don't really enjoy David Sedaris' radio work that much, but this book is very funny. I'll recommend it.