Thursday, September 8, 2011

quick hits

i liked joel's recent approach of book review; 1 or 2 lines that give me all the info i need.  i'm going to try the same (for lack of time), hopefully to almost as good a result:

  • Three Cups of Deceit (Jon Krakauer):  this is Jon Krakauer's exposé of Greg Mortenson's book Three Cups of Tea, which if you don't know about, no point in reading this. For the most part, i was absolutely sucked in by Mortenson's accounts of his time in Pakistan, thought of him as a great man and fully supported his initiatives.  Krakauer's book has certainly changed my opinion of this man...  quite considerably, in fact.  i do still think great work is being done, though.  anyway, if you've read Three Cups of Tea, this is a must read.
  • Town House (Tish Cohen):  this was one of those mcsweeny's books i found for $.99 cents in the kindle store.  it's clear why it was that price.  only made it half way through before giving up.
  • Kapitoil (Teddy Wayne):  i don't know whether it's because i can relate to the characters in it or what, but i absolutely loved this book.  it's about a man from Quatar who comes to the US to work on some Y2K fixes for a huge financial firm.  He ends up creating a program that automatically trades oil futures based on news trends to a great profit.  The story was laugh out loud funny at points, sort of like a funny version of the Reluctant Fundamentalist by Moshin Hamid (also a great book, on a more serious note).  best book i've read in a while, purely entertaining and quite interesting in it's (ok, pretty well known) social commentary.
  • Ten-Thousand Saints (Eleanor Henderson):  Joel pointed this book out, and because of how i grew up and the things i was associated with, this sounded spot on for a novel i'd really get into.  much like the highly lauded Welcome to the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, this book fell well short of my expectations.  i liked both books, don't get me wrong; but i don't understand the incredible high praise they got.  10,000 saints, for example, seemed like a cheap, plastic imitation of a childhood i grew up living and breathing...  something so raw that i yearned to see it captured in print.  alas...  
next 3 books i'm reading are 86'd, by Dan Fante (John Fante's son), Everything is Going to be Great, by Rachel Shukert and The Art of Fielding, a baseball novel by Chad Harbach.


  1. Curious to know what characters you related to in Kapitoli - have you been to Quatar? :)

    Too bad Ten-Thousand Saints didn't work for you - sounded interesting to me too. I'm sure there's a good hardcore book out there somewhere... but where?

    In closing: you read a lot. Where do you find the time?

  2. Not quatar, but down the road in Dubai. Still, it's more about wiring in that screen back in the day than anything. The offshore u.s. Cultural virgins I worked with on my y2k projects and surrounding staff, and the expats I've worked with since.

    The time finds me, awake at all hours of the night, all the time.

  3. I've thought about The Art of Fielding - it's been getting some good - though not fantastic - reviews - but I'm always a sucker for a baseball novel. I look forward to hearing what you think.