Sunday, March 30, 2014

March Books

Full 2014 list here. A lot of my old friends this month. Perhaps Christmas presents to myself after reading others' suggestions. No complaints mind you, and even some unexpected disappointments. I was really looking forward to the Easterly book and would not recommend it to others.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

Note: Did not enjoy this as much as their first book. Maybe a little too optimistic. I've been reading about driverless cars for so long now that I am increasingly starting to believe that I will never own one.

Note: Disappointing. A little too anecdotal and shrill, even for this cynic. And it never addresses the question of whether children in despotic regimes should be vaccinated. The author is right about problems with a central planning approach to development, but the solutions are not as obvious and straightforward as he suggests.

Note: Delightful collection of short essays about songs that somehow manage to get inside you and stay there forever. Original takes on everyone from Springsteen to Nelly Furtado; and the takedown of classical music is particularly enjoyable.

Note: Not a lot new here if you follow her blog, which I have done for over a decade. She's a great writer with lots of insights, but many of the arguments are buttressed by personal anecdotes, which are interesting and heartfelt but border on specious.

Note: Clear and concise advice on how to write fiction and why it is so wonderful and miserable.


  1. Glad you liked Songbook. I really looked at a lot of the songs differently after it.

  2. Particularly enjoyed the embrace of songs that aren't "good" per se, but are in fact because they just get inside you. Makes you appreciate the hitmakers a little more.