Book recommendations for April 2017

 


The Fold
by Peter Clines ★★★★
A good sci-fi summer read that touches on teleportation and inter-dimensional travel.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk ★★★★★
Palahniuk’s 1999 debut holds up. I read it because it continues to be referenced in a variety of media.

Blindness by José Saramago ★★★★
A country is stricken by a plague of blindness in this parable, which is considered one of Saramago’s signature works. This is a book that will keep you thinking after you’ve finished it.

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier ★★★
The story of a magnetic Portuguese doctor living during the dictatorship of António Salazar. A lot of philosophy, which I enjoyed, but the narrative bogged down at points.

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston ★★★★
A fascinating story of the search for a lost Honduran city, the politics of archaeology and the medical consequences of exploring in the tropics.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ★★★
I was disappointed in this story of a misunderstood, grumpy man with a hidden heart of gold, which felt derivative.

The Final Day by William R. Forstchen ★★★
If you read Forstchen’s first two books, read this one to see how it ends. If you haven’t, just read the first one, One Second After, to learn what might happen after an Electro Magnetic Pulse attack on the United States.

Carrie Fisher: I had to comport myself with something approaching dignity

Had I known it was going to make that loud of a noise, I would’ve dressed better for those talk shows and definitely would have argued against that insane hair (although the hair was, in its own modest way, a big part of that noise). And I certainly wouldn’t have ever just blithely signed away any and all merchandising rights relating to my image and otherwise.

And on top of whatever else, Mark, Harrison, and I were the only people who were having this experience. So who do you talk to that might understand? Not that that is some sort of tragedy—it just puts you in an underpopulated, empathy-free zone. I mean, obviously I’d never starred in a movie, but this was completely not like starring in your average everyday movie. It might’ve been like being one of the Beatles. Sure, most of it was a fun surprise, but the days where you could really let your guard down were over because now there were cameras everywhere. I had to comport myself with something approaching dignity, at twenty.

Carrie Fisher, in The Princess Diarist,  discussing the attention surrounding the original Star Wars movie.

Bad behavior can be necessary for politicians

The Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith sheds light on how politicians get and keep power. In a nutshell, the most important thing to a politician is not the welfare of the citizenry, but the welfare of the politician’s winning coalition. Keep the coalition happy by lavishing rewards on them and the politician will stay in power.

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