Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Back from vacation

I'm just back from vacation with the fam on Montauk, LI, jumping waves at the beach on the ocean side when not grilling various ocean or land meats or playing either miniature golf with my kids, or else Scrabble or the highly recommended Blokus (which ought to be called "Lebensraum") with my wife. She thinks my playing style in these games is too ruthless (I think it's simply the logic of how to play the games), but has become persuaded that she has to match it. Tit for tat, the oldest rule in the book.

Beachtime reading:

(1) Levitt & Dubner, Freakonomics - a fun read though not much that is new for people who already know about the economics of information and about Levitt's often very interesting research.

(2) Carl Hiassen, Skinny Dip - delightful genre fiction, with a wonderful comic writing touch.

(3) Kang Choi Hwan, The Aquariums of Pyongyang - chillng look inside the North Korean gulag (sorry for the cliched adjective, but it's too apt to change).

(4) Mary Cantwell, American Girl - well-written memoir of a quiet childhood.

(5) John M. Barry, The Great Influenza - horrifying story, albeit with some standard nonfiction bestseller genre touches, of the 1918 horrors that may have killed 50 to 100 million people worldwide, aided by US government decisions of such chilling stupidity [less of a cliche to use the word here] as to bring to mind, well, the present. Writing style is a bit tired and annoying sometimes - lots of one-sentence paragraphs that might as well have exclamation points - but worth reading for the content.

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