Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Book update

I've finished the third book in the very loosely related trilogy by J. T. Farrell about British imperial decline (Troubles, Siege of Krishnapura, Singapore Grip) and highly recommend it. But in Singapore Grip I thought the anti-colonialist satire was at times a bit overdone. Flawless touch in the first two books, however.

Then I read Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate (basis for the 1962 movie that spawned a recent update) - a real hoot and great paranoid fun.

Now I'm reading Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, about religion as an evolutionary phenomenon. I'm finding it a bit too pop in style, and too engaged in laboriously meeting objections to the enterprise that I don't have. Dennett is doing this in the hope of having a bigger impact rather than just preaching to the choir, a worthy goal but one I doubt he'll meet, but in doing so he's certainly weakening the book's appeal to choir members such as me.

At work I'm making great strides on an article I rather like so far, "Permanent Income and the Annual Income Tax," about the use of lifetime versus shorter-term measures of wellbeing in fiscal rules such as taxes and transfers. The summer comes early for legal academics who start teaching in late August, but that's not to say too early.

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