Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur, December 2004
Attention conservation notice: I have no taste.
- William Easterly, The
Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the
- Good book on development economics and the practice of development
assistance, despite using the phrase "e-dot economy" with a straight face (just
once, in fairness).
- Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried, Pay
without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive
- Assuming we're going to have firms which are run like command
economies, paying the people in charge in ways which reflect their success
at achieving the goals of the firm is a good idea. It also bears absolutely no
relation to current arrangements, which is not surprising, because the people
who run major companies effectively get to set their own compensation terms,
and their interests do not coincide with those of the firm, except
incidentally. (I've blogged about this topic before.) Bebchuk and Fried's
contribution is painstaking documentation, and equally painstaking demolition
of the various attempts to argue that all is for the best in the best of all
possible corporate capitalisms.
- Patricia A. McKillip, Alphabet
- As always, exceptionally beautiful writing, and an atmosphere of
enchantment and loss. Perhaps a shade more irony in the auctorial
voice than usual.
- John Krakauer, Under
the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
- The poet tells us "the pure products of America
go crazy", and Krakauer makes it clear that fundamentalist Mormons are very
pure products of America indeed. The orthodox Mormon church appears not to
like the book because he's rather too frank about the all-too-human history of
the church, but he's right that you really can't understand things like
without seeing how they grew out of the main stream of Mormon tradition. Plus
Krakauer has fully mastered the art of grabbing the reader's attention and not
releasing it for a few hundred pages.
- Richard T. Ford, Racial
Culture: A Critique
- An anti-racist critique of (certain strains of) multi-culturalism, from the
left. The first
chapter (of four) is on-line, and representative.
- Suzy McKee Charnas, The
- The vampire re-imagined as a strictly natural predator, with a coherent
ecological niche and a convincingly alien mind. The most intelligent take on
the vampire story I've ever read; also one of the most compelling. There's a
chapter set at the Santa Fe Opera,
for instance, which is at once hilarious and riveting. Worth the price of
admission for the first part, "The Ancient Mind at Work", alone.
Books to Read While the Algae Grow in Your Fur
Posted at December 31, 2004 23:59 | permanent link