Recently read

January 2009

David Crystal.  How Language Works.

Finn Bjelke.  Pappa for første gang.

December 2008

William Easterly.  The White Man's Burden:  Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So
     Much Ill and So Little Good.

J.K. Rowling.  The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

November 2008

John Litweiler.  The Freedom Principle: Jazz after 1958.

Michael Cox.  The Glass of Time.

Joseph  Stieglitz.  Making Globalization Work.

October 2008

Christoph Cox & Daniel Warner, eds.  Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music.

David Shields.  Dead Languages.

Michael Cox.  The Meaning of Night.

Saul Bellow.  Henderson the Rain King.

September 2008

Paul Collier.  The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can be done About it

William Edmundson.  Borges: A Life
James Woodall.  Borges: A Life
     Oh, for the joys of random reading.  I found that I own two books with the title Borges: A Life, and could not resist the temptation to read them in sequence.  Woodall's book says upfront that it will offer little insight into Borges's literary output, and will focus instead on his sex life and his relationship to his mother.  Edmundson's book is less confident in its Freudianism, and focuses instead on Borges's non-relationship with Norah Lange, who now becomes the key to understanding his entire literary output.  To the extent, then, that it actually offers attempts at literary analysis, Edmundson's book is to be prefered over Woodall's.  But truth be told, they are both woefully banal and trite.  Good reminders why one should never read literary biographies.   

Philip Roth.  Portnoy's Complaint
     About as funny as it is disturbing.  And it is very, very disturbing.  Definitely my favorite among the Roth-books I have read so far.

August 2008 

William Hamilton.  A History of the Modern Middle East
     Dry as dust, but nothing if not informative.

Jack  Chambers.  Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis
     Impressive in both scope and detail.  Nobody can like all the music Miles Davis ever put out, and Chambers has it in for the post-Bitches Brew era hard funk records (such as Live Evil, Pangea, On the Corner).  But overall, this is a very informative work, especially in terms of disentangling who played what on which sessions. While it is mostly tightly focused on the musical details, Chambers also enhances readability by sprinkling with the occasional anecdote or two from Miles's box of infamy.    

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