Category Archives: library

Owning Books

I’ve always loved books.

As a child, the only things I ever wanted to buy were books.

And as an adult, I’ve amassed over 300 books.

Strangely, these last few weeks I no longer feel this desire to own lots of books. In fact, part of me wants to give away my entire library of books.

Not sure what’s come over me…

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

I borrowed Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA at the urging of friends, but I decided to return it without reading.

It is a National Book Award Winner and many friends have recommended this book so maybe I will borrow it again later.

It didn’t feel like a book I wanted to read right now, if that makes sense. Just wasn’t in the mood for it.

But if you’re interested, click here to read an excerpt, here to read the CIA’s statement on this book, or here to read a New York Times review by Michael Beschloss titled “The C.I.A.’s Missteps, From Past to Present” published July 12, 2007.

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David WroblewskiOne of my book clubs has just selected yet another Oprah’s Book Club book as it’s next selection: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel by David Wroblewski.

Some of the girls in my book club said that Oprah told her viewers not to read the inside cover of the book until they have read the book, and the girls in my book club who have already read the book suggested not reading anything about the book until you’ve read the book in its entirety.

So all I know about this book is what I read in Janet Maslin‘s review for the New York Times “Talking to Dogs, Without a Word” published june 13, 2008.

That’s all I’ll say since I’d hate to spoil the book for anyone.

Click here to visit the author’s website where you can read an excerpt, find discussion questions, and much more.

Books on Publishing

I’m interested in learning about the book publishing industry. I’ve been told to read:

I tried my local library but they don’t seem to have many books on this topic.

Any other suggestions?

More Library Books

As usual, I went to the library with the intent to leave without picking up any books and failed.

I borrowed Michael Shermer’s The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics and Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.

I hadn’t heard of The Mind of the Market but with the economics crisis I’ve been drawn to learn more about economics and the psychology of financial market.

This book focuses on the new field of neuroeconomics, investigating how psychology and biology affect the way we think about money. I had a friend in college who did some undergraduate research in this field so I’m looking forward to seeing if his work is featured in this book.

Click here to read an excerpt or here to visit Shermer’s website.

Friends have been recommending Legacy of Ashes for months.

I don’t know if I believe that this book, based on 50,000 documents (including CIA archives), will be everything folks say it is but I expect it will be full of drama and intrigue. It’s been highly praised by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and many others — it even won the National Book Award.

Interestingly, the CIA has condemned this book as incorrect and deceptive . . . I wonder what my friends who work in government think of this book. Hmm . . .

Click here to read an excerpt or here to read a New York Times review by Michael Beschloss titled “The C.I.A.’s Missteps, From Past to Present” published July 12, 2007.

The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America by James Bamford

James Bamford — author of Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, The Puzzle Palace: Inside the National Security Agency, America’s Most Secret Intelligence Organization, and A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies — has a new book out about the NSA’s spying on average Americans. Click here to read a recent article from The New York Times about the author.

As I understand it, Bamford (with the help of former intercept operators) exposes how private contractors have done the sensitive work of storing and processing the voices and written data of Americans and non-Americans alike and that the NSA has created a massive facility in Texs to store such data.

I realize national security isn’t of much interest to most folks with the current financial crisis, but The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America seems like an important book.

Click here to submit a question for the author for his 3pm online discussion today (October 14) on the Washington Post website.

Nobel Prize Winners 2008

I always like reading about each year’s Nobel Laureates.

The Nobel Prize Winners announced last week and today are:

Physiology or Medicine
Harald zur Hausen, for his discovery of “human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer”
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and
Luc Montagnier, for their discovery of the “human immunodeficiency virus” (click here to watch a PBS Frontline video about it)

Physics
Yoichiro Nambu, “for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics”
Makoto Kobayashi and
Toshihide Maskawa, “for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature”

Chemistry – “for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP” (isolated from jellyfish)
Osamu Shimomura
Martin Chalfie
Roger Y. Tsien

Literature
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, French writer of more than 40 books

Peace
Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland who is knowsn for his peace efforts and cautious diplomacy (particularly in Africa)

Economic Sciences
Paul Krugman (MIT PhD ’77), “for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity”

I’ll have to see if I can get a copy of one of Le Clézio’s books and Paul Krugman’s The Return of Depression Economics (click here to read an excerpt and click here to view the table of contents) or any of his other books at my local library.