Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

With all this lack of energy, I've had lots of time for reading, so here's the latest...

Mimmy and Sophie: All Around the Town - THUMBS DOWN

With a Jewish author and stories set during the Depression in Brooklyn, I thought this book stood a pretty good chance. Instead, it was full of conversations were children spoke very unkindly to each other most of the time. Not pleasant reading, and we didn't get very far into the book.

Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely - THUMBS UP!!

I think behavioral economics is a fascinating subject, diving into what makes people assign value to things and then to spend their money in ways that don't seem rational. Frugal mamas (and papas) are good at avoiding a lot of these traps, but it's interesting to read about so many traps that people can fall into even if they are savvy about personal finance, frugality, and not keeping up with the neighbors. I think there are many sections in this book that are hugely relevant to the Jewish community (and the author is, in fact, an Israeli professor of behavioral economics). I'm only a couple of chapters into this book but am enjoying it immensely.

Disgrace, by Jacobs Coetzee - THUMBS DOWN DOWN DOWN

I found all of the characters in this book to be utterly dead, utterly unlikable, and could not begin to fathom their motives. The writing was excellent, but the story so bleak and the characters so dismal I just couldn't get into it at all. I forged ahead thinking at some point the protagonist might actually go through some personal transformations after his own misdeeds and additional tragic experiences, but the heights of his "redemption" were found in helping to kindly euthanize the dogs that were overrunning the countryside as a volunteer with a struggling veterinary clinic/shelter out in the South African countryside. The story added nothing uplifting or noble to the human experience. So not my cup of tea. Just the thing to make a new movie out of...

That's all for now!

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