Monday, August 02, 2010

On the bookshelf

Followers of this blog know I love to read, and always wish I had time to do it more.

Here's what's stacked on my bookshelf right now (all in various stages of consumption):
  • Michael Lewis' The Big Short. His report on the 2008 financial meltdown, as seen through the eyes of a handful of misfits who profited from it. The choice of my largely MBA-type bookclub, and a wise one too. With a securities lawyer, a private equity guy and an ex-Goldman employee, we talked about this book longer than most of the others.
  • Tony Judt's Ill Fares The Land, on what we should learn from the 20th century. I'm halfway through and can't put it down. To give you a sense of its direction, here's the bit of poetry from which the title is derived: "Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates, and men decay."
  • Christina McCall's My Life As a Dame. I found this while searching for a copy of her no-longer-in-print Grits, the choice of one of the winners of a little contest we have over at Samara. For a long time I wanted to be a journalist, and she was one of the best from her era.
  • Sebastian Junger's War. I heard him speak at a surprisingly poorly attended lecture at the Toronto Reference Library earlier this spring. Junger lived among a platoon in Afghanistan for 15 months, and this is his report on that time.
  • Andrew Potter's The Authenticity Hoax. I'm reading this one slowly because there's so much in it, it should be read that way. It's a cultural criticism of modern society, and as you'll see from following Potter's blog, rarely a day goes by where its themes aren't echoed in the media.
  • James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. I love his column in the New Yorker, and the thesis appeals to the anti-McKinsey part of my personality.
  • Michael Edward's Civil Society. I make my students read his 2008 critique of modern philanthropy in my course, and I really need to finish this before the next school year begins.
  • Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I know, I should have read this already. But I haven't.
  • David Smith's The People's House of Commons. I'm a devotee of Ned Franks' The Parliament of Canada, and wish more people read it. This is a slightly newer version.
  • Audrey Niffengegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. A former beau told me this reminded him of our relationship. I have no idea what this means, although will soon find out.
  • Adrienne Clarkson's Heart Matters. I had the pleasure of serving on the CEO search committee for the NGO she founded after her GG-ship, the Institute of Canadian Citizenship. I enjoyed getting to know her and am curious to understand her better.
  • From Penguin Canada's terrific Extraordinary Canadians series, Daniel Poliquin's Rene Levesque and Nino Ricci's Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I'm dying to watch the three-part series The Champions, which details the debates between these two men over the future of Canada (back when people debated on such matters). One day I want to work through all the E.C. books... I loved Andrew Cohen's on Lester B. Pearson from the series. It was so well-written that I got a little teary at the end, when Pearson died, even though I knew that was going to happen.
  • And finally, a compendium textbook, Open Government, which features an essay by my friend Dave Eaves called "After the Collapse: Open Government and the Future of Civil Service." I'll likely use it and others from the book in my course next year.
And, of course, the always-present stack of yet-unread New Yorkers.

At this rate, I'll never leave the house, but suggestions of great reads are always welcome!

No comments: