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Happy New Year

My best wishes to all of you for a productive 2013.

Might I implore you all again for a favor?

I’d love to hear some suggestions for great reads, great lectures, great songs, and great websites that I would otherwise not be privy to in my daily perusings. Some of my favorite books have been discovered through late night BS sessions with friends and family (at least back in the day when I used to have them and see them). I am almost 100% dedicated these days to economics, in particular environmental, and desperately need a change of pace at least from the economic side. My favorite music genre is folk/acoustic, Irish (especially Gaelic Storm and Kate Rusby) and folks like Marc Cohn when it comes to more modern music. I tend to read non-fiction even when not economics; have loved most of the books like Into Thin Air, Endurance, The Right Stuff, etc. and among my favorite novelists include Tom Wolfe, John Irving. I rarely look at any websites outside of the 50 or so economics and news sites I follow. I’m boring in other words. I plan on less economics in the next year and more interesting things.

So thanks for your recommendations, the ones from the past have been great.

10 Responses to “Happy New Year”

  1. Steve says:

    David Brin, “The Transparent Society”

  2. Andrew says:

    I can throw out a few groups I’ve enjoyed from the folk/acoustic/Irish category, at least. I may be biased.
    Irish Descendants, e.g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCnGD6xv5ik, is probably the best of what I’ve listened to in that genre, but you may be familiar. Beyond that, some stuff I’ve liked is The Navigators, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6zw2FyQJzg, Masterless Men, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZmhPPjajXs, stuff like that. Great Big Sea is probably the best-known of the genre but overrated.

  3. Stanton says:

    The lesser known Jim Croce songs like “A Long Time Ago,” “Age,” and “Lover’s Cross,” are all really good and I would recommend almost everything in his last album, “I Got a Name.”

  4. Dan says:

    I couldn’t put down the Patrick Melrose novels. They’re funny and gorgeously written. Tyler had this to say: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2012/02/the-patrick-melrose-novels.html

  5. Harry says:

    Right now I’m reading John Sandford’s Mad River, starring Virgil Flowers, a colorful officer in the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension. Great plot and characters.

    Just finished Vince Flynn’s The Last Man. A prerequisite would be to first read American Assassin, which sets the stage for how the central character Mitch Rapp became Mitch Rapp. If you hate the CIA, you may not like these books.

  6. Dan L. says:

    Since I am a film guy I will recommend some films and since you like non-fiction a lot I will recommend documentaries. The films of Errol Morris always seems to uncover the beauty and absurdity of humans and the way they perceive their reality, leading to his films balancing the sense of the profound as well as the hilarious. I suggest all of his films, but to specify for ease, you should look into ‘Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control’ as well as his most recent work, ‘Tabloid.’ Both have a plethora of interesting people to observe.

  7. Ryan says:

    Timothy Egan: The Worst Hard Time, The Big Burn
    Nathaniel Philbrick: In the Heart of the Sea, Mayflower, The Last Stand
    Alex Kershaw: The Envoy
    Candice Millard: Destiny of the Republic.
    Christopher McDougall: Born to Run
    Mark Obmascik: The Big Year, Halfway to Heaven

  8. drobviousso says:

    You didn’t say if you want thins in your comfort zone or out, so I’ll give you two of each:

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is more foundational to the modern American’s tastes than almost anything else I can think of. And it is full of short stories, so you’ll know right away if you want to put it down.

    The Album Epicloud by the Devin Townsend Project. I can’t really describe it. It’s sort of a heavy metal / prog rock / gospel album.

    Trampled by Turtles. Bluegrassy folk music. Very good stuff.

    Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier. I don’t know if you heard of this book yet. Its hard to categorize. It’s about how society organizes itself. Part econ, part computer security, part criminology, part history, part biology, part sociology. All very good.

  9. Harry says:

    Two more authors, WC. Lawrence Sanders in the ’70’s and ’80’s wrote his Deadly Sins novels, which are tightly written page turners. The central character, the detective, is a well-organized two sides of the brain guy. You may have been too busy at Amherst and Cornell reading more serious stuff, but since you like Tom Wolfe, you may like this.

    Also, I would recommend Robert Crais, who also writes detective novels.

    None of the above have anything to do with economics, assuming lust, sloth, greed, covetousness, and mendacity are not economic topics.

  10. Trey says:

    Two of my favorite nonfiction, noneconomic books that I read this year were the Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch and the Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. 

    I’ll second Ryan’s recommendation for the Destiny of the Republic. This is a grim but fascinating look at the assassination of James Garfield in 1881. The madness of the assassin goes without saying, but the true madness is that of the “medicine” that the medical doctors applied to the President over the course of MONTHS. There may be a little too much adoration of Garfield (a politician after all) but the senator from New York, Roscoe Conkling, takes enough heat to average things out. 

    My favorite book was Empire of the Summer Moon, by S.C. Gwynne. This is the story of the Comanches, how they came out of the hills of Wyoming hundreds of years ago, learned to ride (and fight) on horseback like no other, and came to control the south central plains. The book describes the decades-long wars between the Comanches and the settlers, especially in Texas. The last part of the book is about Quanah Parker and how he led the last of the his people out of the centuries-long Comanche culture and into American society in the Oklahoma Hills. 

    Like any good book this one shows rather then tells. In riveting detail, the author *shows* that the Comanches’ economy was based somewhat on the buffalo, and even more on raiding and pillaging. And he doesn’t pull any punches on what the settlers, Texas Rangers, US military, and US government did as well.

    Happy reading and Happy New Year!

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