February 28, 2009


I'm going to post short reviews of all the books I'm reading for my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge. I thought I'd break it up and do ten books at a time. And I've just finished my tenth.


10) Economics In One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt)
I got this book because it was mentioned in the article Why The New Deal Failed. It was originally written in 1946, which makes its lesson even more frustrating than when I read Milton Friedman. 63 years ago he warned us of everything that President Obama and Congress are doing right now. And the most depressing part was the last page, when he talks about hope for the future:

In addition, there are marked signs of a shift in the intellectual winds of doctrine. Keynesians and New Dealers seem to be in slow retreat.

Thank heavens Henry Hazlitt has passed away, for I would hate for him to see what has become of his Hope.

9) Animal Farm (George Orwell)
I told you I was gonna read this book! And it only took one day. I hadn't read it since high school, so it was nice to revisit it.

Good Omens (Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett)
AirForceWife lent this book to me, and it was pretty funny. I read I, Lucifer last year, and it was funny to read another book of the same genre. My absolute favorite part was when four bikers wanted to be additional Horsemen of the Apocalypse. That part had me laughing out loud.

7) The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery (Massad Ayoob)
A Christmas present from CaliValleyGirl, in lieu of another knitting book. I learned a lot of interesting facts from this book, such as why most policemen carry Glocks, and I was reminded of other things, like the racist origin of gun control laws. My only complaint is that it's not exactly written for true beginners. Ayoob doesn't define his terms at all. For example, in the chapter Point Shooting vs Aimed Fire, I didn't know the difference between the two and had to read the entire chapter and use a little deductive reasoning to figure out what the heck each one of those terms means based on how they were contrasted with each other. A one-line definition at the beginning of the chapter would've been much appreciated. But overall it was an interesting and helpful book.

6) The Bookseller of Kabul (Åsne Seierstad)
My husband gave me this book for Christmas. I recommend this book and also The Places In Between for a look at Afghanistan. But it's bleak. I just found myself so thankful throughout this book that I was not born a woman in the Middle East.


4) A Personal Odyssey (Thomas Sowell)
I got this book as a Christmas present from Amritas. I had no idea Sowell was so old! It was fascinating to read about his life in the 30s and 40s. And you'd never know by reading him today that he used to be a Marxist! Very good autobiography. I basically read the whole book while waiting at the emergency room.

3) You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation (Deborah Tannen)
I always enjoy Tannen's books, and when I saw this one, I bought it for my mother but wanted to read it before I gave it to her. I really enjoyed it and learned two things: 1) My mother and I get along better than I thought we did and 2) maybe having a girl wouldn't be so bad...

2) The Night of the Hunter (Davis Grubb)
Everyone knows the image of the prisoner with LOVE and HATE tattooed on his hands, but I never knew where this image came from. Boy, that Preacher was one scary villain! Worse than Bruce Dern in The Cowboys.

1) Liberal Fascism (Jonah Goldberg)
I learned a lot about WWI-era politics. I also knew very little about Mussolini and Woodrow Wilson before this book. Quite worthwhile.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:34 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Good Omens was the first Gaiman book I read. Love it!! It's cost me a lot of money - because then I bought all of the Sandman series, plus his novels. Agree about Liberal Fascism!

Posted by: Beth at February 28, 2009 09:04 AM (qkeSl)

2 Wow, at this rate you'll have read 60 books by the end of the year! I was hoping you'd post a long review of The Bookseller of Kabul because I was too afraid to read it or The Places In Between. That sounds odd because I've read many first and second-hand accounts of life under Communism over 20+ years. What's the difference? Red horrors didn't last forever. Stalin and Mao died, and the USSR and Democratic Kampuchea fell. But there was no liberation, no happy ending, no fall of the Berlin Wall in Afghanistan. Just Islam. The nightmare is the norm there. As Ralph Peters put it, Regarding Planet Afghanistan, we still hear the deadly cliché that "all human beings want the same basic things, such as better lives and greater opportunities for their children." How does that apply to Afghan aliens who prefer their crude way of life and its merciless cults? I want as little to do with Afghanistan as possible. I share Peters' "mendacity of hope": Instead of floundering in search of a strategy, we should consider removing the bulk, if not all, of our forces. The alternative is to hope blindly, waste more lives and resources ... Stop pretending Afghanistan's a real state. Freeze development efforts. Ignore the opium. Kill the fanatiics ... We don't need hope. We need the audacity of realism. I have much more sympathy for Iranians like this university student: Right in front of me, they kicked and carried off a couple of the kids in a red van. I swear to God, from now on, I count the minutes until the fall of this regime and I will do anything. Long live freedom, death to dictatorship. He or she gets it, unlike the elites of the West: Today, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack all throughout Europe. Free speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural element of our existence, our birthright, is now something we once again have to battle for. - Geert Wilders Who will walk alongside Wilders? Who will call jihadism what it is - NUTS? I suggest we walk in the tradition of giants like General McAuliffe and the American soldiers who fought and died for the freedom of my country and for a secular and democratic Europe, and we tell the enemies of freedom just that. NUTS! Because that’s all there is to it. No explanations. No beating around the bush. No caveats. I donated to geertwilders.nl. It's the least I could do voor de vrijheid - for freedom!

Posted by: Amritas at March 01, 2009 09:23 AM (Wxe3L)

3 I just love Thomas Sowell's A Personal Odyssey. I have made each of my children read his description of how he got where he is, through all the difficulties and odd circumstances. Its like a Jason Nesmith quote from Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender." I also like the comments he makes about how he is more respected for having come in through the "front door" rather than affirmative action.

Posted by: The Thomas at March 02, 2009 12:44 PM (PRm1Y)

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