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Reading Voraciously

Ever since I left for Ireland at the beginning of august I have been reading a lot. Trains, planes and buses are conducive to getting lost in a book. But add to that some bedtime with strep throat and suddenly I've got a lot of time to fill with books. Even at burning man I enjoyed an occasional morning lying in my tent reading a chapter or two until it got too hot or I had to go to work.

In no particular order:

Kafka on the Shore ~ Haruki Murakami: The twisted reality and characters in Murakami's stories are always interesting. The overall story always seems a little vague to me, but the individual stories and experiences of the characters are well explored. This book centers around a teenage boy trying to escape his father and find his mother and sister who left when he was very young. Only finding his mother and sister is something of a curse foretold by his father. That plot isn't so important, and there are other sub-stories that make the book really good.

Failed States ~ Noam Chowsky: Ever wanted to coherently explain what is screwed up with the United States and its brand of democracy? This book covers a number of points across several different US administrations and reiterates the main points again at the end of the book. Some key things that stuck in my mind; the US rejection of treaties(kyoto, muclear proilferation etc.), the US rejection of international justice applying to americans, the governments rejection of the people's wishes, attacking democracy in other nations (Iran, Venezuela, Central America), pandering to corporations and the very wealthy(privatize social security, tax breaks to the wealthy, ignoring problems among the very poor), election shenanigans etc. While there are many more important things that the book talks about, like the middle east and africa, there was one point that surprised me. Chowsky claims that the Social Security system is not in jeopardy, is quite healthy and should be able to handle the retiring baby boomers just fine. His view is quite cynical, claiming that the people in power see social security as a waste because it does not provide any value to them, only to people of low or middle income. Seeing as proposals to alter Social Security revolved around reinvesting the money, I can see some merit in the author's argument. I recommend reading this book, it has a lot of interesting information that I haven't heard presented elsewhere.

The Cobweb ~ Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George: This thriller I read a few weeks after Failed States and served to highlight problems with politics, government bureaucracy, law enforcement and national intelligence. Besides all that the book is a fun read, but the backdrop of the gulf war, US politics and small-town politics makes it sound almost like a true story. I really enjoyed this book.

Other than those three books I reacquainted myself with many books by Raymond E. Feist. He writes fantasy fiction, something I loved to read when I was a teenager. Some of his books were still in my room parents house, so I reread them. A couple of them were the first volumes in a series, so now I've found myself trying to get the rest of the books and finish them off. That's how I am with reading, if I find an author or series I like.

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