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The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Bas

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It's slightly immoral for me to review this book, as I've really only skimmed it. But what I have read has not been compelling -- more of a 'one damn thing after another' approach to recent (Devil) Ray history than a unified narrative or a analysis with any underlying principles. You get little capsule histories of key Ray owners/employees, but who cares? And Keri never dives deeply enough into the business process or baseball operations issues to make the analytical side interesting. A disappointment, as I have been very impressed by Keri's short form sports journalism.
The Pavillion on the Links

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An odd little book. Vivid, as Stevenson almost always is, but the engine of plot, character, and circumstance does not achieve the same high level of function as in his best works.
Wool

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Lean, enjoyable apocalyptic sci-fi and can also be read as a well-imagined turn on the generation ship motif.
Four Max Carrados Detective Stories

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Unobjectionable puzzle mysteries. Nothing special here.
Absurdistan

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A very funny mix of pathos and bathos, but also a book written with accelerator pressed completely to the floor. Steyngart goes over the top at all times, which provides magnificent flourishes and set pieces, but also accounts the book's flaws (too much graphic fat guy sex, a problematic last five chapters). But in general, it works: this is a hilarious novel which is also genuinely affecting. This work also demonstrates my beloved theme of impotence in the modern novel, but a gross, incapable millionaire protagonist is a more elegant device for illustrating this theme than the usual disaffected yuppies.Rap empowers everyone it touches
Las Minas Del Rey Salomón

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This is, I think, the longest I have gone between re-reading of books -- more than 25 years ago I first read Haggard at a (horrible) sleep-away camp. (I think I also read "Starman Jones" while I was there, and I know I borrowed the "Pelman the Powershaper" series from one of the counselors). Some very small things I remembered: the chain-mail, the hag's trap. Almost all else had passed. A vivid adventure, and with a prose style so much better than we expect from genre fiction now. "A sharp spear," runs the Kukuana saying, "needs no polish"
Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls

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More a compendium rather than a real unified non-fiction book, but what a compendium! Gem-like anecdotes abound.
A Voyage to Arcturus

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Everyone seems to hate the prose style in this book. C.S. Lewis called it 'appalling.' This is not my experience. To the contrary, I found Lindsay's style a match to the strangeness of the book, the fearsomeness of his vision. There is nothing quite like it. Oceaxe gave a beautiful sneer as she took a step toward the river. "Better men than you—better in every sense of the word—are walking about with foreign wills inside them. You may be as moral as you like, Maskull, but the fact remains, animals were made to be eaten, and simple natures were made to be absorbed.""And human rights count for nothing!"She had bent over the river's edge, to wash her arms and hands, but glanced up over her shoulder to answer his remark. "They do count. But we only regard a man as human for just as long as he's able to hold his own with others."
Prester John

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A classic ripping yarn. Like all Buchan, well-turned, with occasional lyrical and memorable descriptions of the natural world. And as always Buchan proves surprisingly generous towards the antagonist, and willing to endow the adversary with real grandeur and nobility. That said (and as other reviewers have commented), native self-governance is assumed by the protagonist (and everyone) as a non-starter, and while flat-out racism does not abound, it gets very close, very often. I found it stunning on the re-read. It is easy for me to say that it's a great yarn and one can enjoy it by abstracting from the views a man like Buchan would inevitably have in 1910. And to a degree, I think that's true. But I'm not sure it's an argument I'd feel comfortable making to a Botsawanan 13 year old who picked it up looking for an escapist.
Treasure Island

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A classic. Pirates are bad people. Let me add to that. Glamorous evil is a problem in fiction. I say 'a problem' not because positive representation of wicked characters has bad effects (although doubtless it does), but because it is so false to fact as to be jarring, to break fictional tone. There are exceptions to this rule. Satan is glamorous, but he's an angel -- and as the first or second most powerful created being, of course he's going to have some pace on the ball. But in general, wickedness is not glamorous, or inventive, or interesting. It's a person who will kill a stranger for money, and then spend the money on trash -- as squalid, loathsome, and weak as a humanity gets. That's the type of person who becomes a pirate, in point of fact; that's who a pirate is. Simone Weil has a great quote to this effect: “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” Stevenson invests his pirates with real evil, in Weil's sense, and it's the critical tone-setting choice in the novel....my name is Alexander Smollett, I've flown my sovereign's colours, and I'll see you all to Davy Jones. You can't find the treasure. You can't sail the ship—there's not a man among you fit to sail the ship. You can't fight us—Gray, there, got away from five of you. Your ship's in irons, Master Silver; you're on a lee shore, and so you'll find. I stand here and tell you so; and they're the last good words you'll get from me, for in the name of heaven, I'll put a bullet in your back when next I meet you
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