mmyoung_1

Reviews
More
Majestrum: A Tale of Henghis Hapthorn

by

A quick fun read that suffers from the common flaws of books set within massively intricate created universes: it doesn't wait for the reader to come to it rather it aggressively 'brings the reader up to steam.' All too often the narrative voice provides information which is necessary only to let the reader follow what is going on instead of simply demonstrating how the protagonist arrived at his conclusions. And at the very moment the tension and momentum rose to its greatest height there is a infodump of massive proportions.
The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind

by

I ultimately found this book disappointing. Having very much enjoyed listening to Johnston on various shows I bought this book in the hopes of seeing deeper analyses of the financial problems in the United States than were offered here. Each chapter follows roughly the same pattern; the reader is introduced to a person (or person) in order to give a human face to the financial/regulatory issue to be focused on. The harm / unfairness done is demonstrated and Johnston turns to the next issue in the next chapter.This continues from chapter to chapter until the end of the book in which a almost all of the fixes suggested are normative rather than practically substantive.
The ABC Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

by

The writers of current 'serial murderer' series would do well to read this Christie in which the author deconstructs much of the mystic around such murders.This superbly plotted book also plays very fairly with the reader. Those who read carefully will not be surprised by the 'final reveal.'
Unhitched: The Trial of Christopher Hitchens

by

A rather 'inside the beltway' discussion of Hitchens that contextualizes his political opinions and arguments from within the ideological context in which he first made his name and which later gave weight to his opinions about Bush and the war. (If even a Trotskyist thinks such and such then it must not simply be a right-wing talking point.)Enjoyable to read a examination of Hitchens work that does not focus unduly (or indeed much at all) about his atheism save for the way in which it informed his choice of political argument.Unfortunately quite weak on the intersection between leftist politics and feminism.
Storm Front

by

I have to say that if I hadn't know that the rest of this series goes on to be quite popular I would have given up long before the end due to profusion of stereotypes and the boilerplate plot.
Murder Must Advertise

by

In the middle of what might almost seem a playful romp is a rather modern and chilling description of the pressures of the middle-class trying to keep up with the class and social aspirations. And then, if you look closely, underneath everything is a surprisingly noirish story.
The Singing Bone

by

Columbo before Columbo. A fascinating 'modern' attempt to look first at the reasons why people commit crimes and the ways in which their elaborate attempts to evade justice can be negated. Not Austin's best writing but a very interesting development in the burgeoning detective novel genre/template.
Behold, Here's Poison

by

Not exactly a _pleasant_ Heyer. Few, if any, of the main characters have redeeming qualities although few have the type of character flaws that make one banish people from one's circle. They are all, to some degree or another, narcissists. None of them have grand visions and none care for much other than their own personal comfort.The murder itself is both distinctly clever and yet carried off in a way that a careful reader should be able to get a hint of the correct solution. As a murder mystery it is low key and almost action free. As a puzzle it is fair. As a portrait of a class that will be almost wiped out by the Second World War an interesting case study,
The Daughter of Time

by

One of the rare books that conveys the shear addictive glory of researching. It isn't so much the matter of what is being investigated it is how. It is a paean to the use of primary sources and wonderful reminder that conventional wisdom, even the conventional wisdom found in schoolbooks, should not be blindly accepted.
Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us

by

The author had a great idea for this book but it doesn't quite live up to my expectations. It is a good, simplified, history of the ups and downs (and returns to life) of various flavours of economics over the last century but doesn't do a good job of addressed the structural and cultural forces that play such a strong role in the curious revivification of ideas that by all logic should have long since withered. Indeed, it is a strangely apolitical book given the way in which economics and politics are two sides of the same coin.
scribd