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First Quarter 2020 Reading

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On 1/17/2020 at 4:14 AM, Peadar said:

I'm enjoying The Big Short by Michael Lewis, as recommended by the board. Thanks to whoever mentioned it!

I just read that in December! It was excellent! I really wish there were more writers who wrote on financial services and money with the same wit and clarity as Lewis.

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3 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I just read that in December! It was excellent! I really wish there were more writers who wrote on financial services and money with the same wit and clarity as Lewis.

Try Fortune’s Formula by William Poundstone. 

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18 minutes ago, unJon said:

Try Fortune’s Formula by William Poundstone. 

Outstanding! Thank you! 

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I read Neil Gaiman's The Doll's House, which I thought was very good. As is often the case with Gaiman the side stories were more interesting than the main plot (not that there was anything wrong with the main plot). I liked the meeting-up-every-100-years story, and Fiddler's Green was a fun character. The 'cereal' convention will probably have plenty of bits which feel familiar to anyone who has attended a science fiction convention, even if the attendees in this case are serial killers.

I've now started Resurrection Men by the board's very own @Derfel Cadarn. I'm enjoying it so far, the plot is moving along at a good pace and it's making good use of the late 19th Century Glasgow setting.

On 1/17/2020 at 1:54 PM, Teng Ai Hui said:

Recently I finished the Murderbot novellas by Martha Wells. 

I've read the first two and enjoyed them a lot. I need to get the others sometime.

I saw that Wells has a Murderbot novel coming out soon.

Edited by williamjm

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16 hours ago, IlyaP said:

I just read that in December! It was excellent! I really wish there were more writers who wrote on financial services and money with the same wit and clarity as Lewis.

I have William J. Bernstein's  A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World from Prehistory to Today sitting on my shelves. Not specifically monetary and financial, but it may be of some interest to you.

Edited by Astromech

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i've started off the year by continuing a run through butcher's dresden files books.  both death masks and blood rites have been read since the beginning of the year...just wonderful reading really.  i'm behind most readers and, most likely, many on the board but so far i've enjoyed myself immensely...started dead beat immediately after and i really didn't sleep much last night.

 

if any of you have yet to pull the trigger, i highly recommend these :cheers:

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23 hours ago, williamjm said:

I've now started Resurrection Men by the board's very own @Derfel Cadarn. I'm enjoying it so far, the plot is moving along at a good pace and it's making good use of the late 19th Century Glasgow setting.

 

I applaud your impeccable taste. And good timing. Book 2 (of 4) is due out this year. It’s currently at the proofreading stage with the publisher. I’ll update the release date once known.

I’m working on the follow-up to my fantasy Thorns of a Black Rose, but I’ll also be planning the last two volumes in the quartet this year (which can take time - book 2 took about 6 months to plan, and the latter parts of that changed as i wrote it).

But all going well, I hope to have book 3 done by end of next year, and book 4 by the end of 2022.

Edited by Derfel Cadarn

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On 1/18/2020 at 1:39 AM, IlyaP said:

I just read that in December! It was excellent! I really wish there were more writers who wrote on financial services and money with the same wit and clarity as Lewis.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I stole the idea from you. Thank you! I've only just finished it, and while a few bits and pieces flew over my head, the parts I did understand were... terrifying. It's the only word I can think of. Not just because there was a massive fraud that destroyed the lives of millions, but because almost all of the bad guys walked away with millions in taxpayer's money. And how those traders think of us little people! Honestly, this sort of thing should be required viewing, like the locked room in Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas". We should all be made to face the reality before we're allowed to borrow or invest money.

 

Not sure what's next for me. I'll probably read a few sample chapters and decide then.

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I started 2020 with Roy's much-lauded The God of Small Things. I can see why many people love this book and I certainly agree that it is beautifully-crafted, heartbreaking and really captures the tragic essence of India. But I couldn't help but to compare it to A Fine Balance, which is still my number one Indian/cultural text. 

Next is some classic fantasy with Williams' Stone of Farewell

On 1/15/2020 at 3:35 PM, Leap said:

I just finished Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. 

Wow. I kind of expected to struggle with this, and indeed it did take a bit of getting through...but I did not expect to love it so much by the end. I found this to be breathtakingly profound, and so beautifully laid out. This is the first time in a long time that I've read a book that I've immediately thought of re-reading. If I didn't have a read challenge on for the year, I just might. I still might if I make good progress.  

I also found it to be a bit of a slog, but it has tremendous payoff. Plus now I understand the song :P.

Also: shame on all the cricket haters in this thread! (For the record, my av is a pic of a famous ex-cricketer comparing modern-day bats with the bats of yesteryear). 

Edited by Paxter

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9 hours ago, Peadar said:

Not just because there was a massive fraud that destroyed the lives of millions, but because almost all of the bad guys walked away with millions in taxpayer's money. And how those traders think of us little people!

The intense immediacy of a trading floor environment leaves little room (or time) to think about consequences, sadly. 

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11 hours ago, IlyaP said:

The intense immediacy of a trading floor environment leaves little room (or time) to think about consequences, sadly. 

I'm sure that's true, but regulators need to keep a lid on it with a "prove it's safe" policy for so-called "financial innovations." Just my opinion!

 

Up next, Recursion by Blake Crouch. 

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3 hours ago, Peadar said:

I'm sure that's true, but regulators need to keep a lid on it with a "prove it's safe" policy for so-called "financial innovations." Just my opinion!

Peadar, if I could give you a tour and show you the software and hardware technology in use and its applications and the social dynamics, you'd understand just how difficult the role of regulators is. 

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1 hour ago, IlyaP said:

Peadar, if I could give you a tour and show you the software and hardware technology in use and its applications and the social dynamics, you'd understand just how difficult the role of regulators is. 

Oh, I believe it. Aslo, there was a scene in the book, where he explains that the rewards of working for the dealers are ten times what you get for working for the regulators. With such incentives, the smarter people tend to be working for one side and not the other. Must be bloody difficult, all right. Which is why I am in favour of a guilty until proven innocent approach to new instruments.

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23 hours ago, Paxter said:

I also found it to be a bit of a slog, but it has tremendous payoff. Plus now I understand the song :P.

Hmm, so now I need to listen to the song. I've never been a fan of Kate Bush and looking at the lyrics, they don't mention Edgar at all! Outrageous.

Since finishing Wuthering Heights, I've completely read We Have Always Lived In The Castle, by Shirley Jackson. I enjoyed it a lot, and I probably would have given it 5 stars if it had gone another 100 pages or so. 

Now I have picked up two more books - both large, so I probably won't finish either before February. 

First, Once Upon A River, by Diane Setterfield. I'm only about 10 pages into this one, so there is a long way to go, but I am struggling a bit. The style of prose is really grating on me. Hopefully it gets better, or at least that as the story really begins I will be able to look past it. Either way, I am going to try to burn through this one quickly as I have an opportunity to rotate all my books in mid-February, and would like to get this one and one more read by then.

Next, a joint edition of Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species, and I am part way through the former. This book is a good 950 pages long, so I picked it up more as a background book to read before bed rather than my main book for my commute. Voyage of the Beagle is so far really engaging, and at this point I am really impressed by Darwin himself. It's also split episodically very neatly, so at the rate of a chapter a day I'll be on to the Origin of Species in early February. I don't know what to expect there, so this book may still take a long while to get through. 

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Got tired of waiting on audiobooks in my library app and signed up for a year of Scribd. Been listening to Malazan stuff for the first time. It'll be awhile before I emerge from this hole.

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7 hours ago, Peadar said:

With such incentives, the smarter people tend to be working for one side and not the other. Must be bloody difficult, all right.

It has, in fairness, gotten better. And the regulations are far, far better than what they were ten years ago.

(There's an argument to be made here for restructuring financial services organisations into smaller company units, to make management and regulation easier.)

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On 1/21/2020 at 7:59 PM, Leap said:

Hmm, so now I need to listen to the song. I've never been a fan of Kate Bush and looking at the lyrics, they don't mention Edgar at all! Outrageous.

Since finishing Wuthering Heights, I've completely read We Have Always Lived In The Castle, by Shirley Jackson. I enjoyed it a lot, and I probably would have given it 5 stars if it had gone another 100 pages or so. 

Now I have picked up two more books - both large, so I probably won't finish either before February. 

First, Once Upon A River, by Diane Setterfield. I'm only about 10 pages into this one, so there is a long way to go, but I am struggling a bit. The style of prose is really grating on me. Hopefully it gets better, or at least that as the story really begins I will be able to look past it. Either way, I am going to try to burn through this one quickly as I have an opportunity to rotate all my books in mid-February, and would like to get this one and one more read by then.

Next, a joint edition of Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species, and I am part way through the former. This book is a good 950 pages long, so I picked it up more as a background book to read before bed rather than my main book for my commute. Voyage of the Beagle is so far really engaging, and at this point I am really impressed by Darwin himself. It's also split episodically very neatly, so at the rate of a chapter a day I'll be on to the Origin of Species in early February. I don't know what to expect there, so this book may still take a long while to get through. 

If you are into podcasts, In Our Time did quite a good one on Wuthering Heights back in September 2017 (I found it yesterday by coibcidence doing the good old scroll and stop method of random selection). 

I also enjoyed their podcast on The Time Machine and H G Wells so I will be rereading that next

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I listened to Jim DeFelice's West Like Lightning, The Brief Legendary Ride of the Pony Express. Weaves facts and fictions of the Pony Express together within the larger tapestry of the US at the time of its brief ride of 18 months from 1860-1861. Characters such as Wild Bill Hickok, Kit Carson, Charles Fremont and Jim Bridger are discussed alongside Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, James Buchanan and George Custer. Technology and travel, the Western expansion. Interesting listen or read about this short period.

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Trying something new and just started reading, simultaneously, the following fantasy books based on a twitter recommendation.  Am going to read first 10-15 pages of each and then continue with the one that most grabs my imagination, although guidance welcome: 

1. The Tethered Mage

2. The Last Wish

3.  The Barrow

4. The watchmaker of filigree street

5. The Grace of Kings

6. The Queens of Innis Lear

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