The Bog of Lost Scholars

March 26, 2009

Recent Reading: Economics, Biography, and Legal Fanfic

Filed under: The Castiron Reading Journal — castiron @ 7:40 pm

Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational. Ariely, a behavioral economist, shows the flaws in the traditional economic idea that people are rational actors. The book is extremely well-written, and the experiments are fascinating (and in some cases sobering). My one quibble is that I’d have liked to read more on how individuals can work around our tendencies to make decisions that aren’t in our best interest — but that would be another book (and come to think of it, Sunstein and Thaler’s Nudge would be one such other book).

Ariel Sabar, My Father’s Paradise. Sabar’s father grew up in a Jewish community in Iraq, and later emigrated to Israel and finally the U.S. File this under “need to check out again sometime when I’m more able to handle it”. What I read of it is extremely interesting and powerful, and I want to read the rest someday when I’m in a better mental state to handle it.

I’d blogged Pamela Aidan’s An Assembly Such as This but hadn’t gotten around to blogging the rest of the “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” trilogy, Duty and Desire and These Three Remain. The first book was excellent, and I seriously considered buying it and the other two rather than waiting for the library copy. But I ended up reading the library copies first, which turned out to be a good thing.

Duty and Desire covers the “missing months” between when Mr. Darcy left Netherfield and when he met up with Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford. Showing what Mr. Darcy would’ve done during this time is a great idea, but Aidan’s concept of what he might have been up to…. Well, if she were writing what Mr. Rochester had been doing in the months before he showed up at Thornfield in Jane Eyre, I’d have bought it. As a story about Mr. Darcy, it didn’t work for me. And while These Three Remain was better, it still wasn’t as good as the first; it seemed rushed. So I’m glad I didn’t spend money on these, but disappointed that they weren’t worth opening my wallet for.

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