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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

 
On the bookshelf, part two: Few notes before I launch into the day's post (first one in what, 11 days?). Number one. I hope to start posting at least t a semi-regular pace, 4 posts a week. Hey, you gotta start small, and I've got some ideas churning for posts. It's turning posts into type that tends to be the problem. Number two. Turned 20 last week, now sitting just a month away from JUNIOR YEAR at American. Jeez. Time flies. I'll be switching over to a new laptop, which, along with AU's wireless capability, might turn me into a more productive blogger. I hope so, because I'd like to pick up SOME traffic. Number three. If you don't see anything new from me, peruse the links. High quality, especially the new baseball-blogging community that's springing up. Number four. I need to fix the archive template. At some point.

Anyone searching for my first set of book reviews (The Mageborn Traitor and Moneyball) can find those here.

First on the list tonight: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It's a Potter book, which is instrumental in the understanding of any review. I liked it very much, even when I wasn't exactly sure where the plot was going. Everything seemed to fit together pretty nicely in the end, except for a few wand confusions which could have been my own anxiousness (When a wand appears to break, and then is used pages later, either I'm hallucinating or I've missed something. Anyone who wants to clarify this for me is welcome to.) In the end, though, the book doesn't do much for the long-term plot. Most of the book is devoted to the diversionary "enemy" in the person of Dolores Umbridge, representing the Ministry of Magic, which is skeptical of Dumbledore and Harry's claims that Voldemort has returned. In the end, the long term value of the book is more suspect than the short-term. Several key discoveries are made about events heretofore unknown to the reader (mainly, the whole freaking backstory), and that's what important. In hindsight, the Umbridge stuff appears to be filler (...maybe). Conclusion: It's Potter. If you like Potter, you've read it. If you don't, I'm not changing your mind on that.

Book two: Unwritten Laws: The Unofficial Rules of Life As Handed Down by Murphy and Other Sages by Hugh Rawson. Yes, that is a mouthful. A good read, although it's not really a read. It's in reference book form, alphabetized and annotated by Rawson. Interesting stuff on the origins and such. I picked it up in the bargain books section. I think it'll just be funny to have something like this on the bookshelf (Rawson quotes 7 or 8 similar books on the market. Pick one.)

Book three: The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria. READ THIS BOOK. The importance of this book in understanding the future of foreign realtions is much like the effect of Moneyball on the future of baseball. Except that foreign relations are just A BIT more important than baseball. It's an instructive book, too, in laying out the problems facing mankind in the post-Cold War era, exactly what the roots of those problems are, and how to deal with them. Zakaria's main point is that liberty should be valued more highly than democracy, and by doing the opposite, the world has created its own set of problems with over-democratization. The chapters on United States government, and then business and culture lay this out in an astonishingly clear way. READ THIS BOOK. I can't possibly stress this enough. This article with a trial balloon pushing Zakaria for Secretary of State might just be on to something.

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