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January 09, 2011

Sunday Book Thread

The new year brings cause for rejoicing (in the literary arena, anyway). There are a couple of new releases that I feel compelled to add to my ever-growing stack of books.

First up is Stephen Hunter's latest Bob Lee Swagger book, Dead Zero. Bob is a senior citizen by now, so he makes for a somewhat unlikely action hero. Yet Hunter has always made his Swagger books about more than mayhem and gunplay; they are as much character-studies of our warrior class as much as anything. I've always thought that it was this sensitivity and understanding of the soldier's ethos that placed Hunter's novels far above the other thrillers you'd find on the bookshelf. (I still think the first Swagger novel, Point of Impact, was one of the best novels published in the last couple of decades. And Pale Horse Coming, which featured Bob's father Earl Swagger, might be far-fetched...but it is also one of the most entertaining and flat-out enjoyable of all of Hunter's books.)

If you don't read Thomas Sowell's books or columns, you should; he's probably one of the four or five best conservative economists and thinkers currently working. His classic work, Basic Economics, has been revised and updated. For people who are interested in the subject and want to go beyond Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, Sowell's book is the one I recommend. It's not exactly light reading, but neither is it book packed with hard-to-understand jargon. Sowell is a good writer and a clear thinker, and this comes out in his prose - this book is even appropriate for late high schoolers (in fact, I think this book should be required reading for every high schooler in the land; it would pay large dividends later in life).

Finally, something more light-hearted: Patrick McConnell's Earl and Mooch: A Mutts Treasury. I've loved the Mutts strip for years, mostly because I love the old-school style and gentle humor of his work. Like Bill Watterson in Calvin and Hobbes, McConnell can combine humor, pathos, a little light social commentary, and philosophy in his strips without being preachy or boring.

What is everyone else reading?


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posted by Monty at 09:14 AM

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