1. Autobiography of Malcolm X. A very well written autobiography from a man I didn’t know much about. The story of his life as conveyed in this book is variously inspiring, deeply saddening, and infuriating. Recommended.
2. Achieving Our Country by Richard Rorty. The first I’ve read of this late, great American philosopher. The title comes from Rorty’s view that liberals (like himself) see America as yet un-achieved and therefore it’s necessary to struggle and change to achieve those ideals. He distinguishes between reform liberalism and cultural liberalism. Recommend for those interested in political theory and/or two strands of liberalism but for anyone else I’d pass.
3. Back in the World: Stories by Tobias Wolff. I love Wolff’s writing but this set of short fiction stories didn’t do much for me.
4. Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai by Ben Mezrich. The author of “Bringing Down the House.” He employs cheesy techniques to keep you turning the pages but in the end the book’s subtitle fails to deliver. All the main character did was set up an oil exchange in the Middle East? You expect something truly groundbreaking, and so it’s a let down.
I spent 20 minutes with Ted Turner’s new memoir Call Me Ted which has been on the bestseller list. A publicist sent it to me. The writing is terrible. Really, it appears he had zero editing. Not recommended. However I did learn in flipping through it that Turner was sent off to boarding school at age four. Yes, four years old. He says ever since he’s had problems being alone. It figures.