BOOKS on the Nightstand

What’s on your bookshelf/kindle/Ipod this month?

Here are my February/March reads:

Nonfiction:  Nomi Prins “It Takes A Pillage.” Prins, who worked for investment banking firms for ten years (Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers), is a rollicking muckraker now. If you want insider information about the run-up to, as she calls it, the Second Great Depression, this is pretty good. It’s practically an encyclopedia of who did what and when. She is a self-proclaimed liberal who believes in wealth distribution, which sounds bad if you’re a Republican, but her 5-point plan for reforming the banking system has even conservatives nodding their heads in agreement that she’s got it about right.

Her new book is an historical novel based on the first Great Depression:

 (It’s on my reading list.)


Escapist Fiction:  Justin Cronin’s “The Passage”, an absorbing page-turner, if you have the time (800 pages). How to describe it?  A “Twilight” book for adults? Inspired by his daughter’s request that he write about a girl who saves the world, Cronin’s book has the feel of legend, in a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi adventure setting. It’s not as dark as a Cormack McCarthy novel, but the first 100 pages were bleak enough that I almost put it down.  Glad I didn’t.

What’s your book of the month?  I love feedback and suggestions and am always looking for a good read.


  • Wow, thanks for this. The closest I get to reading these days seems to be book reviews, but at least that tells me something about what’s out there beyond student papers. 🙂

    In case you don’t know it, I will recommend one easy read I found time for a year or so ago: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande–it’s not new, but it offers evidence that complex problems can sometimes be solved with simple, even old fashioned, solutions. I think it touches on some areas of interest to you, and Gawande is a wonderful writer–one of those incredibly talented people who do multiple things better than seems decent (but you can’t hate him, because he’s not in love with himself, just with the world).

    Here’s the Amazon description:

    “We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist. First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.

    In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.

    An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.”


  • Thank you. I’ll put it on my list. I read Atul Gawande’s “Better”, a book about medicine, earlier this year, and loved it. He does have a way of making big subjects accessible.


  • I am going to check out The Passage. I am not a fan of Twilight, but I love the idea and your description sold it to me. You should be a publicist! Thank you for checking out my blog by the way.


  • I have a pile but my next two are Nightshade by Andrea Creamer and War of Words by Simon Read. 🙂


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