I’ve been doing more reading lately, now that I don’t have school anymore (see more on that theory here), and I thought I’d get your opinions on two books that I finished last week.
Brace yourself, because the two books are wildly different from one another. In fact, I don’t think there are two more opposite books.
The first is called The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (fun fact: he also wrote Moneyball, which got made into a movie with Brad Pitt in it.)
It’s all about the stock market crash in ’08 and the events that led up to it. It was fascinating. In 2008, I didn’t pay much attention to the world outside of Kuyper College and was pretty blissfully unaware of the chaos going down on Wall Street (that is, until I got my investment statement in the mail and saw scary numbers…). Now I read a lot of news and listen to NPR frequently, so I like to think I’m a bit more informed now. Anyway, I digress. Basically, this book explains why the stock market crashed by chronicling the stories of the people who saw it coming… which was a very small number of people (which seem crazy, when you understand how inevitable the crash really was). The stories of these 3 groups of people was SO INTERESTING–they each shorted the market by betting against the subprime mortgage market and made millions.
It sounds dull. I know. But the author actually made the book very engaging and (sort of) easy to understand. The most remarkable thing to me, I think, was that these very few people who actually MADE money when the stock market crashed weren’t crooks who’d hoped for this outcome–they tried to tell others but everyone on Wall Street was quite entrenched in their own views, didn’t understand what was actually happening, and didn’t ever think that a crash that big could happen. And once these people made millions, they weren’t even that excited about it–and rightly so–because the financial world as it was came crashing down around them.
I’m not explaining this well. But regardless, it is a good book.
Fasten your seatbelts. The other book I read was Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. Yes.
This is one of the books that would make me, as a child, go into my room for hours and not be seen or heard from. (My mother called it “caving”… being grounded would never have worked for me. I would have loved it.) It took me only about an hour to read this one, but I remember them being a lot longer when I was younger…hmmm. I did still enjoy the 3 or 4 illustrations in the book, though, just as I used to.
Obviously, this books is about an attractive teenage sleuth who solves mysteries. *Spoiler alert*–she solved the mystery in this book, but not without getting into some perilous, near-death situations first.
There’s not much more I can say about it. It was awesome.
Question: Where do I go from here? What should I read next? Obviously my tastes are very wide ranging. (I should tell you about the science fiction series I read this winter…it was totally intended for an audience of middle school boys. But it was great. I read all the books in the series.)
June 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm
I love Michael Lewis! He wrote a little follow-up to The Big Short called Boomerang. It actually started with one of the characters that didn’t make it into the Big Short. Its about the economic crisis in Iceland, Greece, Ireland and Germany. Its short though, only 200 pages, and a lot easier to read than Big Short. If you haven’t read Moneyball, it’s good too- not as “sports story-ish” as you might expect.
In fiction- I recommend Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Its a mystery type book that might actually give you chills at some point.
Hope your summer is off to a good start!
June 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Ooooh, good suggestions! Kenny just bought Liar’s Poker, Lewis’ earlier book about the financial crisis in the 80s that I plan to read eventually. I hadn’t heard about Boomerang but will definitely check it and Turn of the Screw out. I should really read Moneyball as well–loved that movie.
June 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm
I love reading your Blog Annie! 🙂 And… keep posting about the books you read, I am always looking for something great! I need to start reading more again too.