Shopgirl, by Steve Martin

Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) wrote this little novella about a shopgirl in Los Angeles and her affair with a successful older businessman. In some ways, it’s a more meditative and thoughtful version of his movie, LA Story, focusing more on the isolation and desperation of those who came seeking their fortune in LA […]

Wittgenstein’s Poker, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

On Oct. 25, 1946, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, two great philosophers of the twentieth century, met for the first and only time at a philosophy club meeting at Cambridge University. Recollections vary as to exactly what happened, but strong words were definitely exchanged, and Wittgenstein may have picked up the fireplace poker and threatened […]

A Year at the Movies, by Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy, formally associated with MST3K, decided to embark on an unusual (some might even say foolhardy) quest. He decided to watch a movie a day, every day, for an entire year. And to watch movies under as varied conditions as possible. He sees movies at film festivals in Norway and projected onto a bed […]

What Management Is, by Joan Magretta

This book, recommended by The Economist, is a short treatise on the basics of management. The author, a former editor of the Harvard Business Review, seeks to distill management down to its most elementary components, which she breaks down into Design (“Why People Work Together and How”), and Execution (“Making it Happen”). I didn’t really […]

Memory and Dream, by Charles de Lint

Caitlin reminded me when I saw her over Christmas of the works of de Lint, one of the best urban fantasists around. I’ve read only a couple of his books, so when I noticed one in the library recently, I picked it up. As seems to be common in his novels, a straightforward story quickly […]

Poker Nation, by Andy Bellin

This book is an interesting peek into the world of professional gambling from one of its practitioners. With chapters ranging from poker strategy to the history of Vegas, the book necessarily is shallow in its exploration of various topics. But it definitely whets the appetite. After Bellin describes the thrill of bringing a huge bet […]

Nicole Griffith’s Aud Torvingen series

I read these two novels (The Blue Place and Stay) in January after having them recommended by a friend. Aud Torvingen is an heiress and former cop who gets sucked into some bizarre and tragic circumstances. The novels were well written, with a wealth of descriptive detail, but I didn’t really identify with Aud as […]