Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reading Update

Since I have offered very little, of late, I figure I at least provide a reading update - my only refuge from my chronic writer's block. As is my habit, I am reading five books at the same time. This time I took a picture of the books and posted it below; an idea I stole off another blog.

Apologies for the poor picture quality, I was using a camera phone.

It's an interesting grab-bag of books:
  • Every Man A Speculator – a fascinating cultural history of Wall Street. Instead of concentrating on larger than life players like other histories, this book focuses on Wall Street and every day people.

  • The Seekers – Daniel J. Boorstin’s three-volume survey of Western civilization and culture ends with a look at those philosophers, artists, writers and other cultural iconoclasts who search for the ideas. In Boorstin’s opinion, it’s not about destination but the journey there. Sounds familiar.

  • The Foreign Correspondent – Alan Furst is one of my favorite thriller writers. Like all his novels, this one takes place in pre-World War II Europe. His characters are not Americans or English, but French, Polish, Bulgarian, Dutch, and, in this book, Italian. The book is both vivid and engrossing.

  • The Great Gamble – As America’s involvement in Afghanistan continues to grow, they should take the lessons of the past very seriously. This book surveys the Soviet invasion, occupation, and retreat from Afghanistan, a country that has trapped more than one imperial power.

  • The House of Cards – A riveting account of the collapse of Bear, Stearns, who disappeared from Wall Street literally overnight. Bear, Stearns, like all stuffy Wall Street firms, suffered from hubris, when they arrogantly believed they would survive the sub-prime mortgage implosion.
I figure this will keep me busy until end of summer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Will We Ever Know Who Did It?

No doubt the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore is an act of pure terrorism, but questions remain: who and why?

Everybody, including the entire desi blogosphere, will be bandying their own pet theories; and, naturally, I have a few of my own. The pro-Pakistani bloggers will blame the attacks on a known enemy of Pakistan. This is code for India (and its intelligence agency RAW), of course. The pro-India bloggers, on the other hand, will blame Pakistani-based jihadis and their supporters (primarily the ISI).

Most people are in a fog of information regarding these matters. And we bloggers are no exception given that we get most of our information from second-hand or third-hand sources, which is hardly ideal to get at the truth. So we filter these new sources through our biases, prejudices, stereotypes, etc.

Honestly, will anyone know the truth behind this attack?