This blog's soon going to go silent for a little while, but first a few book notes --
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, by Michael Sandel, is really a terrific book, despite the fact that it's almost all "data", with very little "theory". Most of the book is a journalistic account of what all we can now buy. It's is stuffed with amazing examples. Sandel thinks we should be troubled on grounds that commodification leads to unfairness and corrosion of values. A key concept running through the book is that market values crowd out other values. Lots and lots of food for thought here.
Last Man on Tower, by Aravind Adiga. The White Tiger was fantastic, so I had high hopes for Adiga's latest novel. Unfortunately, it's a bit slow and too long and linear. Obscure analogy, which can only be appreciated if you've read all four of these books: Rohinton Mistry's book A Fine Balance is to his next book Family Matters as White Tiger is to Last Man on Tower. I just know that's not going to show up on the SATs anytime soon. After Mistry wrote A Fine Balance, an utterly gripping novel about poverty, he turned to the quieter topic of middle class families and housing. Adiga made exactly the same transition.