I have been thinking about universal basic income (UBI) a lot lately, and luckily enough so have a lot of
other people. The New York Times book review had a review of two books about UBI, so I decided to
pick up one of them to further my interest. The War on Normal People has a subtitle
of "The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future" which
made me think it was going to be heavy on the justification for UBI. The book instead is more an
argument for why the author thinks "automation" is finally going to hit the economy in the next
decade or two and result in so much unemployment that a UBI, among other things, is necessary.
I had this book Flow (again) on my Kindle and couldn't remember whether I had read it
yet or not, so I decided to read it. Just now as I sat down to write this I realized I coud have
checked this blog to find out if I had read it before and lo and behold I read it in
2015. This is somewhat disheartening as while reading it this time I
had a lot of profound thoughts about it being meaningful and how I want to change some things, but
clearly I had some of these thoughts before and here I am.
A Brief History of Seven Killings, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, is a
challenging read spanning several decades centered on the attempted assassination of Bob
Marley. Each chapter is told from a different point of view, and these points of view vary wildly.
A large portion of the book is in Patois which made the reading a struggle at times.
The Shining is yet another Stephen King book that made it on to my list. I have seen
the movie more than a few times over my life but never got around to reading the book. I am so glad
that I finally did because yet again the book is much more nuanced and, I hate saying it, better than
the movie. I don't hate saying it as if I expect the movie to be better, I am just as annoyed as
everyone else when someone has to say "oh the book is better" when someone mentions liking a movie.
I really enjoyed The Shining the movie, in fact it is one of my favorites because Kubrick is my
favorite director and horror is my favorite genre.
The last in the batch of parenting books that I bought, The Danish Way of Parenting
turns to Denmark as a bastion of happiness to explain why the country is so generally happy by
placing the blame on their unique parenting style. Obviously the authors don't claim this is the
only reason, but it stands to reason that a homogenous country might have developed a relatively
homogenous parenting style.
The Harvard Psychedelic Club was recommended to me by Taya as she was surprised I had
not read it already. I had a decent understanding of the major events the book covers, but less so
the specific details of the lives of the major players. The book is probably best understood if you
have experienced some psychedelics, but the history is interesting regardless.
Bringing Up Bébé is a book memoir combined with a book on parenting advice. The main
point is that the culture of parenting in Paris is different than in America. She does a good job of
distilling the differences down to something digestable and beyond anecdote from her personal
experience. There are reasons for why the cultures have developed certain attitudes towards child
rearing and these differences have an impact on the lives of both parents and children. Most of it
is driving a narrative that the French system is better, but there are some tempering points about
why things are not always "better".
American Gods made its way on to my reading list again for some unknown reason. I
think someone asked me if I liked Neil Gaiman and as usual I said "Who?" This is a road trip book
at its core as well as a book about American culture.
After reading Horns, I put NOS4A2 on my list and was excited to get to it. The dark
comedy genre really fits my personality for some reason, and NOS4A2 fits right into that. One
might say reasonably that this book is actually horror, but a little horror with a bit of comedy
usually is more of a comedy to me.
Taya recommend another Ursula K. Le Guin book, The Dispossessed, which is set roughly in
the same scifi universe as The Left Hand of Darkness.
The planet is different, the characters and story are different, but there is a feeling of
similarity to everything that is comforting. Overall the book was fantastic, both in execution and