Reading With Fakename: This Week

I finished Too Good To Be True, the book about Bernie Madoff.  Besides Madoff himself, who else was a villain?  That turns out to be harder to determine than you might think.  Madoff was a pure villain, and at the other end of the spectrum there are pure victims.  But in between there is a huge gray area.  Who among the players was duped, making them fall on the victim side of the equation, and who among them were enablers with a pretty good idea about what was happening?  Where is Shakespeare when you need him? 

One of the more chilling quotes in the book is this one from Ezra Merkin:  “As long as investors remain human, and thus subject to greed, fear, pressure, doubt, and the entire range of human emotions, there will be money to be made by those who steel themselves to overcome emotion.”  In other words, there’s a sucker born every minute. 

From the unsettling end to that book, I moved on to Tuna:  A Love Story.  This book is by Richard Ellis, who wrote On Thin Ice, the book about polar bears I recently read.  Tuna tells the story of the bluefin tuna, which we are in the process of loving to death.  Not far into it, I realized that I had exceeded my capacity to read depressing stuff, especially back-to-back.  I may still read it one day, just not now.  This required an emergency trip to the library.  What I needed was a little Dave Barry, or Carl Hiassen.  If Tina Fey wrote books, that would have been just the ticket. 

Just in time, I remembered that I had pledged to read along with Fran’s book club.  Fran is a former high school classmate and now Facebook friend who lives in the D.C. area.  April’s book is The Summer Guest, by Justin Cronin, and Fran assured me the book was lightweight.  I’m now just over a hundred pages into it, and I can say that truer words were never spoken.  If it weren’t for Fran, and my pledge, I would have given up on this book 50 pages ago.  It’s a good thing I’m not actually there and won’t be present in the book club meeting next Tuesday, because I’d have to be asking the hostess “What were you thinking?”

I keep waiting for something to Happen in the book–not that something Happening is a requirement, but plot is normally a good thing to have in a novel.  And then around page 100 or so, there was a quote that made it all worth it. 

One of the characters, Harry, is dying of cancer and has come to the fishing camp in Maine where he spent every summer.  He came the summer after his wife died, and Harry’s son says the camp is what got Harry through.  At the time, Harry said to his son, It has the pure beauty of having been forgotten. 

I was just stunned by that quote.  Haven’t we all been to a place like that?  A place of timelessness, where you are reminded that it will go on and be there long after you are not?  But instead of feeling regretful, you feel completely at peace with the idea?  Maybe you haven’t, but I hope so.  That feeling doesn’t last long, and you can’t force it to occur.

So now, whatever the book holds, I’m with it to the end.

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4 responses to “Reading With Fakename: This Week

  1. I’m reading a horse-training book. This book, very famous in certain circles, has a message that speaks to me. This is how I want my interaction with my horses to be! Light, fair, safe. I am so with this message.

    Now it took me until after my 1st renewal to get through Chapter 2.

    If ever there was a message more obscured by the medium, I haven’t found it and wouldn’t persevere if I did. But this one, this one has a message that resonates with my being.

    I’m now into Chapter 4, sledgehammer and shovel in mind, uncovering the message that I so want to hear. It’s conceivable that I will finish before I need to renew it again.

    It didn’t have to be this way. You could write a folksy-style book without making it impenetrable.

    PS: I am at odds with one small part of the message – my ponies get hand-fed treats.

  2. I have renewed the horse-training book yet again. But I have an excuse …

    A friend loaned me a book, checked out from her library since mine doesn’t have it, that I need to give back to her on Saturday. The book is “Full Tilt” by Dervla Murphy who, in 1963, rode a bicycle from Ireland to India via Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan …

    She mentions waking up one morning to see the Buddhas carved in their niches – the ones the Taliban cannonaded.

  3. Today I read Dervla’s description of biking through the Khyber Pass and in the Swat valley in Pakistan. From this distance of 40+ years, it seems so unreal.

  4. More Reading with Fakename coming this weekend 🙂

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