Finished A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin, latest book in the Ice and Fire series. Enjoyed reading it quite a lot. I wasn't that impressed with "A Feast for Crows" which concentrated on the less-interesting characters, but this seemed an improvement. Has some nice scenes and some good drama.
However, while I was gripped by the first half, by the second half it was clear that the main plot is only advancing pretty slowly. A lot of stuff is happening, but the big stuff seems to be deferred. Could have had a couple of big battles, but they're either deferred or happening between paragraphs.
Also one key event just didn't seem plausible to me. After Jon Snow has spent all that time staying true to his vows and out of politics of Westeros, after he's ignored the fact that psychopathic torturer Ramsay Bolton is apparently marrying his sister, it just didn't make sense to me that he suddenly decide to go chasing off to rescue Mance Ryder of all people.
Overall, pretty good, but I don't think he's going to live up to the initial promise of the series.
What I'm Reading 2
Smile or Die by Barbara Ehrenreich is a book systematically attacking the Positive Thinking fad that's dominated America in various forms, from corporate brainwashing to personal self-improvement to religion.
Pretty good, especially when she goes into detail on how the health benefits have been systematically exaggerated.
Overall as you'd expect it seems to be better to be realistic rather than either optimistic or pessimistic: pessimists sabotage themselves, optimists underestimate risks and can cause themselves harm.
I think she goes slightly too far in trying to assign some blame for the banking crisis, when greed and self-interest were powerful motivators as well.
Worth a read if you're interested.
Economics. Rating Agencies, (seem like Gosplan to me, may well employ smart people but that much centralization is deadly). Why Tyler Cowen is wrong to say "We thought were were richer than we are" via.
Random. Space junk: Opportunity finds own heat shield, Columbia debris found in lake. Mysteries: German tunnels, via. Dead Grandmaster plays chess, via. Dating sites. Batman bin Suparman may be real person.
Politics. EDL ditch shadowy strategist Alan Lake.
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