Finances tend to be a bit of a topic around December, as folks decide what their budget for gifts should be and whether or not to blow those budgets. The Nevermore Book Club went one better by taking a look at national global economics, courtesy of the books Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, both by Michael Lewis. The latter book examined the background of the 2008 economic downturn in the U.S., while Boomerang has more of a global perspective. Lewis is one of those authors who can take complex subjects and make them not only understandable but readable. . . and even funny. He’s also the author of The Blind Side, basis for the Sandra Bullock movie of the same name, as well as Moneyball, which was made into a movie with Brad Pitt.
Thomas Friedman’s That Used to be Us discusses the challenges the United States faces in order to remain a world leader, including globalization, deficits, and the information revolution. This book was considered a good one, but not exactly riveting.
Of course, this wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea; or as one club member put it, “Who needs Ambien when we have economics?”
The antidote to that was a recommendation for George Pelecanos’ new book The Cut, the first in a new series of thrillers about Iraqi war veteran Spero Lucas who specializes in recovering stolen property, no questions asked. The only requirement is that Lucas gets a flat 40% of what is recovered. He accepts an assignment from a marijuana dealer to recover some missing shipments of product, but soon learns that the personal toll may be too great to pay. Pelecanos was a writer on “The Wire,” where the city of Baltimore was so vividly portrayed that it was almost a character itself. The Cut is set in Washington, D.C., another city Pelecanos knows and describes well.