Killing for bananas??!!

Oh, yeah. War, disease, pestilence, labor violence, regime change — all to preserve the banana-driven profits of the United Fruit Company. Peter Chapman explores banana politics and history in about 200 breezy pages. It’s an entertaining and horrifying cautionary tale. Read about bananas, think big oil and other multi-nationals.


The bookshelf: The Black Box, by Michael Connelly

The Black BoxThe Black Box by Michael Connelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, deus ex machina to the max. Pleasantly surprised not to be disappointed — Connelly’s recent ones have not been so very great — until the very end. And then. Crash. Maybe he will explain it one day.

Plot line: Harry Bosch works to solve a murder that occurred in the LA riots 20 years ago. Meanwhile, his new boss is out to get him.

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On the record: The NYT on reading and reading devices

From The New York Times:

The smartphone has clearly been recent technology’s greatest gift to literacy. Carrying one obliterates one’s greatest fear: of being trapped somewhere — a train, the D.M.V., a toilet — with nothing whatsoever to read.

Most of what I devour on my phone is journalism: out-of-town newspapers and links gleaned from Twitter and Facebook. Ben Franklin would have liked this palm-size medium. He’s the founding father who said, “Read much, but not too many books.”

Corallary: If you are stuck in a line with nothing to read, it is your own damned fault.

From the reading rack: on Atlas Shrugged

I am reading Atlas Shrugged and meant eventually to write about how really bad this book is. But someone already did that. From Wet Asphalt:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the worst book ever published. The characters are poorly drawn, the story is ridiculous, the philosophical underpinnings are incoherent and morally repugnant, and the writing is incompetent. Quite frankly and put as simply as I possibly can, there is no value to this book, it should not be read by anyone for any reason.

It’s a fascinating book, though, like a car crash.