Book Corner 2019.25.holy.shit


We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We need to talk about Kevin.

Right now.

This novel consumed me.  In a way, my daily world revolved around that hour or so per night I could get back to the story.  Some nights the Disturbing factor was off the charts and I felt uneasy; most nights I just left the book in rapt admiration at how each chapter ending left me dying to know how it would reach its inevitable violent climax.

I didn’t even care about the secondary questions, like “Why does she stay in this marriage!?” and “Isn’t Franklin drawn as just a little TOO much of a jerk?  Why does she love him again?”  The mother-son relationship mattered too much to care about the realism or frustration in the other relationships.

LOVED the conclusion.  No spoilers.


4 More Makes 5/7


Four more shearings today.  From left to right, above: Janet, Columbia, Beatrice.  Though who could tell!  Except Columbia is developing quite a curl to her horns.

Beatrice yielded 9 pounds; Zowie (not shown), 8 lbs. 12 oz.  Both of those will hopefully be sold straight to Green Mountain Spinnery; Beatrice and Zowie are the youngest at only 2 and 3 years old respectively, and they’d been coated all winter.

Janet yielded 8 pounds after I’d skirted (thrown away) a fair amount for filth and scabby skin – she had the bugs really bad.  Columbia also had bad bugs, but produced a yield that was beyond my little scale’s capacity.

Now just the big boys remain.

Book Corner 2019.23


A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp **

I liked when Thorp told his life story – I love memoirs.  I liked his writing voice.  I looked forward to learning a bit about how he beat the casinos and then the stock market, fully prepared that it would likely be all above my head.

And yeah it was.  Thorp was a young prodigy mathematician.  He figured out how to win big at blackjack.  It involved counting cards, and memorizing strategies for 500 or so possible deals he might be faced with, and betting larger or smaller depending on where he was in the deck.

Then the casinos got wise to him, made some rule changes about betting, started shuffling the deck on him every other deal, and just plain started cheating, too.  He claims it was the cheating that made him give up gambling and turn to investing.

He then devised a hedging approach to investing, which had to do with plotting stock prices an buying certain ones while simultaneously selling them short – I understood this even less than I understood the blackjack, frankly.  I tried to get the gist of everything I was reading, but it did go on and on, and I kept wanting more life story.

The book itself felt like it would never end.  He gives a chapter of thoroughly boilerplate explanation of the 2008 financial crisis, which sheds absolutely no new light on anything.  He gives a chapter of investment advice which likewise fails to shatter the earth.  Finally he talks a bit about his own philanthropic outlays – endowing a mathematics chair at UC Irvine, and helping stem cell research.  Thorp is still alive, in his 80s.