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This week was my quarterly “week off from email / telephone / work.” However, I didn’t really feel like I needed a complete break this time, so I kept up with email although I stayed off the phone. Amy and I finished up a great month in Paris with lots of reading, walking around, a trip to the Louvre, great runs on the Seine, some good meals, and more reading. But – no blogging – and it was really refreshing. I hope you missed me.
I started the week with Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I love Hemingway. I’ve read this book about 10 times, but this was the first time I’ve read it while walking the streets of Paris. It was perfect.
Douglas Coupland’s JPod was next. Coupland is predictably hysterical and after I laughed out loud for the 30th time, Amy tore the book out of my hands, read it, and then gave it back to me to finish. JPod is an appropriate update to Microserfs. His descriptions of China are over the top.
I struggled through King of the Jews, a version of the story of Arnold Rothstein, the original New York jewish mobster and the inspiration for Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby. Tosches is a complex writer, there were several threads going simultaneously, and a lot of the history was lost on me.
Hedgehogging by Barton Biggs was a great romp through the Biggs’ view of the hedge fund world. He talked liberally from his experience of setting up his own hedge fund, along with many stories and anecdotes about fellow hedgehogs. Biggs has always been a superb writer – even his market missives from Morgan Stanley – while not literary gems – were always stimulated and thought provoking.
Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst was fucking hard to read. It was also impossible to put down. Dan Reingold was one of the top two telecom analysts from 1997 – 2002 (the other was the infamous Jack Grubman) – this was Reingold’s side of the story. Reading the ride up and the ride down – especially knowing how it ends – was just painful.
The Visiting Professor was absolutely brilliant. I’m glad I ended with it. I tried to read Littell’s The Company last summer and never got into it. I’ll try again, with new appreciation for his writing style – I think I was just daunted by the size of the book. It’s nice to finish up my Paris trip with my new friends L. Falk and Occasional Rain.
During the week, I’ve been listening to Atlas Shrugged on my iPod as I run. This is the first time I’ve run while listening to an audio version of a book. Atlas Shrugged is one of my mainstays (Amy carries it with her everywhere), but I haven’t read it from cover to cover in a decade. Listening to it while I run has surpassed my expectations – I’ve enjoyed running to music, but getting lost in a book on a run is just awesome, especially one with Dagny, Hank, Francisco, John, and other old friends.
My palette is cleansed, my brain is rested, and I’m ready to return to Galt’s Gulch.