You know when you’re at a friend’s house, and you find yourself standing at their bookshelf, holding your drink, cocking your head at that awkward angle?

This is the same thing. It’s time for another What is A/S Reading?


Fiction Editor John Cusick just began City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau:

I’m shamed it’s taken me so long to read this fantastic series. Unfortunately, I already know the surprise ending, but that’s what I get for waiting seven years. There’s a statue of limitations on these things.

Distribution King and Managing Editor Adam Read-Brown is taking a hiatus from Infinite Jest to read Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill:

A light, feel-good read about the results of the Bush administration’s hollowing out of the U.S. government in order to make room for the privatization of war on a whole new scale. Scahill examines Blackwater as one of the largest benefactors of this process. I’m still near the beginning but I think the good guys are going to win. If you have already read it, don’t spoil the ending for me.

Managing Editor Laura McMillan admits to reading The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson:

Book 12 of The Wheel of Time, the guiltiest of guilty-pleasure
escapist fantasy series. Upon Jordan’s death, his wife handed over
drafts of the final books of this cult favorite to Sanderson. His
prose is cleaner than Jordan’s, and bosoms are removed to a
supporting, rather than a starring, role. Though events move at the
pace of an arthritic turtle, the ever-building dread, the political
machinations, and the detail of a fully-realized world are still

And I’m going to finish just in time for the release of Book 13. Take
that, literati.

Non-Fiction Editor Kevin Dugan is reading Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail:

Like Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, which I talked about last month, this book details the five W’s of the financial crisis. But this book focuses on those who went long, or invested heavily, into risky residential mortgage-backed securities and toxic collateralized debt obligations that would eventually make the global financial system wish it had never been born. Sorkin the Reporter is quite good at what he does, and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of markets, businesses and who’s who (his DealBook column/blog at the New York Times is always stacked with great scoops and stories). But Sorkin the Story-teller has some flaws that irk me. On the one hand, this book is nothing if not readable. He throws in enough gossip to counterweigh the often confusing details of financial arcana. But he can get a little cute with the creative non-fiction style he chose to employ. He also can’t seem to decide if he wants to make his book for insiders or for a general audience. Lewis’s book often went to great lengths to explain and re-explain, say, a synthetic collateralized debt obligation and why it was so fucked up. Sorkin seems to have written his book for an audience of slightly less-informed Sorkins, and honestly, if it weren’t my job to keep up with this stuff, I wouldn’t have gotten past the first 100 pages. I’d recommend Lewis’ book for beginners.

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