Books, music, etc. from June 2015


I’m not Murray’s intended audience for By the People, but I found it pretty interesting after the first couple chapters, even though I probably agree with Murray about very little in the policy space.

I read the first 1/4 of Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence. It’s fairly good for what it is, but it’s the “bunch of random cool stories about history” kind of macrohistory, not the data-driven kind of macrohistory I prefer, so I gave up on it.


This month I listened to dozens of jazz albums while working on my in-progress jazz guide. I think I had heard most of them before, but it’s hard to remember which ones. My favorite listens I don’t think I’d heard before were:

Music I particularly enjoyed from other genres:


I totally loved Inside Out (2015). It’s one of the contenders for best Pixar film ever.

TV’s Wayward Pines is badly written in some ways, but its 5th episode is one of the most satisfying mystery/puzzle resolutions I’ve ever seen. The first four episodes build up a bunch of bizarre mysteries, and then the 5th episode answers most of them in a way that is surprising and rule-constrained and non-arbitrary (e.g. not magic), which is something I see so rarely I can’t even remember the last time I saw it on film/TV.


  1. Henrico Otto says

    Almost through Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence. Agreed too much historical anecdote, but the more I get through, the more I appreciate the ALLCAPS themes. Would be a much better book for me stripped of the anecdote and focused only on the themes. As it is written, sort of a slog but I do find it does a nice job giving some appreciation of how his themes have played out, swings back and forth etc. You did read the best part, I found the part on the Reformation and Counter-Reformation to be the best.

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