Thursday, December 31, 2009

How I Read 52 Books This Year

About a year ago, I made public my goal of reading 50 books in 2009.

With only hours left in the decade, I'm proud to say, I've read 52!

But here's the weird part -- it didn't actually feel like it took any time, leaving me and my loved ones relatively sane. Here's why:

-I started to take a book with me everywhere. Between lines at the grocery store, waiting for the F train (ugh), spending time on said F train and tardy dinner guests, I carved out a couple of hours each week, even with a mere 20 minute commute. I also became less grumpy about waiting for things.
-I travel a fair amount. Flights = still never on time.
-I watch almost no TV.
-Books related to work were fair game.
-I joined two book clubs. I can’t recommend this enough! I learned so much about my friends through these nerdy gatherings. These will continue in 2010!
-I’m a relatively fast reader.
-I read multiple books at a time. This allowed me to teeter and totter through fiction and non-fiction based on my mood and avoiding the feeling of being bogged down.
-I don’t read at the gym, but am not opposed to it. Tons of untapped time there.
-I cancelled three magazine subscriptions.
-I didn't play much clarinet. Frown.
-When the weather turns crappy, I become a hermit.
-In late 2008, I became a coffee drinker. Thanks, recession.

Here's what I read in 2009, in the order I read 'em in:
1. "The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga
2. "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson
3. "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson
4. "The Wall Street Journal Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook" by David Crook
5. "Barrel Fever" by Dave Sedaris
6. "A Bend in the River" by V.S. Naipaul
7. "Diary of a Bad Year" by J.M. Coetzee
8. "Levittown" by David Kushner
9. "Other Voices, Other Rooms" by Truman Capote
10. "Boyhood" by J.M. Coetzee
11. "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" by John le Carre
12. "The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
13. “Dorothy Parker: Complete Stories” by Dorothy Parker
14. “The Memoirs of John Likkel” by John Likkel*
15. “The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean
16. “Out of the Pits” by Caitlin Zaloom
17. “Between the Assassinations” by Aravind Adiga
18. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon
19. “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
20. “The Partly Cloudy Patriot” by Sarah Vowell
21. “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy
22. “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” by David Foster Wallace
23. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
24. “Smart Women Marry Money” by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake (For WSJ!)
25. “Then We Came to the End” by Joshua Ferris
26. “Nobody Move” by Denis Johnson
27. “The Name of the World” by Denis Johnson
28. “Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: the Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category” ed. Dave Eggers, etc.
29. “The Stranger” by Albert Camus
30. “Angels” by Denis Johnson
31. "American Pastoral" by Philip Roth
32. "Reservation Blues" by Sherman Alexie
34. "The Insanity Defense" by Woody Allen
35. "Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami
36. "Indignation" by Philip Roth
37. "Snap Judgement" by David Adler (author Q and A)
38. "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie
39. "Monopolygate" by Ralph Anspach (Obvi!)
40. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larsson
41. "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison
42. "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates
43. "The Billionaire's Vinegar" by Benjamin Wallace
44. "The Night of the Gun" by David Carr
45. "Farewell, my Lovely" by Raymond Chandler
46. "Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How it Got That Way" by Philip E. Orbanes
47. "The Game Makers" by Philip E. Orbanes
48. "The History of Standard Oil: Volume I" by Ida Tarbell
49. "The House of Spirits" by Isabelle Allende
50. "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan
51. "Liar's Poker" by Michael Lewis
52. “Timequake” by Kurt Vonnegut

I also jotted down a list of the movies I read this year. As I skim through the lists, my memory is jogged. “Coraline” was viewed with my eight-year-old nephew in 3-D, David Foster Wallace rattled me on my birthday, “Revolutionary Road” danced in my head as I wrote stories about the decay of the U.S. economy. I’m no Art Garfunkel or Harriet Klausner, but I’d recommend this quick, literary and film-diet notetaking for anyone.

Halfway through the year, I bought a new bookshelf. As I sit here on New Year’s Eve in a snow-covered New York City, I look at that shelf. It’s overflowing with different books recommended to me, some loaned, some purchased, from friends and family who cheered me on throughout the year. Also some favorites, begging to be re-read. (That practice was off-limits this year.) Stuck on my wall are dozens of post-its, also bearing recommendations. Thinking about books and lists is overwhelming, and as a writer by trade, incredibly humbling. Sheesh.
I’ve yet to decide what my goal for 2010 will be. Run a marathon? Read 52 more? Keep that damn closet organized?

One thing is clear: I’ve still got a lot more reading to do!**

Happy New Year!

*I came across my great-grandfather's memoirs while at home in Oregon in March and helping my grandma go through things. Since great-grandpa's tale was well over 100 pages, I decided to count it.
**Roommate comment on all this: "You're a supernerd." Sigh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why It's Hip to be a Square (Dancer)

As a kid growing up in Oregon, I, like many other school children, suffered through square dancing in PE class.

I returned to my homeland for today's A1 story about the current status of young square dancers of the Pacific Northwest. Turns out, the numbers are dwindling and there's a fight to keep the tradition alive. And it's not my grandma's (or gym teacher's) kind of square dance anymore.

I also got the chance to interview historians about the hidden history of square dancing. It involves French trends in the 18th century, slavery and Henry Ford.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out with this story!

(PS -- Reader writes in that there's a square dance group at MIT called the Tech Squares! Awesome!)

Monday, December 07, 2009

My 8-year-old nephew interprets my existence

Here's his sketch:

Note the iPhone, purse, book and boots detail. Gotta start stashing cash in his 529 for art school.

(Meanwhile, at the WSJ DON'T BUY GIFT CARDS THIS YEAR! Avoid skimming, consider credit-card board games and why it stinks to be a 2008 college graduate.)

Lots of other schtuff in the journalistic pipeline, but keeping mum for now!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Life in the Severance Economy

On A1 of today's paper, I take a look at the people of the severance economy. They're confronting a reality they never thought they would have to: long-term unemployment intersecting with savings on the brink.

I consider this an unofficial follow-up to my profile of a trader who now works at a steakhouse. See also: trader who now runs a Mister Softee truck, the slowdown on the NYSE floor and tracking down former Lehman employees.

While reporting this story, my brother was laid off. Several more pink slips flowed into the hands of friends out West and in New York, and points in between. There's been no shortage of layoffs in the journalism industry, either.

I guess sometimes personal finance reporting becomes, well, personal.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bookquest 2009: The Home Stretch

Drawing inspiration from former presidents, I'm trying to read 50 books by December 31, 2009. With roughly eight weeks left in the year, I've read 43 titles so far! Keep those recommendations coming! When the weather gets bad, my drive to be a hermit and stay indoors and be literary only increases!

Add to the list:
"American Pastoral" by Philip Roth
"Reservation Blues" by Sherman Alexie
"The Insanity Defense" by Woody Allen
"Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami
"Indignation" by Philip Roth
"Snap Judgement" by David Adler (author Q and A)
"Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie
"Monopolygate" by Ralph Anspach (for WSJ, too)
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larsson
"A Mercy" by Toni Morrison
"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates
"The Billionaire's Vinegar" by Benjamin Wallace
"The Night of the Gun" by David Carr

The Pilons I saw in Paris

My own origin story gets that much more confusing while strolling in Montmartre...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Little-Known History of Monopoly

My story about the hidden origins of Monopoly and Prof. Ralph Anspach's epic legal battle over his own Anti-Monopoly game is on page one of today's paper or online for free here.

I had a blast reporting this story. I've long been a fan of the game, having competed in several cutthroat tournaments with my family through the years. (We still bicker about the results...)


Oh, and here's a video of me talking about the game's origins.

Friday, September 18, 2009

From Stocks to Softee

The finance bubble deflated, leaving many people unemployed in its wake. Today, Lisa Bannon and I take a look at some of them.

I also had the chance to shoot video of Bill Sonner, a trader who now runs a Mister Softee truck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Behold! The Return of The Day Trader

Lauricella, Kim and I dive in on page one today about the return of day traders.

In some ways, this story felt like an accidental sequel to my story about those who ditched equities during the scary days of spring. I'll let y'all draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brazil, Rugelach and Disneyword: A Look At Lehman Brothers, One Year Later

Annelena Lobb and I profile several different Lehman employees in today's A section as part of the WSJ's year-since crisis coverage.

I find projects like these are extremely rewarding as a reporter and a great way to take a look at the anatomy of the collapse without the choke of deadline. Hope you enjoy reading as much as we did reporting.
Lehman's Legacy: Charles Ayres
Lehman's Legacy: Larry Bortstein
Lehman's Legacy: Sally Saltzbart Minier
Lehman's Legacy: Aline Almeida
Lehman's Legacy: Aubrie Fine
Lehman's Legacy: Jason Kilgariff
Lehman's Legacy: Five More Employees

Be sure to click through everyone's slideshow. Bryan Derballa did a great job with the photos.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shear Madness of Home Haircuts

Read all about it on A1 of today's WSJ or for free online here. Video, too!

For the record, I'm booking an appointment with a stylist.

Related: Gawk, Jezebel, Slate.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Credit Card Cancellations Without Notifications

We look into the rising trend of credit card companies cutting of consumers with no notice on D1 of today's paper. (There's a podcast interview with John Ulzheimer of also on that article page.)

Thanks to all those who took the time to weigh in!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Dan Waeger's Golf Tournament This October

In 2006, I profiled Dan Waeger for USA Today.

Dan was a twentysomething fighting Stage IV lung cancer. He started the National Collegiate Cancer Foundation to help people like him -- too old for the children's leukemia ward but too young for the elderly cancer wings -- cope with their diagnosis.

During our talks, he was incredibly candid, offering honest insight on dating, hair loss and juggling final exams with radiation treatments. Interviewing his friends, family members and coworkers, it became clear -- this guy was a powerhouse. (Not to mention a keeper of an uncanny sense of humor.)

After the story ran, I'd receive the occasional update from Dan via email or text message. We kept each other on career changes, people in our lives. He met Lance Armstrong, kept up his passion for golf, got engaged.

Dan passed away March of this year. He was 26 years old.

I'm pleased to report that his fiancee, Meghan, will be holding the 5th Annual Waeger Cup in Lebanon, Penn., on Sunday, Oct. 4th. She also continues posting to the blog the two started. You can find registration for the golf tournament, as well as information on how to donate to Dan's foundation, here.

Stories like Dan's hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. He made a serious dent on the world in his 26 years, but there's still much work to be done. The adage "gone, but not forgotten" couldn't feel more true.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Yo-Yos

On page one of Friday's paper, an exploration of the history and evolution of yo-yoing. Combines so many things I love: gadgetry, quirky athletics and bizarre medical stories.

And don't miss Matt Rivera's video. He did such a good job, the Today show ripped it off.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bookquest 2009: Midyear Update

Several people have asked if I'm still on track to read 50 books this year. The good news is that I am! The bad news is I've done a dismal job of chronicling my journey.

By my count, we're wrapping up week 27 of the year and I just finished my 30th title! Here's the complete list of what I've read so far:

"The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga
"Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson
"Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson
"The Wall Street Journal Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook" by David Crook
"Barrel Fever" is the first collection from Dave Sedaris
"A Bend in the River" by V.S. Naipaul
"Diary of a Bad Year" by J.M. Coetzee
"Levittown" by David Kushner
"Other Voices, Other Rooms" by Truman Capote
"Boyhood" by J.M. Coetzee
"The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" by John le Carre
"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
“Dorothy Parker: Complete Stories” by Dorothy Parker
“The Memoirs of John Likkel” by John Likkel*
“The Orchid Thief” by Susan Orlean
“Out of the Pits” by Caitlin Zaloom
“Between the Assassinations” by Aravind Adiga
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon
“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
“The Partly Cloudy Patriot” by Sarah Vowell
“Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy
“Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” by David Foster Wallace
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
“Smart Women Marry Money” by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake**
“Then We Came to the End” by Joshua Ferris
“Nobody Move” by Denis Johnson
“The Name of the World” by Denis Johnson
“Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: the Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category” ed. Dave Eggers, etc.
“The Stranger” by Albert Camus
“Angels” by Denis Johnson

I've got several more titles en queue but have been gratefully accepting other suggestions. (Send more!) If your recommendation isn't on there yet, don't feel slighted! My bookshelf is brimming! And it's only July!

*I came across my great-grandfather's memoirs while at home in Oregon in March and helping my grandma go through things. Since great-grandpa's tale was well over 100 pages, I decided to count it. More on what I found later.

**Don't worry, I read this one for work. (More.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Which I Get Spray Tanned For Journalistic Glory

D1 of today's WSJ:

Our 23-year-old tester was perhaps the bravest, baring her body in the name of tanning science to a stranger who airbrushed her with the “organic” tanning solution at Smooth Synergy in Manhattan. Owner Nicole Contos says the tanning solution, which uses DHA, contains no dyes or “chemical additives” to color the solution. The instant bronzers used to give the spray immediate color, she says, are “mineral salt bronzers.”

The tan solution smelled fine, and we didn’t feel stuffy inside the three-walled booth. However, the next morning we didn’t shower immediately because no one at the salon remembered to recommend doing so. As a result, when we went running in the rain, there was some serious tan meltage thanks to the instant bronzer.

Now we know how the Wicked Witch of the West must have felt.

Also, chainsaws and credit cards!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Downturn Dispatch

Apparently, my hair is worth D1 WSJ coverage, but if you read one thing I've written in the last few months, make it this profile of a man whose life has been completely transformed by the financial crisis.

I got completely sucked into the story of what happens to a family that goes from being supported by $200,000 a year to $25,000. Hope you do, too.

Free online or in today's A section of the WSJ.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fresh Reads in the WSJ

For those who aren't following the stream of links on Twitter, here's a roundup of what I've been up to lately at the WSJ.

Today, on C1, a look at investors who sold low and bought high, missing the rally we've had since March 9. Recently on page one, I profiled the "Big Bored" life of NYSE traders. Other highlights: learning to become rich when the economy stinks, rethinking creditworthiness, still no one is complying with the new credit card rules, shopping with Google, angst with gym memberships and the tough lesson that no one is above making financial boo-boos.

And I was on Fox Business this morning! And it's cool because I say "bust out a chart" and a chart is magically, uh, busted out. The marvels of technology!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Summary of Recent Consumption

Literary diet:
"Levittown" by David Kushner
"Other Voices, Other Rooms" by Truman Capote
"Boyhood" by J.M. Coetzee
"The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" by John le Carre
"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut

Film diet:
"Coraline" (in 3-D, of course)
"Mildred Pierce"
"Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired"
"Revolutionary Road"
"We Are Wizards"

Audio diet:
NPR's Planet Money
This American Life (archived episodes from the 90s, too)
An overwhelming backlog of Fresh Air interviews
David Bowie Live
Purchased concert tickets for Ratatat, X, Dead Milkmen, The Damned

Tummy diet:
Vanessa's Dumplings (NYC)
Burger Shoppe (NYC)
The Bean (NYC)
Epic brunch experiences, including Essex and Curly's (NYC) and Brail's (Ore.)
Wandering Goat Coffee (Ore.)
Steelhead Brewpub (Ore.)
The Vintage (Ore.)
Sweet Life (Ore.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bear Stears: One Year Later

We took a look at the people of Bear Stearns a year since the firm's sale to JPM. A video profile of one who is now devoted to shoes, too:

On Sunday, a recollection of the 1997 boom times. Since, you know, that's about where the Dow is these days.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Fun With Tax Software!

Tom Herman and I tested out tax software in today's WSJ. Tax software is the new World of Warcraft! Read here and video here.

And if you're not following @WSJWallet on Twitter yet, you should be.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Young Folk Smoking Pipes

Today is International Pipe-Smoking Day!

Read my story about it on page one of today's WSJ or online here.

I love this hedcut. And I love that it's labeled in the article, just in case you weren't clear what that was in the picture.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

First-time Homebuyers Snagging Good Deals

Read all about it on D1 of today's WSJ or click here.

And because I feel strongly compelled to share this with the world, please look at the letter that is going to save me and my roommates $3,600. The reader feedback I've received since this went live has brought many smiles to my face.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Latest in My Literary Diet

A quick update of the latest books I've inhaled during my quest to read 50 books in 2009:

"The Wall Street Journal Complete Real-Estate Investing Guidebook" by David Crook. David is the Sunday Journal editor and has put together a very readable (it opens with a Bob Dylan quote) primer on real estate investing. The basics hold up well even during today's loony housing market.

"Barrel Fever" is the first collection from Dave Sedaris. I've greatly enjoyed his non-fiction essays over the years, consistently taking comfort in knowing that someone else out there is reflecting on the inherent weirdness of all things human. "Barrel Fever" was a good read, but I didn't fancy it as much as his purely non-fiction compilations. Reinforces the notion that often, the most unbelievable stories are the real ones.

"A Bend in the River" by V.S. Naipaul has prose that reminded me of a beautiful woodcarving: careful, clean, ornate. Read this if you're looking for a crafted account of Africa, colonialism, politics, internal strife, relationships, oh, I could keep going. A juicy and satisfying read.

I read "Diary of a Bad Year" by J.M. Coetzee in one day. I adored this book. Structurally, it's a puzzle and is a crisp take on the oft-stale topic of relationships. Haven't read any other J.M. titles, but looking forward to the rest of Coetzee canon.

Currently, I'm experiencing the joys of Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma". (Shout out to Will for loaning me his copy!)

I can already tell I'll never look at corn the same way ever again.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Pink Gadgets: A Mini-Manifesto

My review of three different gadgets marketed for women just went live on There's a video, too. It's my first tech review for the Journal and was tons of fun. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Private Schools In Le Recession

As a product of public schools, I had to dive into some extra research for this WSJ story today about private schools.

I don't normally cover education, but found reporting this story fascinating. Parents and staff are understandably concerned and I'm grateful for all the input I received in the last few weeks on the topic and the thoughtful email that keeps hitting my inbox. Thanks to all!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Devils, Tigers and Cedar...Oh, my!

Thanks to all who gave suggestions for Bookquest 2009, a.k.a. my attempt to read 50 titles by Dec 31st.

Dearest Carey* suggested I create a profile on LibraryThing to keep track of my titles. I did, but am happy to hear tips on how to best utilize the thing.

This week I received a pleasant reminder from someone I've never met in person that to be on target with my goal, this week I should have wrapped up my third title. I have! (Food poisoning can be good for that.) Here's a quick look:

"Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson was killer. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) Larson, a former Journal scribe, tells the story of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. Love! Murder! Ambition! But the footnotes are the most amazing part of this book. As a journalist, I look at the amount of research Larson did to put together this true story and my head spins. It fits my long-held belief that the best stories are, as they say, stranger than fiction. Especially recommended for: Chicagoans, history buffs and fans of crime lit that isn't literary garbage.

"The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker this year and has crazy amounts of buzz about it. I read it in one sitting at a coffee shop on a rainy afternoon (is there a better way to read?) and found myself hating the narrator in the first 50 pages, then realizing that was exactly what makes Adiga a good storyteller. "White Tiger" is scathing commentary of the caste system in India and does for that world what Richard Wright's "Native Son" did for race relations in the U.S. in the 20th century. I actually crashed a book club discussion of this at McNally-Jackson Booksellers and was surprised by how different the interpretations of the narrator were. I won't give away any more! I know next to nothing about contemporary Indian literature and I'd offer up this title to others like me. But I think anyone who likes a good read would dig it.

"Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson has been sitting on my shelf for years and I have no memory of how it got there. At moments, this was a little sappy for my taste, but I did end up missing my train once because I got so sucked into it. "Snow" is a murder mystery/ love story that takes place on an island north of Puget Sound. But like "White Tiger" it ultimately turns out to be about race, specifically the discrimination that Japanese-Americans faced after World War II. Guterson, like Larson, did his homework, or at least I bought the historical context of it. Japanese internment is a topic that has long fascinated me, as I've grown up in the Northwest, where so much of it happened during my parents' lifetimes, yet I seldom heard much about what actually went on. I'd be interested to learn more about Guterson's personal connections to the subject matter and characters. Those love scenes are either the product of experience or one hell of a fiction writer. Or both!

*Carey's awesomeness doesn't end there. He's also the only person I've met who has managed to be resurrected from a layoff. Way to go, CGB!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Door-to-Door Brokers on Page one of Today's WSJ

My adventures in Missouri with quirky investment firm Edward Jones are on page one of today's (Saturday's) Wall Street Journal. Writing this story was nothing short of a blast. Going through final edits here at CES I wouldn't say was a blast, but I'm excited that the story ran nonetheless. (There's video, too.)

Today's my last day of reporting from CES. Over on the WSJ's Digits blog, I've been writing about dancing Obama iPod docks, wireless blenders, the resurrection of Sharper Image, flaming hard drives, robotic chess, Crocs for cell phones and an auto exec talking about talking cars.

I've been told that there's a snowstorm a'brewin in New York, so flying home tomorrow might be more hectic than I expect. But for today, back to the gadgets!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I'm Off to Vegas for News, Not Marriage

I'll be in Las Vegas today through Sunday, helping out with the Journal's coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show. For updates, check out the Digits blog and some financially-focused posts over at The Wallet.

And since everyone asks about their credit score all the time, here's a link to a story I wrote last week on that very topic.

Monday, January 05, 2009

2009: Literary Inspiration from Karl Rove and President Bush

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ~Chinese Proverb

No two persons ever read the same book. ~Edmund Wilson
I admit, I'm normally not a huge editorial page buff. But a friend emailed me this WSJ op-ed from Karl Rove the other day about a reading race between him and the president. In 2008, Rove read 64 volumes to President Bush's 40.

Leave politics out of it for a second. (That's tougher for some than others.) That's about a book a week. Damn.

So this year, I'll try and read 50 books. They can be fiction, non-fiction. Classic or contemporary. Short story collections are fair game and I haven't decided what the rule is for graphic novels or audio books.

I have no shortage of dusty volumes and "you gotta read this!" titles scrawled on Post-Its from friends. I'm grateful that a huge bulk of my day-to-day duties at work is reading, but I still think there's something to be said for a narrative arc over 100 pages. And there are finance-related books, not specifically tied to my day-to-day coverage that I've been meaning to get around to. Those can count toward the 50 total, too.

I'll try and post the titles I'm reading here, but don't expect lavish reviews or anything up to par with Art Garfunkel's pace. (Keep it up, Art!) But in the spirit of sharing, I'll be utilizing the local library and paperback swapping sites that I've reviewed in the past. If you've got books to recommend, let me know. Or hey, join in the nerdy fun!

Oh, and in 2009, I don't want to become a fatty or slave to debt. Just figured I should state that for the record.

(An aside: is anyone else glad that we'll never have another New Year's with those foul "00" glasses frames? Ha ha, to the revelers of New Year's 2100!)