Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

19 Apr 2004, 19:18 p.m.

On The Night-Table

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2004 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

  1. Science Fiction/Fantasy: Le Guin's The Word For World Is Forest (heavy-handed and unappealing) and Birthday of the World And Other Stories (nonbad ratio of good to boring stories). Kress, Beaker's Dozen (fun!). Chiang, Story Of Your Life And Others (many good stories, although the recursion theme gets predictable). Currently reading The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. I like the pacing and characters; Whitehead slightly overdoes the elliptical, lyrical prose, but I don't especially mind.
  2. Tax History: Finished Taxes and People in Israel and am reading The Political Origins of the US Income Tax by Jerold L. Waltman. Did you know the Union imposed a temporary income tax during the Civil War? That's right, the idea didn't just suddenly appear during the Progressive movement.
  3. Children's Books: The sparkling and wonderful Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White - very much rewards rereading. Popcorn, a nice novel by Gary Provost and Gail Levine-Provost, chiefly memorable because I randomly picked it up when I was younger. The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill, the author of The Pushcart War. I'd already read and loved Millionaire and had zoned out during a fourth-grade reading circle of The Pushcart War, which I'll read soon. I wonder whether she wrote the most of all children's authors on business and capitalism.

I could try to combine these trends by reading a sci-fi children's book about taxes, but I don't much care to reread Anthem.