Review: Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse

By Jamie Alan Belanger on April 3, 2013 8:06 am · 0 Comments

Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things WorseMeltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and the Government Bailout Will Make Things Worse by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very interesting analysis of where we are today and why. The author draws some fascinating comparisons between our current economy and the Great Depression, and offers insight into what really caused the Great Depression and what made it last so long (hint: we’re doing the same thing now). That history lesson alone makes this book worth reading.

Sometimes the economic analyses can get a little dry, but I got the feeling that the author knew when that was happening and tried to get through it as quickly as possible. Overall, the book offers good explanations of why we are in the situation we are in now, why bailouts will make things worse, and a lot of historical information about recessions and depressions.

Review: Tales of Terror

By Jamie Alan Belanger on March 18, 2013 10:54 am · 0 Comments

Tales of TerrorTales of Terror by Time-Life Books

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terror? There wasn’t anything in here that I would call terrifying. I read these stories right before going to bed, sometimes reading two or three in a sitting. I didn’t get a single nightmare, and I was hoping for some since they tend to give me good story ideas I can use later. But this book did have a lot of good stories, and I was happy to see the editor put each story in its own chapter, as opposed to the other volumes in the series where the stories often run together in a big confusing mess. The artwork was just as good as other volumes. Overall, it’s hard to pick a favorite with this series, but this volume would certainly make my top three.

Review: The Silver Chair: The Chronicles of Narnia

By Jamie Alan Belanger on March 14, 2013 9:44 am · 0 Comments

The Silver Chair: The Chronicles of NarniaThe Silver Chair: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Silver Chair wasn’t a terrible book, not by any means. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first two books in Narnia. Maybe I just got attached to the Pevensie kids and wanted to see more of their adventures. Maybe I’m still annoyed by Eustace (I call him “Useless”) from the third movie. I found that The Silver Chair resembled The Dawn Treader in that a lot of the adventure felt like a series of disjointed scenes — it never really coalesced into an epic journey. The kids went here. They went there. They meet giants. They run away. They somehow manage to stumble on the Prince so they can finish the adventure. The few plot twists that were present were very short-lived and predictable. The final confrontation to free the Prince lasted all of half a page. And then the final “battle” when the kids return to our world was pretty dumb.

I’ve been seeing these books as stories about kids from our world traveling to Narnia to learn valuable life lessons. What was the lesson in this book? You can run away from anything, forget everything you have to do, and you’ll still win in the end just by sheer luck and coincidence? If this book is the bridge to the final three, I really wonder if I’m going to like those at all.

Review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

By Jamie Alan Belanger on January 20, 2013 9:29 pm · 0 Comments

The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got into the mood to read this series after watching the movies (the recent ones) for about my third time. Since I hadn’t read these books before, I decided to read them in the original order, not the chronological order that the publisher has been pushing in recent years. I had always intended to read them when I was younger, but, well, you know how that goes…

So far, I’ve enjoyed the movies more than the books. That may be because I saw them first. I find the books to be good stories, but there are many aspects of the movies that are done better. This book provides a perfect example. The book feels more like a collection of short stories than a grand quest. They visit an island. They visit another. There’s no real unifying thread apart from “get to Aslan’s Country at The End Of The World.” And then, after all that travelling, they finally get to the border of Aslan’s Country and the book ends within a few sentences… it’s sort of a let down. The movie, however, created a grand unifying quest that justified a lot of the little islands that the characters visit, and managed to take all the threads of the adventure and weave them into a story that had a purpose. It felt more epic, more coherent, and more like an adventure than the book. I’m not saying the books are bad — far from it — they just don’t feel as polished story-wise as the movies. I’m interested to read the other books in the Narnia series; but, honestly, I’m more interested in seeing the movies (if they ever make them).

Review: The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS

By Jamie Alan Belanger on November 25, 2012 7:05 am · 0 Comments

The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS by Neal Boortz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The FairTax Book is a quick read — I read the whole thing in a single day, most of it in one sitting. But there is a lot of information crammed in there. I first heard about the FairTax several years ago, and every so often I spend some time perusing their website for information. So I went into this book already knowing a good amount. There were a few aspects of the plan that I did not know.

Every American should read this book, or at least read the FairTax website. We didn’t always live under the oppressive umbrella of income taxes and the IRS. There is a better way.

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