I teach political economy and statistics at a large public university in the US. You can find my academic website here.

The Waste Book very occasionally collects my passing thoughts on politics, economics, statistics, data visualization, life, culture, and everything.

We aim for funny, will settle for intriguing, and, the times and the Internet being what they are, resign ourselves to a certain amount of bemoaning.



entries by category






entries by tag









entries by year










naked promotion

literature · November 22, 2011 · comments

Book recommendations: Recent finds, 2011 edition

by Chris Adolph


The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox by Barry Hughart (Subterranean Press, 2nd edition, 2011) · Fantasy · Subterranean prints gorgeous editions that tend to sell out on publication, so get this omnibus while you can. Fast-paced, hilarious, tender, and ribald. The Princess Bride for adults? Almost.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Faber & Faber, 2010) · Fiction · An authentic, funny, sympathetic view on growing up today, and the only Bildungsroman I’ve read that feels like it could be about the sort of childhood I had. Long-listed for the Booker last year; I still say it should have won.

Quarantine in the Grand Hotel by Jenő ejtő (Corvina, 2009) · Light Fiction · A happy find in Budapest, city of beautiful bookstores. If you’re lucky enough to run across it, get the 2009 edition from Corvina; the older translation lacks ejtő's Wodehousian rythmn.

The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz (Dalkey Archive, 2010) · Surreal Travel · Borges comparisons are ubiquitous and thus meaningless, yet this is the only novel I can imagine Borges actually writing.

Professor Moriarty: Hound of the D’urbervilles by Kim Newman (Titan Books, 2011) · Parody · Evil shouldn’t be this much fun. If you like Sherlock but think Conan Doyle should have relaxed a bit, give this inverted-perspective anthology a try.

I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press, 2011) · Mystery · The best Flavia de Luce mystery to date. If you haven’t discovered Flavia de Luce yet, what are you doing reading the Waste Book? Get moving!

The Last Book by Zoran Zivkovic (PS Publishing, 2008) · I’m Not Telling · Like Ajvaz, critics often compare Zivkovic to Borges, but he’s channeling an older Spanish-language author here. The Last Book is only the second novel ever written in the world’s tiniest genre – and revealing it would ruin all the fun. Out of print, but available as an ebook.



The Art of R Programming by Norman S. Matloff (No Starch Press, 2011) · Statistical Computing · Finally, a reference on the R language that’s well-written and goes beyond the basics. (Ever wondered how to speed up programs by effective use of apply() and its relatives? Whether you need to learn about S4 classes? How to use R to call C++? Or how to make your R program run on multiple cores?) Like reading an O’eilly text on one of the more established languages.

Just My Type by Simon Garfield (Gotham, 2011) · Typography · If you only read one book on typography this year – But really, who can read just one?

tags: books

Comment on Recent Books, 2011.

This page is privately hosted. Its content reflects my views and the views of persons quoted or commenting, and not those of any other individuals or groups. I reserve the right to identify and delete obscene, bigoted, disruptive, threatening, or uninteresting comments.

Content © 2011–4
Chris Adolph

Artwork © 2011–4
Erika Steiskal

Jefferson (2007-2011)