Bringing Down The House – by Ben Mezrich


Bringing Down the House:
The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Perhaps the most readable book on blackjack that a non-blackjack player could ever find. Mezrich struck gold when he ran across a former member of an M.I.T. blackjack team who snowed casinos for more years than you think possible.

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Bestest 2002 – Lit

1) Carter Beats The Devil – Glen David Gold
The epic saga of a magician honing his craft in pre-depression era San Francisco.

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2) Dream Brother: the Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley – David Browne
The tale of two of the most tragically parallel lives in the history of modern music, starting in the suburbs of Southern California and ending in the muddy Mississippi river.

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3) Poker Nation – Andy Bellin
A light-hearted, report on the subculture of high stakes tournament poker.

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4) Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser
The addictively muckracking saga of the rise and demise of the fast food business.

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5) Almost: A Novel – Elizabeth Benedict
A recently separated women, now living in NYC, returns to the anonymous east coast island to attend the funeral of her ex-husband where her whole seems to converge upon her.

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6) How To Be Good – Nick Hornby
Hornby’s take on the psyche of a modern woman dealing with the banality & lethargy of mid-life.

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7) Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
The cleverly overachieving novel written by a 24 year-old genius about his fictional Eastern European ancestors.

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8) John Henry Days – Colson Whitehead
The story of a reporter on a record breaking PR junket that ends with a weekend covering the celebration of the life and times of the mythic John Henry.

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Bestest 2001 – Lit

I am not a book expert by any stretch of the imagination but I read a few
epic novels this year. I recommend them all to avid readers:

1) The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles – Haruki Murakami
2) The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Salman Rushdie
3) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon
4) The Sleep Over Artist – Patrick Beller
5) Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
6) Cruddy – Lynda Barry

Nick Drake – A Biography by Patrick Humphries

Nick Drake - A Biography by Patrick Humphries

It’s hard to say whether or not this biography would have been so enjoyable had I not been such a complete and total Nick Drake disciple. Less of a tabloid recounting than most rock bios, this is the story of an artist whose happy life suddenly turned very dark at the moment when his prospects, as a musician, became the brightest. Preoccupied at first with describing the physical places and social environments where Nick had lived, Patrick Humphries has written a story that seems to intentionally mirror the darkness and fragility of the music.

As a child we learn that Nick Drake was happy and popular, having attended one of the more prestigious prep schools in Britain and excelling at almost everything that he attempted. He was a star athlete, a good student, and a regular cigarette-sneaking teenager. He led a band in high school, had a good relationship with his parents and generally appeared to be upbeat and excited about every new day.

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About A Boy by Nick Hornby

About A Boy by Nick Hornby

“About A Boy,” the follow-up to Nick Hornby’s debut pop culture romp “High Fidelity,” is a surprisingly more entertaining and engaging tale than his first. Nothing much has changed in terms of tone and character except that we reenter the world of British slackers from a slightly different angle. In fact the seed idea for the protagonist in “About A Boy” was subtly explored in “High Fidelity.”

The book tells the story of Will Freeman, a slacker with a trust fund just large enough to allow him to get by without working. He lives, quite literally, off of the royalties of a cheesy Santa Xmas song, which ironically and invariably makes his life miserable around the holidays. Although he is articulate and well mannered, what Will does best is hang out, stay in touch with what’s cool, and remain as comfortably distanced from depression and responsibility as possible.
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