The DaVinci Code was the most overrated book since the Bible. I loved me some Slaugherhouse 5 back in high school, though.
I recently finished The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. Great book on the sixties and the birth of the drug movement, also a really good companion piece to Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels, since the worlds of the Merry Pranksters and the Angels intersected.
The book starts out with a bang, and is fantastically, trippily, slipp'rly written with words tumbling over one another and ideas flowing across the page as Wolfe works to translate the acid experience into literature. Unfortunately, the books, in parallel to Pranksters, dies out at the end. The Pranksters had a hell of a start, and it was them that helped set fire to 60's drug culture, but then it moved on without 'em, and by following the neanderthals, we get an unsatifying conclusion. But definately worth a read to get into the fantastical physchology of the era.
And now I've amassed a whole host of other books for summer reading:
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - apparently a great novel on life in Afghanistan over the past few decades
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - The last time I read the book, I got three or four hundred pages in before it was stolen (along with my backpack). I figure I'll have to read the whole thing to really have a fully-formed opinion on how much I hate Ayn Rand. Plus, though the politics can't be taken seriously by anyone with free will, you can't deny her storytelling ability
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash rocked my world
East of Eden - Steinbeck - Big and thick and classic
Tom Wolfe - Bonfire of the Vanities - I want to see Wolfe writing with his own voice
The Good Fight: Why Liberals - and Only Liberals - Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again - Peter Beinart - Granted, the title is a bit much, but I was entranced with the article "The Rehabilitaion of the Cold War Liberal" which Beinhart wrote about a month ago. As I've said before, since America became the world's sole superpower over a decade ago, we've been wrestling with what to do with our newfound power, and how to balance self-interest with America's since of duty to the rest of the world. So far, the only people witha convincing platform have been neoconservatives. Now, however, it looks like liberals might have an alternate framework for American Foreign Policy. I'm psyched
“It is a strange paradox that today’s central banks are generally staffed by economists, who by and large profess a belief in a theory which says that their jobs are, at the best, unnecessary, and more likely wealth-destroying. Needless to say, this is not a point widely discussed among respectable economists. Nevertheless, it is an issue worth pondering.”
George Cooper, The Origin of Economic Crises