The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (2006)

An excellent collection of short stories on magic, many are spin-offs on Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, all just ever slightly bordering reality as set in the 19th century English countryside. Recommended.

Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads: Coping with the Parents, Teachers, Coaches, and Counselors Who Can Rule--or Ruin --Your Child's Life by Elizabeth Rapoport (2006)

Want to be transported back to your high school (or maybe middle school) days, of cool kids, sidekicks, outcasts, outsiders, the strongly kept social hierarchy of every "respectable" educational institution? Counselor Rapoport notes, that parents helping their offsprings are also creating similar social cliques themselves, and the existence of those cliques might have a strong (and usually negative) effect on the education of your child. Starting from this description, the author offers simplistic, one shoe fits all approaches to many problems facing children and adolescents (and their parents). The simple mindedness of approaches taken/offered might reflect the skill levels and approaches of many school counselor.


The Secrets of Economic Indicators: Hidden Clues to Future Economic Trends and Investment Opportunities by Bernard Baumohl (2007)

This book offers all and more you ever wanted to learn about the various economic indicators for both US and other countries (unless you are somebody doing analyzing them for a living), including the description of the secretive release processes to ensure that data is not leaked early. The data collector (the government in many cases, but sometimes private organizations), data collection methodology, release schedule, internet location of current and historic data, analysis dicussion, market impact and more are discussed for each of these indicators, although there is no table listing them all in order of perceived importance (and/or market impact). Learning and following these (delayed) data release might help you to gage the health of the economy (here you are competing with significant brainpower hired by the Fed, and any number of organizations tried to make money in the markets), and indeed only knowing the expectations of expectations (and so on :) would be helpful to apply this knowledge to the state of the markets. The few pages discussing the indicators influencing the stock, bond and FX markets are probably the most interesting part of this book. The order of influences are different for all three markets. The main influencer seems to be the Employment Situation for all three. Other important indicators for the stock and bond markets are ISM Manufacturing Reports, weekly unemployment claims, consumer prices and producer prices. The FX market (in particular the US Dollar exchange rate) is influenced by international trade, GDP and the like, although one could argue that whatever has an effect on one market should effect other markets. There is also a listing of market leading indicators, yield curve, and orders for durable goods (M3), producer prices and personal income and spending being the most important, and indeed one would look for multiple indicators reinforcing each other confirming findings.