Paperback Originals

Nikolski, Nicolas Dickner

Nikolski is a family saga with a surprising twist, following the scattered children of nomad Jonas Doucet as they unwittingly weave in and out of each other’s lives. It brings to mind Tom Robbin’s Skinny Legs and All, as a few small objects become the pivot point for a captivating first novel. Dickner’s landscapes become characters in their own right, from a beautifully evoked rain-soaked Montreal to the paradisiacal Margarita Island. Lederhendler’s translation is superb, leaving one wondering what reading the French original must be like. A quiet book that nevertheless leaves a big footprint, perfect for those with the travel bug, a roaming sense of adventure, or just a hankering for a good read. – Jenn Northington, Trumpeter, $14.95

Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, David C. Korten

The forces that brought us to our present catastrophe are clearly laid out in David Korten’s latest book. He points out that Wall Street, as it works today, is a totally unregulated world where so-called “wealth” is so disassociated from products and services that often there’s not even a possibility of connecting debts and investments to reality. Far from the economic vision laid out by Adam Smith–or by Thomas Jefferson–ours is currently a system that puts money into a few hands at the cost of many. And our system is broken. Korten is full of ideas for returning us to a world in which money is related to goods and services rather than to unbridled speculation. We’ve been browbeaten, he asserts, into believing that there are only two choices in economic theory: Capitalism and Communism. Wrong, he says. A Main Street Market Economy, one that is tied to real goods and services, is far superior to either. If you’re interested in how we came to the current crisis in which we find ourselves, and how we might recover from its consequences, read Agenda for a New Economy. You may not agree with everything Korten says; I don’t. But I guarantee you’ll find it interesting. – Betsy Burton, Barrett-Koehler Publishers, $14.95

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