I’m feeling the need to read these days, but I don’t know what — and I’d appreciate your help.
It’s cold and bleak in Columbus, perfect weather to curl up with a book and give my eyeglasses a workout. I’ve finished, and enjoyed, every book in the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. Then I read the first of the Lucas Davenport series, Rules of Prey by John Sandford. It was okay, but I’m not sure I’m ready for another deep foray into crime fiction — especially of the serial killer variety. So, I tried to move farther into the action-adventure area, by reading David Baldacci’s The Innocent. It felt too pat for me, with its standard, breakneck pacing and improbabilities. And how many novels can be written about cold-blooded killers and attempted assassinations of major political figures? The Day of the Jackal plowed that ground very well, long ago.
So now I’m at sea. I enjoy fiction and science fiction and historical fiction, and I especially like history and biography. Two of my favorites in the latter category are The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe and A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, if that provides any guidance. I’d be happy to try just about just about anything.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Have you read anything recently that you would recommend?
It’s December 1. Normally that wouldn’t mean much, except for a turn of the calendar page. This year, however, it’s a bit different, because it’s been established as the date by which the healthcare.gov website is supposed to be operating at some reasonable level of functionality.
It’s not entirely clear what standard of performance will be the measuring stick; if you listen to different members of the Obama Administration, the goals seem to be a bit of a moving target. But back when the healthcare.gov website was a crashing, frozen embarrassment, the Administration set November 30 as the deadline. Now we can expect the website to be the most scrutinized, evaluated website in the history of computers. There will be a huge spike in usage today, caused in large part by hordes of journalists and bloggers and curious folks who just want to see what the fuss is all about. You have to wonder — how many of the people on the website are actually using it for its intended purpose of trying to shop for health insurance, rather than messing around trying to see what causes an error message?
We can expect lots of stories about the website over the next few days, from all points along the political spectrum. Progressives will rave about how much the website has improved, and conservatives will focus on its remaining failures. The website story will be treated like a horse race, with winners and losers. In the meantime, average Americans everywhere should be asking how this happened, and why we are spending so much money to fix a website that clearly shouldn’t have been so poorly designed at the outset. On that latter point, the New York Times has an interesting piece about how the failure happened and how the Obama Administration reacted. It’s not an attractive story.