High finance at the Truckee Library | SierraSun.com

High finance at the Truckee Library

Teri Andrews Rinne
Truckee Childrenand#8217;s Services Librarian

As the Great Recession wears on or winds down, depending on your perspective or which news story you just finished reading or watching, there are a great many books on the shelves of the Truckee Library that address both the root causes of the financial meltdown and well as how to best deal with its aftermath. This week I look at the macro picture, featuring books that examine the background of the global economic meltdown.

Having just returned from a spring break trip to London, I can assure you of the global nature of this financial mess. I was amazed by the similarity in the headlines and news stories: high unemployment, plunging home values, the debate between government-sponsored economic stimulus packages v. tax cuts, and the election cycle blame game. (One major difference is the UK election cycle is a blessedly short six weeks of madness.) The news may have been delivered in British accent, but the stories on the economy were all shockingly similar. If I thought for a moment we would be escaping our problems stateside by going abroad, I was greatly mistaken. We are all in this mess together. Global village, indeed.

For those of you who value background and have a strong stomach, there are excellent books about how the great financial meltdown of 2008 came to pass. Andrew Ross Sorkin presents the definitive moment-by-moment account of the recent financial collapse in his bestseller and#8220;Too Big to Fail: the Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System From Crisis and#8212; and Themselves.and#8221; Newsweek journalist Daniel Gross does the same thing in a more concise manner in and#8220;Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation.and#8221;-

Since then, weand#8217;ve all been feeling squeezed financially, be it downsized or disappearing jobs, shrinking net worth, tight credit, or underwater mortgages. Itand#8217;s interesting to note that even before the events of the fall of 2008, there were many books published pointing to the fragility of our boom/bust/bubble economy and eminent financial collapse.

For recent historical context, and#8220;Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insecurity,and#8221; edited by Michael Lewis, tells the story of the financial meltdowns leading up to our most recent: the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash, the dot.com boom and bust, the Asian currency crisis, the Russian bond default and the beginnings of the sub-prime loan debacle.-

Perhaps most prophetic of all is Paul Krugmanand#8217;s and#8220;The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century,and#8221; published way back in 2004. The book is a collection of the Nobel Prize-winning economistand#8217;s New York Times op-ed columns published between 2000 and 2003. Krugman admits in the introduction that and#8220;This is not, Iand#8217;m sorry to say, a happy book.and#8221; And in retrospect, we can lament his predictions were not just doom and gloom.

For a sweeping financial history of the world, check out the four-hour long DVD and#8220;The Ascent of Money.and#8221; Historian and author Niall Ferguson explains how our complex system of global finance evolved over the centuries, how money has shaped the course of human affairs, and how the mechanics of this economic system work to create seemingly unlimited wealth or catastrophic loss.

Next week I will go micro, showcasing books about your specific financial concerns, be it debt reduction, budgeting, mortgages, refinancing, retirement planning, or even foreclosures or bankruptcy.

Library hours

Monday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Storytimes

Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (2 to 3 year olds)

Babes in Bookland Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (6 months to 2 years)

Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (3 years and up)

Pajama Time, First Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. (all ages)

Bookshelfand#8217;s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library

Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.–

Now on display at the library

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda Dand#8217;Toole