2017 Book List
Year-end always brings lists; lists of movies, top news stories of the year, or major weather events. I think most of us likely have our own individual lists, too – cities we have visited, memorable meals, or even more sobering things like funerals we attended. The list I offer here recounts the books I read this year. It was a pretty good year for me after what seems like a couple of decades of not so much success.
Growing up I read a lot, and I had Dad to thank for that. He read a great deal, and I found he had a good eye for books. College meant less reading time for me, and work, grad school and then kids meant even less. But as an adult I figured I should pick my own books and found that this was hard and more than a bit of hit-and- miss. Fortunately, I had some help this year with book suggestions and they were great.
First off, friends and family nailed it. “The Wright Brothers,” by David McCullough was tremendous, although his writing style is a bit dry and best for grown-ups – kind of like a good Cabernet. My sister gave me Bill Bryson’s book “One Summer: America, 1927.” I did not know 1927 was a year I should care about, but it blended Babe Ruth chasing the 60 home run mark with Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic into a thoroughly enjoyable, can’t-put-it-down narrative.
I have been reading the books my kids are assigned at school for a number of years, and this is an underrated way to find good reads. Even some classics I didn’t particularly enjoy as a kid are sure fun as an adult. I just finished rereading Orwell’s “1984.” I dare anyone to read that today and not come away thinking one thing: North Korea. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho was published in 1988 and was never on my radar, but it was a summer book for my son and provided both an enjoyable read and some grown up conversation with a certain sophomore. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr is historical fiction from WWII Europe and won a Pulitzer in 2015. I don’t think a book can win this award twice, but if that can happen, I’d vote for this one.
As for picking books on my own, it appears the results are still mixed. I stumbled upon Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and found this lighthearted read to be quirky enough to really enjoy. And for those that think books should help answer life’s biggest questions, this one certainly accomplishes just that. “Washington’s Farewell”, by John Avlon, is a non-fiction read recounting the farewell address George Washington wrote announcing he would not run for a third term. It was a humbling read in a host of ways, but is a story we should all know.
At this point I liked what I found on my own to read, and apparently got overconfident. I was perusing the tables at an airport bookstore and found the new Neil deGrasse Tyson book, “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry,” and bit on the fact it is a NY Times bestseller. With that in hand, I then went for a second book. Something called “The 37th Parallel” by Ben Mezrich. It was supposed to be a Fox Mulder, UFO hunter, conspiracy theory type tale. Unfortunately it seemed mostly about dead ranch animals. I haven’t gotten to the Tyson book yet, so that will likely make my 2018 list.
In the meantime, I will trust others to steer me on my literary journey. And if you find yourself asking me for book recommendations, remember to follow that up with a question about how I found the book. It will turn out better that way. Happy New Year!
Term of the Month
By Ny Lee
Section 199 Deduction
Section 199 Deduction refers to that particular section in the Internal Revenue Code that details the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (“DPAD”), which was created as part of the “American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.” The provision was created to encourage domestic manufacturing by providing a tax deduction on income derived from qualifying domestic production activities that relates to the following:
• The manufacture, production, growth, or extraction of any tangible personal property, including computer software and sound recordings. Exclusions include land and buildings.
• The production of qualified film.
• The production (not transmission) of electricity, natural gas, or water.
• Construction of real property.
• Architecture and engineering services.
The deduction is calculated as follows:
DPGR (Domestic Production Gross Receipts)
(-) COGS and other expenses directly allocable to the production of DPGR
(=) QPAI (Qualifying Production Activities Income)
(=) DPAD (Domestic Production Activities Deduction)
The deduction (DPAD) is equal to 9% of the lesser of i) the qualifying income (QPAI) or ii) taxable income. The deduction is further limited to 50% of the manufacturer’s domestic production W-2 wages. Moreover, the deduction provision does not allow for the creation or increase of any net operating losses (NOL).
Aside from the above general qualifications and limitations, the provision also has special rules for the agriculture industry as it relates specifically to cooperatives. Under the provision, cooperatives are treated as having manufactured, produced, grown, or extracted any agricultural or horticultural products as its members. As such, cooperatives are allowed to pass through all or part of their deduction (DPAD) to their members. Members may then take the deduction without regard to the taxable income limitation; the 50% W-2 wage limitation, however, still applies and is typically the lowest for cooperative members.
Sources: KPMG, BakerTilly, Greenwaltcpas
Bits & Pieces
By Jeff Torrison
- December is the top month for conception in the US while August is the lowest.
- Global tea consumption totaled 1.7 trillion cups in 2016 compared to 984 billion cups of coffee according to Euromonitor. China, India, and Great Britain are among the countries with significant tea consumption.
- There were approximately 24,000 troops killed or wounded during the two-day Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee in 1862 during the US Civil War. That was more than the total American casualties in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Mexican War combined.
- Singer Otis Redding died in a plane crash in Wisconsin in December of 1967 at the age of 26. Four months later his recording of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” reached the #1 spot on the pop charts.
- The Hallmark Channel is airing 21 new, original Christmas movies in 2017.
- Prohibition ended in December of 1933 following Utah’s ratification of the 21st amendment (just in time for New Year’s Eve).