What I’ve been reading

1. Age of the Infovore by Tyler Cowen, master of disparate knowledge, odd facts, and unexpected linkages. What do Buddhism, autism, Wikipedia, opera, marriage, Dante, iPods, Sherlock Holmes, and capitalism have in common? Tyler wields a sensible answer. You won’t look at the world or the information economy the same again. It was an unusually fast and enjoyable read — I tore through the Kindle version in one transatlantic flight. Buy it.

2. Handbook for Academic Authors by Beth Luey. I have no immediate plans for a scholarly monograph but it wouldn’t hurt me to prepare. Plus there are excellent chapters on writing a trade paperback, and so I can indulge my fantasy of writing a meditation on how and why to work in development. After tenure (sigh).

3. The Trouble with the Congo by Séverine Autesserre, a friend and colleague. I’m only a chapter in (expect a fuller review in future) but she gives a lucid and sometimes personal perspective on wars and violence in the Congo. Why, she asks, are outsiders so good at stopping the international conflict but ineffective with the local violence?

4. The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. Yawn. I picked it up belatedly and dropped it quickly. Funny, I usually like his New Yorker pieces. Perhaps a tale of four American intellectuals was too esoteric for a Canadian who dwells on Africa?

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