I’m building my list. I’m curious what you’re reading or read and loved.
I have a few below, some obvious (in that a couple are trendy bestsellers) but I welcome suggestions. We will be in Spain (specifically, the Pyrenees) for three weeks in August, after swapping houses with a professor there. So Spain-related history or really anything is welcome. (Keeping in mind that they’d need to be in English, since my Spanish can only barely get me through a newspaper.)
- All Our Names, by Dinaw Mengestu. I loved his first novel, was lukewarm on the second, have enjoyed his short fiction in The New Yorker a lot. All in all I think he’s one of the freshest current fiction writers.
- The Discovery of France, by Graham Robb. France was mostly uncharted, disunited, and decided not “French” until the early 20th century. This is a history of the discovery and conquering of France. I would enjoy analogous books about Spain. This one is (so far) refreshingly well written and short, as history goes. Too many brilliant books are longwinded.
- Silkworm, by “Robert Galbraith”. Crime fiction by J.K. Rowling, reputed to be quite good. I enjoyed reading The Cuckoo’s Calling.
- Africa Must Be Modern, by Olúfémi Táíwò. A Nigerian philospher calls for a culture shift in Africa. I bought it after reading Gregg Zachary’s review.
- Peaceland, by Severine Autesserre. An ethnography of the humanitarian crisis/peacekeeping/conflict expat crowd by my favorite Congo expert. I am partway through and will try to find time to blog about it soon.
- The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. I know nothing about this book other than a lot of people talk about it and it won the Pulitzer. That is not usually enough to get me to buy a book but it’s so easy to hit that little “send to Kindle” button.
- So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fantasy, by various authors. A collection of science fiction short stories by minority and formerly colonized writers.
- The Golden Hour, by Todd Moss. A development scholar and former State Dept official (who is also my friend) has written a thriller about an academic who gets appointed to the State Dept to use his conflict scholarship to save the world and get the girl. I mean how can I not read this?