What I’ve been reading

  1. Euphoria, by Lily King. Pioneering anthropologists in the field, making it up as they go along: The novel. Inspired by Margaret Mead. Probably the best book I’ve read this year. I find it impossible to imagine the equivalent book on economists or political scientists. 
  2. The Whites, by Richard Price. Lush Life is one of my favorite crime novels, and this new book doesn’t disappoint. He’s famous for his portrayal of cops. Extra alluring if you live in New York City.
  3. My Struggle, Book One, by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I stand by my claim that Book 2 is the best book I read last year. A memoir of a selfish writer. It stands alone. Book One is good but less insightful, less philosophical, less startling, less compelling.
  4. Get in Trouble, by Kelly Link. A collection of short stories that are an unorthodox blend of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by arguably one of the best writers of the craft.
  5. The Girl With All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey. Easily the most interesting and unconventional zombie book you will read. In my case, the only zombie book I ever have or probably will read. Nonetheless, a very good novel.
  6. Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman. Possibly the only top physicist who also has a literature appointment (at MIT in this case). The novel explores the nature of time through Einstein’s dreams. I like his non-fiction work much better, such as this book I mentioned earlier this week.
  7. Redployment, by Phil Klay. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan told through the eyes of various military grunts. It’s been celebrated for its insights on the military experience. I can believe it. But the one chapter on the aid bureaucrat seemed over the top in its satire, so I worry that the military stuff is too. Still, a very enjoyable book.
  8. The New York Nobody Knows, by William Helmreich. An NYC professor walks every street in New York and writes about it. I had trouble getting into this book but love the idea. Maybe if I stuck with it I would have been rewarded.