Chris Blattman

What I’ve been reading

  1. Factory girls, by Leslie Chang. A WSJ journalist writes about factory girls she met in China. It is not what you might expect. This is possibly one of the best long form journalism books I’ve read in a year or two.
  2. Augustus, by John Williams. A life of Caesar Augustus, through fictional letters written by his contemporaries. A classic re-released. This is the NYRB review that made me buy it. Perfect if you have an appetite for history but you prefer a compelling narrative over true facts.
  3. Ides of March, by Thornton Wilder. The life of Julius Caesar, told through letters by contemporaries. Read before Augustus, which I recommend.
  4. What’s up with Catalonia?, by various authors. A set of pro-Independence essays that border on propaganda, but are useful for understanding the independence movement.
  5. All our Names, by Dinaw Mengistu. His third novel, which is very good. I liked it as much as his first. The story of two friends living through tumultuous times in Uganda, intermingled with the story of one of the friends, now resettled in Missouri, and his relationship with a white woman in the 1970s.

6 Responses

  1. Reading ‘What’s up with Catalonia?’ to understand the situation in Catalonia is like reading a book by leading figures of the Partit parti quebecois to understand the Quebecois question. I guess it is always good to know the views of both sides in this type of situations, so ‘What’s up with Catalonia?’ is probably still a useful read. However, the Pro-independence views are already well known and understood and do not differ much from those of similar movements elsewhere in Europe. The challenge is understanding the remaining 50-60% of Catalans who don’t support independence, who make for a very interesting mix. A minority of these might be Spanish nationalists (both left and right wing) but many have mixed feeling about the whole issue: they don’t like the centralizing tendencies of Spanish nationalists and might like greater devolution, but for a variety of reasons (sentimental, origins, pragmatism, or simply because they are not nationalist) they don’t support independent… anyway, just some thoughts. Alex Warren-Rodriguez, Barcelona.

Why We Fight - Book Cover
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