What I’ve been reading

by on June 15, 2014 at 7:01 am in Books | Permalink

1. Alan Macfarlane, Thomas Malthus and the Making of the Modern World, Kindle edition.  It starts off slow, but overall an excellent short look at Malthus as an underrated thinker and a theorist of the cultural and demographic preconditions of capitalism.

2. Louise Lawrence, Children of the Dust, excellent, short and highly readable post-apocalyptic story, think of it as a precursor (1985) of some of today’s YA popular fiction, it should be turned into a movie.  I’ve ordered two more of hers.

3. Sudhir Vadaketh, Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore.  A Singaporean travels through Malaysia to discover what divides their two countries and what ultimately unites them too.  I read this one straight through.  File under “great books you’ve never heard about.”  Honest and frank throughout.

4. Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of World Order, 1916-1931.  This one also starts slow but after about 13% becomes fascinating, especially about the internal politics in Germany and Russia, circa 1917-1918.  I’m not quite halfway through but finishing is a sure thing.  He has yet to cover monetary policy, however.

5. David Bromwich, The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke.  Clear, thorough, and to the point on its stated topic.

6. Jenny Davidson, Reading Style: A Life in Sentences.  Why do we fall in love with some sentences rather than others?  This book is consistently insightful into classic (and sometimes not so classic) fiction.  For whatever reason, I agree with her about various novels to a remarkable degree.  Here is Jenny’s daily read.  Here is her blog.  This book induced me to order Stephen King’s Needful Things, which I have never read.

1 freethinker June 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

6) “Why do we fall in love with some sentences rather than others? ” I guess from your post that this is with reference to classic and “not-so-classic” fiction. But do you think the same methodology used by literary scholars like Davidson can be used to understand why economists find some ideas more appealing ?

2 ummm June 15, 2014 at 8:26 am

It would seem that Malthus is overrated, especially overuse of the phrase ‘Malthus catastrophe’ online .

3 Yancey Ward June 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

I definitely recommend Children of the Dust to anyone. Even though it has been at least 25 years since I read it, I remember it well.

4 JWatts June 16, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Not a YA title, but in a similar vein I’d recommend Hugh Howey’s Silo series (All three amount to one book and are priced accordingly).


5 Wolf June 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Singapore is lucky that it is seperated from malaysia.

6 Wolf June 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Malays perform much worse than chinese.Infact they cannot even compete with the mediocre indians.

7 Peter M June 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Compare what Tyler is reading now to what Hillary Clinton is reading now, and what her favorite books are. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/books/review/hillary-rodham-clinton-by-the-book.html

8 Ted Craig June 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I don’t see this as a problem. She clearly reads for recreation. There’s good reason to believe the current president reads nothing. The guy before him read a lot and it didn’t seem to help him in his job all that much.

9 He June 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I predict Tyler will abandon needful things at some bus stop, not even an airport. Truly a lesser one of kings works.

10 Donald Pretari June 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

#5…I’m very much looking forward to reading the Bromwich, since he says that he makes much use of Burke’s private correspondence. My disagreement with many Burke interpreters seems to come from their either not using the private correspondence much or disagreeing with my reading of it or deeming it of lesser importance. One of the best book purchases I’ve made was to buy the ten volume “Correspondence of Edmund Burke”, done by the University of Chicago Press, in the early 1980s, the benefit of working in a bookstore that got a set in at that time. Now, I’ll begin reading through another time.

11 Dave Tufte June 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm

I love the tipoff that you’re reading Tooze on your Kindle:

“This one also starts slow but after about 13% becomes fascinating …”

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