1. Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium, by Ronald Findlay and Kevin H. O’Rourke. A definitive economic history of many things, including globalization and trade. It is nicely balanced, though a bit boring to actually read.
2. The Sourcebook of Contemporary Architecture, by Alex Sanchez Vidiella. I loved this book, which is mostly photos. It is amazing how many first-rate buildings the world has put up since 2000. Can any other seven year period in world history compare? Japan is underrepresented in this volume, and they don’t even resort to Dubai. Spain and America take the lead.
3. Daniil Kharms, Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms. The best collection of the Russian absurdist, offered up in many short bits; recommended, he is an underread writer outside of Russia.
4. Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, by Donald Kraybill, Steven Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. How the Amish came to forgive the guy who shot ten of their children. A sleeper book, it has turned up on some of the odder "best of" lists for the year.
5. Vernon Smith, Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms. This is Vernon’s big picture book, covering Hayek, the extended liberal order, and how experimental economics makes it all fit together. A capstone to an amazing career, next will come his autobiography.