What I’ve Been Reading

1. Stephen Schwartz, The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony.  Islamic theology is a reading interest of mine and I don’t mean the stuff that the terrorists promote.  This book is not a comprehensive introduction to Sufism but it is interesting throughout and most of all excellent on the sadly neglected topic of Albanian Bektashi theology

2. Alexander Dolgin, The Economics of Symbolic Exchange.  A long, sprawling, and often creative and interesting overview of cultural economics, especially as it relates to issues of symbolic goods.

3. Michael Bérubé, Life as We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child.  About the author’s Down syndrome child; this is a very good book and it is also conceptual, not your usual concrete-bound memoir.

4. Heraldo Muñoz, The Dictator’s Shadow: Life Under Augusto Pinochet.  This book fills in a lot of back detail about the Pinochet years.  It is not perfect, but it is far more objective and useful than I had been expecting, especially given that the author was persecuted by Pinochet.

5. Elena Ferrante, The Lost Daughter.  Translated from the Italian, this short novel is one of my favorite fictional works of the year; it is a favorite of Bookslut (and others) as well.

6. Speaking of Bookslut, Jessica Crispin’s favorite fiction book of the year was the Hungarian Metropole, by Ferenc Karinthy.  I read it some time ago and inexplicably forgot to mention it.  The feel is Kafkaesque and the premise is that a man wakes up in a world where suddenly he cannot understand any of the languages being spoken and has no way of communicating with anybody.


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