What I’ve been reading

1. Margaret MacMillan, The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914.  Good even if you think, as I do, that you are sick of WWI books.

2. Hermione Lee, Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life.  This book made many UK “best of” lists.  It is subtle, like the author herself, and will prompt you to further reading or rereads, for instance I enjoyed The Gate of Angels right after this biography and soon will try Offshore.

3. Drew Daniel, 20 Jazz Funk Greats, in the 33 1/3 series.  On the Throbbing Gristle album of the same name, this superb book is one of the best and most instructive pieces of popular music criticism I have read, ever.  I recommend reading it while listening to the album, song by song.  Drew Daniel by the way is part of the group Matmos (interesting in their own right) and an English professor at Johns Hopkins.  He deserves something better than tenure.

4. Samuel Scheffler, Death & the Afterlife, with commentaries from other famous philosophers at the back.  The bottom line: through the careful use of thought experiments, we can infer that we care about the impersonal future more than we might think.  Scheffler is still getting better and deeper as a philosopher.  This Thomas Nagel review of the book is gated, but even the first few (ungated) paragraphs are worth reading.

5. Michael Avery and Danielle McLaughlin, The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back from Liberals.  Self-explanatory.


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