What I’ve been reading

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.


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