1. Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. How quantum effects can matter for biological phenomena. No, it doesn’t mean Roger Penrose was right (and this book usefully tells you why not), but still this is a stimulating book for tying together two apparently disparate areas of inquiry and two apparently disparate areas for popular science books.
2. Michael Oakeshott, Notebooks, 1922-86. Lots about Aristotle, lots about love, good for browsing. He wrote “‘The cowboy costume remains mysteriously sexy’. Yes, but how much better it was when it was felt but not recognized to be so.” That was from 1964.
3. James Hamilton, A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Another era — this time Turner and his contemporaries — falls under the commerce and culture treatment. A nice background to the forthcoming Mike Leigh biopic of Turner. This book made a number of best of the year lists in the UK, it comes out in the U.S. in 2015.
4. James Booth, Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love. A very good multi-dimensional biography for people already interested in Larkin and knowledgeable about his life, not necessarily a great introduction.
5. Clive James, Poetry Notebook 2006-2014. A superb book, one of the very best appreciations of poetry and introductions to poetry of the 20th century. This book has received raves in the UK, it is not yet out in the U.S.
Arrived in my pile are:
6. Alex Nowrasteh and Mark Krikorian, Open Immigration Yea, and Nay. This book is structured as a debate with two separate parts.
7. Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schöb, Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well-Being, from MIT Press.
8. F. Bailey Norwood, et.al., Agricultural & Food Controversies: What Everyone Needs to Know.
9. Andrew Zimbalist, Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.