What I’ve been reading

1. The Seventh Day, by Yu Hua.  This is perhaps my favorite of all the contemporary Chinese novels I have read: “Lacking the money for a burial plot, he must roam the afterworld aimlessly, without rest.”

2. Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman, The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation.  Have you ever wondered how recipes, fashion, fonts, and comedians’ jokes function without strong intellectual property protection in the classic sense?  We have needed a book on that and now we have one, this is both fun and instructive.

3. Stanley G. Payne and Palacios, Franco: A Personal and Political Biography.  This is readable, reasonably comprehensive, and unlike many competing books shows clearly that Franco, whatever his flaws may have been, was no buffoon.  A useful corrective to the usual treatments, even if many readers will feel the authors go too far in their sympathies for Franco.

4. Karl Knausgaard, Dancing in the Dark, My Struggle volume IV.  I like it, and the tales about trying to bed down Nordic chicks as a teenager are compelling and sometimes hilarious, but overall it is not up to the exalted standards set by the first two volumes.  So far this is out only in the UK.

5. The Greening of Asia, by Mark l. Clifford, a genuinely useful and informative book about some of the most important environmental dilemmas, very even handed and a model of clarity.

6. Robert P. Murphy, Choice, Cooperation, Enterprise and Human Action.  If you want a clear, well-written, 2015-based, non-obscure, non-Galician version of Ludwig Mises, this is your book.

For the specialist I can heartily recommend Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock, by Stephen W. Kress and Derrick Z. Jackson, Yale University Press.


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