1. Europe Since 1989: A History, by Philipp Ther. And yet it is all told through the vantage point of central and eastern Europe. Recommended, not just the usual and interesting to see “the West” treated as the periphery. Makes you wonder if eastern Europe ever had a chance.
2. Jeffrey Edward Green, The Eyes of the People: Democracy in an Age of Spectatorship. “The ocular model, by contrast, is grounded on the People’s eyes and its capacity for vision, rather than on the People’s voice and its capacity for speech.” Think of it as Exit, View, and Loyalty, for the contemporary age.
3. Naomi Duguid, Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Not only an excellent cookbook, but a good regional study in its own right.
4. Paul Bloom, Against Empathy. “Singer goes further and argues that individuals like Kravinsky [an organ donor], motivated by their cold logic and reasoning, actually do more to help people than those who are gripped by empathic feelings…”
5. Christine Woodside, Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books. Fun and interesting, this gives you the real story behind those women and their connection to libertarianism. Here is a short essay by the author excerpted from the book. I cannot, however, say this book drove me to wish to read the original sources.
The new Coetzee and McEwan novels are OK but they don’t thrill me. There is also George J. Borjas, We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative, coming out soon.