1. Peter Sloterdijk, Selected Exaggerations: Conversations and Interviews, 1993-2012. No, he’s not a fraud, and this volume is probably the best introduction to his thought. Is there an extended argument here? I am not sure, but I did enjoy this bit:
The existential philosophers have greatly overstated homelessness. In fact, people sit in their apartments with their delusions and cushion themselves as best they can.
But why does he have to follow up with?:
Living means continuously updating the immune system — and that is precisely what foam theory can help us show more clearly than before.
In the German-speaking world he passes for one of the most important world thinkers.
2. Declan Kiberd, After Ireland: Writing the Nation from Beckett to the Present. A very high quality and original look at how Irish literature reflects the nation’s development, though it assumes a fair knowledge of the works being discussed.
3. Fred Hersch, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life in and Out of Jazz. How someone from a previous generation a) became a star jazz pianist, b) discovered gay liberation, and c) woke from a coma to resume a miraculous career.
4. Stephen Greenblatt, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve. In general I am a Greenblatt fan, and not persuaded by the critics of his popularizations, but this book is not doing it for me. For the Hebrew Bible I prefer to read densely argued Straussians.
5. William Ian Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust. Miller’s books from the 1990s remain an underrated source of “stuff for smart people.” His book on disgust could be the best in that series, for me this is a reread and yes it did hold up.