1. Martin Amis, Inside Story: A Novel. Except it is a memoir rather than a novel, definitely fun, and has received excellent reviews in Britain, less so in the U.S. Does not require that you know or like the novels of Amis. Christopher Hitchens plays a critical role in the narrative. Idea-rich, but somehow I don’t quite care, and this one feels like it would have been a much better book twenty years ago.
2. Tobias S. Harris, The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan (UK Amazon listing, I paid the shipping charge, here is the U.S. listing). Yes a good biography of Abe, but most of all a book to make Japanese politics seem normal, rather than something connected to a country with a Kakuhidou movement.
4. Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: the Life of Malcolm X. I pawed through this book, and it gave off signals of being high quality. But somehow reading it didn’t hold my interest. I then googled to a few reviews, but I rapidly realized (again) that such reviews are these days untrustworthy. Try this NYT review, starting with this sentence: “Les Payne’s “The Dead Are Arising” arrives in late 2020, bequeathed to an America choked by racism and lawlessness.” The reviewer makes a bunch of intelligent observations, interspersed with gushing about Malcolm X (“It is hard not to want Malcolm back, because his charisma is undeniable”), but I am never told why I should read the book. At the end I learn the reviewer is “…the dean of academic affairs and a professor of American studies at Wellesley College.” Signal extraction problem, anyone? I call the current regime a tax on my willingness to put more time into the book.
Adam Thierer, Evasive Entrepreneurs & the Future of Governance: How Innovation Improves Economies and Governments, extends the important idea of permissionless innovation.
Jason Brennan, Good Work If You Can Get It: How to Succeed in Academia. My blurb said “The one book to read about trying to become a professor.”