What I’ve been reading

1. Charles Clover, Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism.  An excellent look at all the icky ideas that have been circulating around Russia for the last few decades.  This book also brings the relevant characters to life, for better or worse.  Recommended.

2. Christopher Prendergast, Living and Dying with Marcel Proust.  Unlike most of the secondary literature, this book actually makes In Search of Lost Time sound like it is worth reading.

3. Elizabeth Popp Berman, Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy.  A useful book, and many people should read it, that said I have some caveats.  Was “equality” ever the standard?  Why isn’t there more public choice/political economy analysis in here?

4. Joseph Sassoon, The Global Merchants: The Enterprise and Extravagance of the Sassoon Dynasty.  A fun read, I had not known the family was Iraqi-Jewish, or so heavily involved in the opium trade in 19th century China.  The author, by the way, is a distant relation to the main family tree, but it turns out he can read all the relevant languages for deciphering the family archives (and hardly anyone else can).

5. Elizabeth Bowen, Eva Trout.  Bowen has to be one of the most underrated writers of the twentieth century.  No human ever has told me to read one of her books!  Yet this one is a subtle knockout.


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