I do mean no one. You have to really like this book, have no other friends or colleagues who like it, and still think the book is very good, not just the product of your own contrarian snottiness.
I have my pick: Nancy Scheper Hughes’s 1992 study Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil.
Part of the GPT-4 summary runs as follows:
The central premise is the apparent paradox that mothers in this region seem to accept the death of their infants without the expected level of grief or weeping. Scheper-Hughes explores the sociocultural and economic factors that have led to a situation where such high infant mortality is normative and somewhat “accepted” as a part of life. This acceptance is a survival mechanism in a context where the death of children is so common due to factors such as malnutrition, dehydration, and lack of adequate healthcare.
It’s not that I know people who reject this book, rather I don’t currently know anyone who would read a 556-page work on medical anthropology/conflict studies in northern Brazil.
A long time ago, I would have nominated Rene Girard here, perhaps Theatre of Envy. But he has since grown in popularity.
What are your picks, and why?