I recommend On Writing Well for anyone interested in non-fiction writing; I laugh out loud even as I’m taking notes. For a book where laughter is the main aim, I like David Sedaris. Three editions of the London Review of Books have also arrived since I last posted about new books. If you don’t subscribe, you should.
My post on what one should read was quite popular, so I thought I would share what I am reading right now, as an illustration of the principles in action.
I usually try to pair an easier and harder read together. This once meant non-fiction during the day and fiction at night, but I increasingly prefer biography or history as my bedside reads. I usually have a Spanish novel at hand and read a few pages each morning to practice – it’s more interesting than Duolingo.
Una historia de amor y oscuridad – Amos Oz
Black Swan – Nassim Taleb
The Essential Keynes – Edited by Robert Skidelsky
Something appealing while browsing a bookstore on a sunny Saturday is not always what I feel like reading standing in front of my bookshelf on a Tuesday night. The solution has been to buy liberally, and have as many options as possible at home. Add to that Christmas, and my ‘to-read’ has swelled to a largely aspirational status. Still, I find it comforting to sit surrounded by little rows of colorfully bound and titled mysteries.
The Path to Power – Robert Caro
On the Genealogy of Moral / The Gay Science – Nietzsche
Debt – David Graeber
Assorted Poems – Keats
The God Delusion – Dawkins
The Mediterranean (Abridged single volume) – Fernand Braudel
Perdido Street Station – China Mieville
The lucky country – Donald Horne
To this must be added the impossible-to-catch-up-to pile of London Review of Books back editions. If you don’t already, you really should consider subscribing. It truly is the best magazine in the world.
Tens of thousands of new book are published each year. Most will be forgotten. The graveyard is especially full of non-fiction on current events or future trends. As a result, I have switched to reading more older works, on the logic that anything which has persisted for decades should have some merit. Even where it does not you get a perspective on how people once thought and by association how we think today.