Full list here. Still feeling like I don’t read enough fiction. Only about 25% of the total, although none in the top 5, so maybe I know what I like. Disappointed by David Foster Wallace and Charles Bukowski; Delighted, as always by Tyler Cowen, Edith Wharton, Rob Sheffield and Tim Harford. Shout-out to Pat, GLo, my dad and 5Books for the referrals and the reviews. Already a dozen titles in my pile, including Norman Mailer (Harlot’s Ghost), Charles Dickens (Martin Chuzzlewit) and Dostoyevsky (Demons).
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Fascinating look at a cholera outbreak in London in 1854, this book deals with the rise of cities, the dangers of confirmation bias and the growth of science, all built around a riveting story of crisis and investigation.
The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon
Brilliant study of growth in the American standard of living from 1870 to 1970, and the suggestion that we may never see its like anytime soon. The Internet is great, but it can’t hold a candle to the benefits of electricity, indoor plumbing and the car.
This is London: Life and Death in the World City by Ben Judah
Chronicle of life in the big city for Roma beggars, Filipino nannies, Polish construction workers, Arabic princesses and African sanitation workers, among others. Gives you a real sense of who the people you see on the train are, what they do, and how big cities could not function without diversity.
Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of QuestionsAsked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano
Delightful, carefully reasoned consideration of various basketball-related disputes and hypotheticals, including a disquisition on pickup dos and don’ts, building Frankenplayer and the concept of a “memory hero,” someone who is overrated by virtue of being a favorite player in our youth. A delightful read from one of my favourite writers right now.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I read this after all of the hype and it still blew me away with its insights and candor on what it means to be black in America. Everyone should read this book.