The Year 2013 In Books

I’m trying something different this year with my book list. I’m going to make a short comment after listing each book.

But first, the usual questions: are there any themes from this year? Any intellectual currents present in my reading list that I didn’t realize at the time but see now that it’s complete?

First, […]

Good Reads, 2012 Version

The past year was a good year for reading. As in past years I try to read a book a week. This year I exceeded that goal slightly, having read 57 books. Much of that was due to rationing my internet intake, little to no blogging, little tweeting and even less Facebook, all massive timesucks.


Right to Be Wrong (Redux)

Gian P. Gentile reviews Fred Kaplan’s The Insurgents: “The story of Petraeus’ triumphalism has become the stock narrative for many writers on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars”:

Mr. Kaplan’s The Insurgents is a peculiar book. At the end of the book he points out “the modern age itself has reduced much of the […]

Book Review: Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Ward Wilson

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 196 pages

On sale January 15, 2013


Nuclear weapons will always be with us, right?

Ward Wilson disagrees. That’s not explicitly one of his five myths, but it might be a corollary of Myth 5, “There is no alternative.”

Wilson has written a […]

Writerly Reads

What is the relationship between the physicality of books and the act of reading? How important is the first to the second? Pretty damn important, says Andrew Piper in a recent article at Slate.

As someone who needs and enjoys solitude I found this article about the uses of solitude by John Burnside fascinating.

The […]

Tereska Torrès, 92, Writer of Lesbian Fiction, Dies

New York Times, By Margalit Fox, September 24

Tereska Torrès, a convent-educated French writer who quite by accident wrote America’s first lesbian pulp novel, died on Thursday at her home in Paris. She was 92.

Her family announced the death.

Though she wrote more than a dozen novels and several memoirs, […]

Book Review: The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Steven Pinker

I’ve had the feeling that humans are behaving better ever since I started reading medieval history. The ease with which people accepted torture and public and bloody executions. Roving bands of knights raped, killed, and sacked. Later on, the genocide of Native Americans. Child labor in mines and factories. Lynchings. We don’t do that any […]


John Higgs: Illuminatus! vs Atlas Shrugged:

As has been wildly noted, the twenty-first century is strange, worrying and makes very little sense. Help is at hand, however, because the late twentieth century produced two huge novels which shed light on our current predicament. These two books are polar opposites, yet oddly similar – opposed […]

What Thomas Friedman's Decade-Defining Wankery Really Means — and Why It's Dangerous

David Wearing at New Left Project reviews Belén Fernández’s recent book, The Imperial Messenger ”“ Thomas Friedman At Work, noting how Friedman’s banal pro-imperialist bloviation reflects — and helps to further — an all-too entrenched broader mentality:

Friedman puts the Iraqi public’s failure to appreciate the benefits of foreign occupation down to ”œthe wall in […]

Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball: The Best of Joe Bageant…,

is now available at Amazon…, and probably other places. Over at his website there is a post of the introduction to the book by Ken Smith.

”œI’m so damn average that what I write resonates with people”, Joe Bageant once told an interviewer in explaining how he had gained a global following for his […]

My Reading List, 2011

Dave graciously posted his reading list yesterday and asked that I do the same. 44 books a year ain’t so bad. Want a detailed exegesis on some of the books, read here. And if not, well, here is my list. Thanks Dave for the great suggestions. Who else is going to post their list?

Mirror […]

An Intimidating Discourse

I’m not that smart. I’m curious and I’ve accumulated a measure of knowledge over the years by reading. Often times it has been voracious reading, up to 52 books a year on some occasions, not to mention every issue of the New York Review of Books cover to cover. There is nothing unattainable or unique […]

In The First Few Months . . .

. . . that I owned a Kindle I would have told you I was done with the dead tree book. But the dew dried off that chandelier pretty quickly. I like to break the binding of a book, twist it, make highlights in it, to feel and touch the book and turn the […]

What's The Best Book You Read In 2011?

The best non-fiction book I read in 2011 was probably Evgeny Morozov’s “The Net Delusion.” The book simply demolishes the net-utopian fantasy that the interwebz will set us free. A close second would be Empire of the Summer Moon, which is about the Comanches and Quanah Parker.

The best fiction book I read in 2011 […]

Walking Away From Empire

The financial news from Europe is worse every day. Now (11/23/11) the most stable country in Euro-Land…, Germany, has no buyers for its bonds. Maybe the Federal Reserve will save the world (again) and Bail Out Germany and the rest of the world’s banks and bond holders…, like they clandestinely did in 2008. The Fed […]