I reviewed only four books for CA last year. In order:
- The Irregulars
- Leviathan: An illustrated novel
- The Accidental Guerrilla
- Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
2010 was a light year for politics/IR-related reading as you can see from my list (I would think that Chirol’s list be much more exciting as he finished graduate school last year). There were a couple of standouts that should be mentioned here, particularly:
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris: An amazingly ambitious book that could change the relationship between modern science and ethics, and well worth the read. To get a taste of the controversy, check out the TED talk (and resulting commentary) that made me pre-order the book right away.
Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky: Another book with an excellent TED talk, I found Cognitive Surplus better than Shirky’s first book Here Comes Everybody. That being said, it is not an easy book to comprehend. Shirky introduces a number of topics and frameworks drawing on fields such as behavioral economics, sociology, psychology and anthropology. This is a book to be studied and discussed, rather than simply consumed.
Finally, the only book to garner 5 stars in my ranking was the amazing fictional account of magic in the Victorian age: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke as narrated by Simon Prebble. Simply said: a modern classic.
As for 2011, I am currently reading Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion, which has been released today. Morozov was great in sending me a review copy in December (it took only 5 days compared to the 5 months to get my review copy of Kaplan’s Monsoon). Expect a review in a couple of weeks.