Summer reading

As summer approaches (at least here in the Northern hemisphere) newspapers, magazines, and radio shows are proposing lists of summer books to read.

Below are a list of some of the books I’m hoping to read, most of which have only oblique connections to resilience, along with reviews that got me interested in the book.

In the comments, I’d love to hear what others are planning to read and why

2666 by Roberto Bolaño

In Time Lev Grossman wrote: “the relentless gratuitousness of 2666 has its own logic and its own power, which builds into something overwhelming that hits you all the harder because you don’t see it coming. This is a dangerous book, and you can get lost in it. How can art, Bolaño is asking, a medium of form and meaning, reflect a world that is blessed with neither?”

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
I’ve read and enjoyed most of Murakami’s books. Michael Dirda writes: “After Dark is a short book, hypnotically eerie, full of noirish foreboding, sometimes even funny, but, most of all, it’s one that keeps ratcheting up the suspense. At times, the novel recalls those unsettling films of Jean-Luc Godard or Michelangelo Antonioni where something dire seems always about to happen, even as attractive young people, full of anomie and confusion, meander aimlessly through an ominous urban landscape.”

India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy
by Ramachandra Guha

In the Guardian Amit Chaudhuri wrote “Guha’s book reminds us of what some other recent studies of India have been getting at, but without this civilised single-mindedness: that it’s not just the story of independence that’s worthy of being counted as one of the great triumphal stories of 20th-century world history; that the survival and perhaps the flourishing of free India counts legitimately as another.”

Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World edited by Terry Chapin, Gary Kofinas, Carl Folke

A new book by many of my collaborators. From Springer’s website: “This textbook provides a new framework for natural resource management—a framework based on stewardship of ecosystems for ecological integrity and human well-being in a world dominated by uncertainty and change. The goal of ecosystem stewardship is to respond to and shape changes in social-ecological systems in order to sustain the supply and availability of ecosystem services by society. The book links recent advances in the theory of resilience, sustainability, and vulnerability with practical issues of ecosystem management and governance.”

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane

Andrew Motion in the Guardian: It means, among other things, that The Wild Places is an odd addition to today’s books about the environment: a consoling thing, as well as an admonitory one. It’s not just that Macfarlane finds certain kinds of satisfaction for himself – creating, as he promised to do at the outset, a map in which the priorities of motorists are replaced by sites of natural wonderment, and discovering that wildness is not inevitably “about asperity, but about luxuriance, vitality, fun”. He also encourages his readers to feel that while many of our fundamental connections have been broken or lost, many remain – if only we have the sense and tuned senses to appreciate them. This may not seem a particularly striking conclusion but it’s well worth saying. And the journeys to reach it are so vigorously animated, they are well worth taking with him.

It’s Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong

Development economist Chris Blattman writes “Wrong is among my favorite journalists writing on Africa (a favorite piece is here). Her new book is superb – part journalism, part diary, and part Le Carre novel. The academic in me wasn’t always pleased; her assessment of ethnic politics is thinly constructed (this syllabus might come in handy), and her portrait of Githongo can’t help but be influenced by a close friendship. But a more interesting and readable book on Africa is hard to find.”

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld by Misha Glenny

Geoff Manaugh writes “I can’t recommend this book enough. A look at the global counter-economies of sex trafficking, drugs, illegitimate construction, counterfeit goods, and light weaponry, the otherwise somewhat embarrassingly titled McMafia shows us a planet riddled with labyrinthine networks of unregistered transactions, untraceable people, and even illegal building sites. … this is one of the most interesting books I’ve read all year.”

2 thoughts on “Summer reading”

  1. You have a great list here. Another interesting read (I heard, and I’m still planning to read it soon) is Jeff Rubin’s “Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller” with the idea on how oil scarcity will lead to the end of globalization.

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