1) Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy (2013), Sudhir Venkatesh
I am in awe of this very touching and also funny book about an egghead doofus from the ivy league who embeds himself with drug dealers, street prostitutes and high-end call girls. How this wasn’t made into a movie is beyond me.
2) The Pity of It All: A Portrait of Jews in Germany 1743 – 1933 (2003), Amos Elon
This tale of Jews in Germany ends in 1933. Spoiler alert – it doesn’t end well.
3) Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), Jules Verne
I read this for free on my kindle. It moves.
4) Star Trek: Discovery: The Way To The Stars (2019), Una McCormack
5) Antisemitism: Here and Now (2019), Deborah A. Lipstadt
I saw Professor Lipstadt speak earlier this year (wrote about it, too) and I remain very impressed by her.
6) 2010: Odyssey Two (1982), Arthur C. Clarke
7) Baltasar and Blimunda (1982), José Saramago
Saramago is impressive for a number of reasons, including the not-infrequent use of page-long sentences. They just go and go and are tremendous. I bought this book in Portugal a few years ago.
8) Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement (2007), Zaki Chehab
I bought this book at City Lights Bookshop in San Fransisco in 2010. It’s interesting. It is extremely pro-Hamas. To quote Annie Hall, “I like to get all points of view.”
9) Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage (1986), William Loren Katz
10) The Organs of Sense (2019), Adam Ehrlich Sachs
Holy shit, this book is funny. Read it.
11) 2061: Odyssey Three (1987), Arthur C. Clarke
This is a very rich story. The ongoing mysteries about the monolith and whatnot are fine, but Clarke’s vision of a future society are where it’s really at.
12) Inherited Disorders: Stories, Parables & Problems (2016), Adam Ehrlich Sachs
13) Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece (2018), Michael Benson
This is in paperback now, so grab it. It’s so good. (I actually took it out of the library because I am a miser, but that’s just me.) I learned a lot of facts about my favorite movie.
14) Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War (2019), John Jackson Miller
15) The Sun Also Rises (1926), Ernest Hemingway
Some things slip through the cracks. I enjoyed this.
16) Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction (2013), Annalee Newitz
An absolutely brilliant assessment of our species and what we can do to prepare for our next step. I found this greatly uplifting.
17) 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997), Arthur C. Clarke
The connection to the 2001 saga is somewhat skin deep, but this is a really fun and playful shot at a far-future.
18) The Songs of Distant Earth (1986), Arthur C. Clarke
19) The Painted Bird (1965), Jerzy Kosiński
20) Autonomous (2017), Annalee Newitz
21) Aniara (1956), Harry Martinson
A 150 page epic poem, from which the recent motion picture is derived. Very far out.
22) How to Fight Anti-Semitism (2019), Bari Weiss
Cosmic balance after reading the Hamas book, perhaps.