Sunday, October 25, 2009

Books I am currently reading

Paul Collier, Wars, Guns, and Votes (Harper 2009): Interesting, but not up to the brilliant standard he set in The Bottom Billion (Oxford 2007). The analysis and arguments aren't as well thought out, and the writing is quirky.

Janos Kornai, By Force of Thought (MIT 2006): A memoir of the great and iconoclastic Hungarian economist, who plainly deserves a Nobel Prize for his work on soft-budget constraints and shortage economies. It is a rich and thoughtful autobiography.

Vol 1 of the omnibus collection of C.P. Snow's series of novels Strangers and Brothers (Scribners 1972). Snow, who achieved renown as both a physicist and a novelist, most famously wrote about the unfortunate divergence of the "two cultures" of science and humanities. The Strangers and Brothers series is made up of more than one dozen novels, published over the course of several decades, but which he always considered as comprising a single work. Many of the novels are set in Cambridge, which gives them special interest for me. Volume I of the omnibus edition includes the following novels: Time of Hope, George Passant, The Conscience of the Rich, and The Light and the Dark.

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