Notes from the Now

The Economist’s Best of 2009 List

In literature on December 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Sticking with the “Best of 2009” theme, here’s the Economist’s Best of 2009 list.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve read any of these yet, but here are a few that sound intriguing to me:

  • The Idea of Justice. By Amartya Sen. Belknap Press; 496 pages; $29.95. Allen Lane; £25
    A commanding summation of the work of Amartya Sen, an Indian-born Nobel laureate, that focuses on economic reasoning and the elements and measurement of human well-being.”
  • It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower. By Michela Wrong. Harper; 368 pages; $25.99. Fourth Estate; £12.99
    A down-to-earth yet sophisticated exposé of how an entire country can be munched in the clammy claws of corruption and tribalism to ensure that those in power win the fattest share of the cake.”
  • When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment. By Mark Kleiman. Princeton University Press; 256 pages; $29.95 and £20.95
    America has one prisoner for every hundred adults—a rate unprecedented in American history and unmatched anywhere in the world. Brute-force crime control has been a costly mistake, both socially and financially. Mr Kleiman shows how smarter enforcement strategies are more successful and make existing budgets go further. An important book that deserves a wider readership.”
  • American Rust. By Philipp Meyer. Spiegel & Grau; 384 pages; $24.95. Simon & Schuster; £12.99 Set in America’s crumbling industrial heartland, Mr Meyer’s first novel is a paean to the end of empire—a book that is as painful as it is enjoyable.”
  • In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. By Daniyal Mueenuddin. Norton; 249 pages; $23.95. Bloomsbury; £14.99
    A remarkable debut by a Punjabi writer who has gained plaudits from Mohsin Hamid and Salman Rushdie. A small book that reveals, in every detail, the extent to which life in Pakistan is dictated as much by whom you know as what you do.”

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