Books of Self’s Recent Life (to April 30, 2012)


Books About 9/11:

  • Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children (This is a novel)
  • Lawrence Wright’s Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
  • Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower:  Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Books About Iraq:

  • Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City

Books About World War II:

  • Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke:  The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
  • Ben Macintyre’s Agent Zigzag:  A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
  • Hugh Sebag-Montefiore’s Dunkirk:  Fight to the Last Man

Collected Essays:

  • Judith Thurman’s Cleopatra’s Nose:  39 Varieties of Desire

Crime Fiction:

  • John Burdett’s Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo and Bangkok Haunts
  • Kjell Eriksson’s The Cruel Stars of the Night
  • Arnaldur Indridason’s Silence of the Grave
  • Morag Joss’s Half Broken Things and Puccini’s Ghost
  • Henning Mankell’s Before the Frost


  • Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics (a novel)
  • Danielle Trussoni’s Falling Through the Earth (a memoir)


  • Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map:  The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
  • Juliet Nicolson’s The Perfect Summer:  England 1911, Just Before the Storm
  • Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower:  A Story of Courage, Community, and War
  • Tacitus’ Annals of Imperial Rome
  • Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War


  • The Metamorphosis


  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel
  • Peter Godwin’s When a Crocodile Eats the Sun:  A Memoir of Africa
  • Christine Montross’s Body of Work:  Meditations on Mortality From the Human Anatomy Lab
  • Eugene O’Kelly’s Chasing Daylight:  How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life


  • John Leake’s Entering Hades:  The Double Life of a Serial Killer
  • Bryan Sykes’ Saxons, Vikings, and Celts:  The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland
  • Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Shah of Shahs, The Emperor, and Travels with Herodotus


  • Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives
  • Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End
  • Tom McCarthy’s Remainder
  • Ian McEwan’s Atonement and On Chesil Beach
  • Harry Mulisch’s The Assault
  • Irene Nemirovsky’s Fire in the Blood and Suite Francaise
  • Bernhard Schlink’s Homecoming and The Reader


  • Robert Fagles’ translation of Virgil’s The Aeneid

Travel Books:

  • Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts
  • Alan Moorehead’s The White Nile
  • Will Self’s Psychogeography:  Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place
  • Rory Stewart’s The Places In Between
  • Mark Twain’s Roughing It

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