After a hot day of little work, I thought to kick start myself I would follow the lead of Adam Morton and list my top ten books that have stayed with me. In the spirit of Morton’s list, I have not given it any deep thought, just that which comes off the top of my head. There will be some glaring omissions, (David Harvey and Theda Skocpol as examples) but here it is anyway.
1. Michel Foucault, Dits et Écrits.
Although I may have left Foucault behind in some ways, he was the first thinker who I read very closely and was deeply intellectually influenced by his ideas.
2. Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls
This remains my favourite work of fiction in addition to being a look in to one of the true revolutionary events of the twentieth century, the Spanish Civil War.
3. Bob Jessop, State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in its Place.
I was reminded by Adam Morton how much intellectual influence Jessop has had on my work and the understanding of the capitalist state. His mark is in nearly everything I write.
4. Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths.
Borges’ work shines above near all other short stories in addition to offering a deeper understanding of Argentina, and especially Buenos Aires.
5. Ernesto Laclau, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy
This text is nearly the most dominant in my PhD thesis, and although I can not agree normatively with everything Laclau says, his writings on populism remain by far the best on populism and its application to his home country of Argentina absolutely indispensable.
6. José Carlos Mariátegui, Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality’
Coincidentally one of Che Guevara’s most influential texts, Mariategui’s framing of much of the problems in Latin America to do with land distribution so long ago, and its modern day relevance for me are striking.
7. Jean Paul Sartre, Age of Reason Trilogy
I could have put a number of Sartre (or for that matter Camus) texts here, but this dense but rewarding trilogy of philosophical novels are the ones that have stayed with me.
8. Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
The short story is one of my favourite forms, and Carver’s ability to write a couple of pages about nothing, but capture the alienation of modern life is absolutely incredible.
9. Karl Marx, Capital.
It would not be a list of mine without the text that provides the unsurpassed best understanding of capitalism.
10. Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: History and Illusion in the Apperance of Venezuelan Democracy.
My favourite book on Venezuela, a magical interdisciplinary mix that provides a complex and deep understanding of the complex and deep nation.