October reading

Books I’m reading

Ghost Wars by Steve Coll

Old school reports about famous people often seem to contain rather unfortunate predictions that so and so, now an economics Nobel laureate, won’t amount to much because he isn’t that good at maths.

Teachers around the world will be relieved to know that CIA agents are just as far-sighted: “Osama works hard but his bark is worse than his bite. Probably not much of a threat.”

War in Darfur, edited by Alex de Waal.

The De Waal chapters are, as you’d expect, pretty damn good. The rest is a bit hit and miss.

Books I’m pretending to read

From Poverty to Power by Duncan Green.

Some very nice NGO-types gave it to me and I promised I’d read it. In the same way that you promise your aunt you’ll wear that nice green jumper she knitted you for Christmas

China in Africa by Chris Alden.

According to the blurb on the back it’s an ‘elegant and engaging study’. At the moment it’s somewhere underneath a pile of expenses in my not so elegant or engaging study.

Books I’ve bought but haven’t read yet

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright.

Everyone says it’s brilliant, but I can only cope with one ‘how we fucked things up before 9/11’ book at a time

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

I know, I know, I should have read it. But I haven’t, okay? I’ll get round to it…

Teach yourself Swahili

You’re shocked, I can tell.


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