After returning to the library a big stack of books a few days ago, needless to say it was a lot easier for me to rationalize my rather impulsive decision to snag a small pile of books during yesterday’s visit to the public library. Truth be told, I really didn’t need anymore books from the library. But hey, has that ever stopped me before? Of course not.
As you can see, the focus of this particular loot is what foreign policy specialists like to call “area studies”. This seems to be a slight departure from my recent fare of comparative religion and memoir.
While it’s been hit or miss of late when it comes to the books of Greenhaven Press I’m hoping their edition of The Middle East Peace Process: Opposing Viewpoints is a hit. I had Helen’s Middle East Reading Challenge in mind when I grabbed this one.
Likewise with Greenhaven’s The Middle East: Current Controversies, since I’m hoping it’s not an uneven collection of opinion pieces but instead and intelligent and engaging look at one the world’s most troubled regions. Hopefully, it will serve as worthy contribution to Helen’s excellent challenge
While I generally liked Lawrence Scott Sheets’ 8 Pieces of Empire, I wished it would have instead focused on the Soviet Union’s implosion as opposed to the author’s 20 years of adventures throughout the various republics of the former USSR. Perhaps Connor O’Clery’s Moscow December 24 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union is a better political post-mortem analysis.
Even though Jonathan Fenby’s Dealing with the Dragon: A Year in the New Hong Kong was published 12 years ago, I’m still hoping it will still provide helpful introductory information about the former British colony. After starting Fenby’s book late last night so far anyway I’m surprisingly impressed with it.
This one reminds me a bit of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Ian Morris’ Why the West Rules–For Now and David Landes’ The Wealth and Poverty of Nations. Peter Watson’s The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New could be one of those “big picture” kind of books that makes a person look at the world in a whole new way. Or it could be a pretentious and dry piece of crap. Obviously I hoping for the former, not the later.
With 1492 on my desk and 1493 on my Kindle–both waiting to be read–why not add Stephen Brown’s 1494 to the mix? Brown’s book looks at the Treaty of Tordesillas which divided the New World between Spain and Portugal and how that treaty impacts us even today. For whatever reason I keep thinking this book might end up being better than I expected and if that’s the case, it could wind up being one of this summer’s “sleeper” reads. I guess we will have to wait and see.
That’s enough books for now. Time for me to knuckle down and get back to my reading. Hopefully, I can also knock out a few reviews since I’m REALLY behind in that department!