Here are some of the books and films I managed to consume this semester when I should have been doing other things. Though some are better than others I recommend them all.


Gain by Richard Powers

Outstanding. 2 narratives that counterpoint one another. In the first, a small soap-making company adapts to the rise of US capitalism and becomes a multinational corporation. In the second, Laura, a 40 year old mother of 2, discovers she has ovarian cancer.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

A sharply observed political novel about Thomas Cromwell, counselor to Henry VIII and a leading figure in the English Reformation.

Waverly by Walter Scott

Scott’s first novel. A young man joins the Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland.

American Rust by Philipp Meyer

Set in de-industrialized Pennsylvania. A novel about crime and the social effects of a faltering economy.


Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies by Jodi Dean

The ideas are as bad-ass as the title. Way beyond the increasingly irrelevant lib/con divide.

Ideology (2nd ed.) by John Hawkes

A really outstanding and encompassing introduction to the concept. I cribbed bits of this for lecture.

The Cambridge Introduction to the Novel by Marina Mackay

A real pleasure to read. Highly accessible. The novel is a technology for making us think about the world.

Peoples and Empires by Anthony Padgen

Empire is one of my intellectual obsessions. Padgen takes a global view. A bit stodgy for my taste, but some valuable knowledge.

There is No Bread Without Freedom by Constantine Pleshkanov

Flipping the script on the triumph of capitalist democracy and the End of History.

A Revolution of the Mind by Jonathan Israel

The radical roots of Enlightenment.

Joseph Conrad: Nostromo by Ian Watt

Ian Watt was one of the most erudite and significant writers of literary criticism in English. This volume isn’t as seminal as his classic, The Rise of the Novel, but it offers perspicuous insights into Conrad’s most demanding work, Nostromo.


The Housemaid (Korea 2010)

The Robber (Austria 2010)

The Violin (US/Mexico 2005)

Beau Brummell: This Charming Man (UK 2008)

Sin Nombre (US/Mexico 2009)

Behind the Rainbow (South Africa 2008)

A Handful of Dust (UK 1988)

A Film With Me in It (Ireland 2008)

The Escapist (UK 2008)

The Princess of Montpensier (France 2010)

Blind Shaft (China 2003)

Bad Day to Go Fishing (Spain/Uruguay 2009)

Mary, Queen of Scots (UK 1971)

Quilombo (Brazil 1984)

The Trip (UK 2010)

Comedy of Power (France 2006)

Tycoon: A New Russian (Russia 2002)

Gomorrah (Italy 2008)

The Red Violin (US 1998)

How I Ended This Summer (Russia 2010)

Towards Zero (France 2007)

Cutter’s Way (US 1981)

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