Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Book Challenge

This Book Challenge has lately been trending social media, and I'm cheating: giving you top10 FICTION, and top 10 NON-FICTION. Here we go:


'Utvandrarna' (Utvandrarna, Invandrarna, Nybyggarna, Sista Brevet till Sverige) – by Vilhelm Moberg, best Swedish books ever written, about our national legacy of poverty 150 years ago where one-fifth of the population emigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life. As close to non-fiction as it gets.

'Isla de la Fortuna' – by Isabel Allende, one of her least known works giving a fascinating tale of my old home, Valparaíso, set in mid 1840s. About the life of Eliza, following her own path and love rather than what society expected of her.

'Hunger Games' (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) – by Suzanne Collins. Fantastic story of bravery, sacrifice and love in a world where state power ruthlessly force children kill each other for entertainment.

'Atlas Shrugged' – by Ayn Rand. Stunning tale of a statist society where the productive forces decide they’ve had enough of the collective looting and stealing; they go on strike, and the world falls apart.

Harry Potter (All 7 books) – by J.K Rowling, probably the best YA books ever written. Read them countless times in 4 languages. Love them beyond anything.

Divergent (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) – By Veronica Roth, a mesmerizing dystopian YA story about being different in a rigid and static society.

'Waiting for the Barbarians' – by J.M Coetzee, about one man’s consciousness in the outskirts of an imperial empire set on exterminating innocent indigenous people.

'Leviathan' (Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath) – By Scott Westerfeld, a counterfactual historical novel of beasts and machines where Franz Ferdinand had a son who survived and tried to stay hidden when Europe fell into the Great War.

Midnighters (Secret Hour, Touching Darkness, Blue Noon) – by Scott Westerfeld, about five youth born at midnight, able to access the ‘Blue Time’, an extra magical hour every night where darkness awakes and the protagonists have special powers.

Uglies (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras) – by Scott Westerfeld, about growing up in a dystopian totalitarian society, and how Tally refuses to. Best quote: “To do what’s expected of you, is always boring.”


Zlata’s Diary’ – by Zlata Filipovic, a child’s account of war, abundantly called “The Anne Frank of Sarajevo”

'Migrationens Kraft' – By Johan Norberg/Fredrik Segerfeldt, about how migration has always been part of humanity – and that it’s good. This book is what first set me on the journey questioning the State’s power over individuals.

'That which is seen, that which is unseen' – by Federic Bastiat, probably one of the best, most informative, to-the-point texts on economics, vividly explaining economic concepts.

'Bourgeois Virtue' (All 3 Volumes) – By Deidre McCloskey. Unlike anything I’ve ever read, in her abundant knowledge she explains how being Bourgeois is/has been virtuous, how capitalism makes us all better, not only materially but also spiritually. In subsequent volumes, Bourgeois Dignity and Bourgeois Equality, she explains how trade and bourgeois values made the world wealthy and what's wrong with all the other accounts of the industrial revolution that lifted us our of Malthusian traps.

'The Great Divergence' – by Kenneth Pomeranz, the Main-Read of the California School of Economic History, comparing Britain with China in trying to explain why the Industrial Revolution happened here rather than there.

'The NOT so Wild Wild West' – by Terry Anderson and Peter J. Hill, explaining how the west wasn’t wild until the American Army came there, how Indians had property rights like everyone else and how trading was more prominent/beneficial than raiding in the 19th century West.

'In Defense of Global Capitalism' – by Johan Norberg, vividly and charmingly explaining how capitalism is good and how the anti-capitalist Seattle riots of 2001 are misdirected.

'Tyranny of Experts' – by William Easterly, profoundly explaining economic development, how foreign aid has ignored the rights of the poor, and how authoritarian rule has stayed in charge among the Development Agencies. I wrote an extensive review just a few weeks back, so this is a very fresh contender indeed.

'Democracy the God that Failed' – by Hans-Herman Hoppe, compellingly and perfectly describing how democracy is incompatible with private property.

'Sossesverige' – by Fredrik Segerfeldt, describing the Social Democratic shame; how none of their historiography about how the labour movement built Sweden is accurate. 

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