Wrote on running a Substack business, and the response made me curious: What are my customers reading? Not just newsletters, but in general. Personally, I’m enjoying Sam Quinones’ The Least of Us, which I’d highly recommend.
Relatively late in life discovered John LeCarre. Besides the obvious "why did I not read him earlier?", I really can't believe how good he is. I am reading everything in order of publication.
I'm reading Seth Wickersham's Patriots book. I really dig Angela Nagle's substack.
‘Woke Racism’ by John McWhorter. Frames the phenomena “Wokeness” as a new religion. I grew up in an extremely conservative evangelical home, so the arguments and parallels he makes on these points personally hit close. There are other parts of this book regarding solutions I’m not sure I agree, but it is very well argued and it’s making me reexamine the way I’ve thought about these subjects.
‘The Gulf War Did Not Take Place’ by Jean Baudrillard. I studied philosophy in college and by the end of my degree the subject had broken my brain. I had no interest in reading or thinking about the subject for several years. However, during covid I circled back and started picking up a few writers again. Simulation and hyper reality are his key concepts he applies in this book. I also find it really interesting to apply them to our current time with social media, and incoming metaverse(s).
‘Seven Seconds Or Less’ by Jack McCallum. I missed this one for a long time but was reminded of it by a recent episode of the Habershow podcast where Eddie House was the guest. Very entertaining episode and I got the book. It’s pure fun.
I’m re-reading Russell Banks’ The Sweet Hereafter after having re-watched the movie adaptation. A great novel and a great movie. How often does that happen? Dune seems to be the latest example of the book and movie both being great.
A death in the family by James agee, the next next level by Leon neyfakh, strange days by mark sayers, recently finished “crossroads” by franzen
I went down a bit of a Hollywood rabbit hole after reading "Powerhouse" by James Andrew Miller , about the history of CAA, then "Disney-War" by James B. Stewart, about Michael Eisner's time as CEO of Disney. Had a little detour with Michael Wolff's "The Man Who Owns the News" after hearing the author on Andrew Sullivan's podcast. That book in turn got me interested in checking out "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination" by Neal Gabler, another complicated and often maligned character. Currently I'm reading "The Devil's Candy: The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco" by Julie Salamon, about Brian de Palma's movie adaptation of Tom Wolfe's novel "The Bonfire of the Vanities". Which might be the end of this literary jaunt, unless I can find another good book in the same vein.
The Morning Star by Knausgaard, only a little bit in, it’s good so far, kept some of the mundane and ordinary elements of the My Struggle books
I heard that's excellent. I'm rereading Martin Amis's Money, and I love it even more than I did seven years ago.
I’m currently reading the most excellent Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland and have The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives on deck..
Also rereading J. R. Moehringer’s memoir The Tender Bar. Read it-loved it when it came out in 2005. The movie’s out next month and I need my inevitable disappointment in the films’ choices freshly informed. (Prove me wrong, Clooney!)
Been enjoying Mirin Fader’s book on Giannis the last week or so!
Dana O'Neil geeat book on the Big East. Thinking that Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga may be the best American born white player since Chris Mullen. Not to get to tribal. Lol.
Fleishman Is In Trouble
The Wires of War: Technology and the Global Struggle for Power by Jacob Helberg, "high-stakes global cyberwar brewing between Western democracies and the autocracies of China and Russia that could potentially crush democracy."
I know I'm super late to the party on this thread...and...I am not beating myself up for not discovering your Substack sooner. It just reminds me of the power of podcasts! Lets just say I have been keeping track, and so far I have read 28 of your Substack publications (I just learned of your Substack a few weeks ago after your guest appearances on Cowherd's "the volume" and BS Podcast on the Ringer". But, I read your book, Excellent! Also have checked out a couple of your Athletic Articles (those might be binge worthy, once I'm done reading all your pieces on Substack and am all caught up).
As for books;
Just mentioned finishing yours, and I am also juggling 4 others.
-Lies my Teacher told me by James Loewen
-Atomic Habits by James Clear
-The World - A Brief introduction by Richard Haas
-Coach K by Ian O'Connor - (bouncing around here, just read the Chapter on Coach K taking over the reigns of the Olympic "Redeem Team")
As for other people's suggestions here, they are incredible. I bookmarked a bunch of books like "Ladies who punch", "The Gap and the gain", as well as the books recommended on the workings of Disney and Hollywood.
Tunnel 29: The True Story of an Extraordinary Escape Beneath The Berlin Wall
Can't Knock the Hustle
Joe Posnanski's The Baseball 100 and The Hits Just Keep on Coming by Ben Fong-Torres.
Indulging my repressed inner 12-year-old and working my way through this enormous list of all-time science fiction classics: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3.Best_Science_Fiction_Fantasy_Books
Recently finished Michael Herr's "Dispatches," too.
"Interior Chinatown" by Charles Yu about Asians living in America's "black-and-white" movie.
Tiding myself over with Dovlatov's The Suitcase in anticipation of 1982, Janine by Gray. I'm subscribed to the lit mag n+1 and they do a yearly fundraiser where they give you a "personalized" reading list. Their focus is essays on culture and politics. They seem to me like Ethan's sort of NY intellectuals. But I could be wrong.
I found Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari to be amazing so I’m reading the follow up Homo Deus but its meh
"The Asian Financial Crisis 1995-98." Unique history book combining personal anecdotes, 2021 analysis, and analysis from 1995-98 itself.
Fascinating as an example of when the wisdom of crowds was very wrong + (once again) elite opinion from afar had NO IDEA what was happening on the ground in Asia.
Currently reading Isaac Asimov's Foundation. A great story about science, fate and trying against all odds to avert disaster.
Reading Norman Friedman's US Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History. Includes both historical/current warships and weird proposals like a plan to arm a supertanker-sized ship and fill as much of it with foam as possible so it'd be hard to sink.
"Aesthetic Intelligence" by Pauline Brown, the former head of Louis Vuitton's North American division. Very interesting read, lots of gems in there.
The Deep Places by Ross Douthat
All books are great and every comment here by all readers (of yours Ethan, and of books!) are amazing, but it's worth a look beyond what specific books are being read, and studying how many of the books are written by women. I have made it a point to read books by women as a priority, and always look to expand my reading experience, not just a book at a time, but beyond my current views and perspectives.
I actually think you’d find “Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames” book a surprising joy. It’s kind of weird but beautifully written tails of a mudlark’s discovery of historic items along the Thames in London. I normally don’t read books like these but I felt like reading something totally different. Great book for curious people.
I'm reading The Gap and the Gain it has really shifted my outlook on what I should focus on and what I need to learn to ignore to live a happier life
I've been in an ADHD spiral of 3 different books.
Christian Beginnings by Geza Vermes (a book about the origins of Christianity to the Council of Nicea) I'm always curious about how religion begins and how it is institutionalized.
No Simple Victory by Norman Davies (History World War II in Europe) I'm always reading a World War II book, this is just what is in my current rotation.
Ladies Who Punch by Ramin Setoodeh (A book about The View and the backstage drama) I just love the drama and the powerplays for control. Its possibly the craziest thing I have ever read. It is Succession-esque.
Fun, easy reads: Wickersham's Patriots book and Halberstam's Playing for Keeps (MJ book).
Fun, dense read: James C. Scott's major works, starting with Seeing Like State.
Nerd-Jock aspirational read: Bill Walsh's Finding the Winning Edge.
Herman Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game, Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation, and The Sayings of the Desert Fathers rn. Jumping in and out of some other stuff too (Borges’ complete stories, Michel de Certeau’s Practice of Everyday Life), but that’s the main three on my plate rn.
I'm reading random literary journals trying to find writers whose voices are as fun to read as Ethan's. Readers, Ethan, any recommendations?
Always re-reading Lord of the Rings (most years). Reading A Perfect Spy right now. Finished reading the Last Kingdom series, written by Bernard Cornwell (was made as Netflix series). It’s historical fiction at its best. Fun, fast-moving, clever and a little violent.
Do it! He does great work and it’s interesting to see the way he’s carved a niche for himself in the sports world.
I’m reading Demian (for Freddie deBoer’s book club) and a romance novel. Plus lots of newsletters.
Just finished Ben Shapiro's How to Destroy American in Three Easy Steps. Now starting Douglas Murray's The Strange Death of Europe.
Just completed Nineteen Eighty-Four. To be honest I was a little disappointed, maybe my expectations were too high given the status of the book. The idea was nice, but the story in itself was underwhelming to me.
I'll start reading The Rise of the Ultra Runners or The Miracle of Castel di Sangro today.
Hail Mary - The Rise and Fall of the National Women's Football League by Britni De La Cretaz and Lindsey D'Arcangelo. I'm not very far into it yet but enjoying it so far. I'm a sucker for stories of start-up sports leagues.
Courage is Calling (Ryan Holiday) and Lost Connections (Johann Hari). Lost Connections might be of interest to you in its look at how people connect with one another in an age of clicks and likes and consumerism. Also Forget the Alamo was a great look at the history of Texas and how the legend/myth of the Alamo has become of a symbol of Texas identity.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, Flannery O'Connor short stories and some early 80s X-Men.
Quinones is great. I can't recommend Dreamland enough.
Just read Grant, by Ron Chernow. Fascinating to learn more about times that certainly were tumultuous and where the country was divided.
Currently reading Dante's Divine Comedy. It presents a pretty good picture of human frailties, many in evidence today.