March Reads

Another month, another post of books! In chronological order:

  1. Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious About Serious Books by William Germano (University of Chicago Press)
  2. Saving the Neighborhood: Racially Restrictive Covenants, Law, and Social Norms by Richard Brooks and Carol M. Rose (Harvard University Press)
    • Really enjoyed this book and assigning it to my students in the private (non-government) discrimination seminar. Tells the story of how, in the wake of the Great Migration, whites used restrictive covenants and other mechanisms to signal their views on non-whites moving into the neighborhood. Most interesting to me was the discussion of the tensions between racially restrictive covenants and fundamental property law doctrines that, for instance, disfavor restraints on alienation. Written extremely clearly and (mercifully) only uses game theory concepts in ways that elucidates how racism works in the private context. Absolutely recommend.
  3. The Racial Contract by Charles W. Mills (Cornell University Press)
    • You know that feeling when you drink super cold water when you first get up in the morning and you can feel it tickle all the way down your throat and into your stomach? This book feels like that on your mind. As neo-republicans have to acknowledge that their theory of freedom relied on the enslavement of many for that freedom, social contract theory must acknowledge and grapple with its origins and ongoing relationship to white supremacy.
  4. Stoner by John Williams (republished by NYRB Classics)
    • The book I had to rant about mid-month. In reality, there’s a lot to like here — just also a lot to criticize. I did not actually hate it!
  5. Making Marie Curie: Intellectual Property and Celebrity Culture in an Age of Information by Eva Hemmungs Wirtén (University of Chicago Press)
  6. Crossing the Class and Color Lines: From Public Housing to White Suburbia by Leonard Rubinowitz and James Rosenbaum (University of Chicago Press)
    • All about the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s what moved over 7000 low-income black families from Chicago’s very poor and very dangerous inner cities into middle-class white suburbia. All from 1976-1998. Showed yet again that where you live matters to life outcomes.
  7. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books)
    • Fiction (finally!). This book just came out this past September and has been on tons of should-read lists. It tells the story of one marriage from both sides, with the first half of the book from the husband’s perspective and the second from the wife. The wife was *such* an interesting character. Enjoyed.
  8. The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Inquiry into Human Freedom by John Gray (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  9. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor)
    • Recommended by one of the lovely people at Borderlands, the best SF bookstore I’ve ever been to and the place I beelined to once I returned the other day. A novella, with themes that reminded me a bit of Octavia Butler’s xenogenesis trilogy. Totally enjoyed but wish it was longer!



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