Spoiler alert: I'm reading Grant McCracken's fantastic Culturematic, which looks at various ways in which the creators of fantasy football, Twitter, Burning Man, Reality TV, and a whole host of other creative "life applets" (my term; McCracken's is much better) that allow us all to explore the world and start conversations in new and fascinating ways.
I'm also reading Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul, by John M. Barry (watch Reason's interview with Barry below). Williams, the great religious dissenter who founded the first Baptist congregation in what became the U.S. - and created Providence, Rhode Island as a secular haven in a theocratic colonial landscape - has long been a hero of mine and Barry's book is a great and highly relevant read. Williams said no to power when doing so meant imprisonment and death and, even more amazingly, conceptualized a truly limited government that remains part and parcel of the American experiment.
I interrupted my reading of The Hunger Games trilogy to polish off the above. I started reading them after my kids got into them and seeing the movie. Critics bitch and moan about the sub-literary quality of the prose and some of the plot developments - fair-enough points that are simply irrelevant to the larger spirit of the books and the cultural phenomenom they have become. Certainly it's worth puzzling over a series of novels that topped the best-seller charts for a year or more in which an all-powerful and avaricious "central district" treats all other parts of its country as vassal states from which tribute (literal and figurative) is extracted. Sounds less like fiction and more like 2012 to me.
And what, gentle readers, are you reading this summer, which still has a month-plus to go? Lest ye forget, I am the co-author with goodman Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, just out in paperback and e-book formats with a new foreword.
Here's the interview with John M. Barry about his Roger Williams bio: