Tireless commenter Joe sends in a suggestion:
"Why don't you post a thread asking everyone to say what they're reading right now?
"Lotta smarties among the regulars, it could give everyone some good leads."
My problem with giving out your reading list is that there always seems to be something vain in the gesture. I never believe the person is actually reading the books on the list, but that he or she thought it up in order to look smart or cool or well-rounded or interesting. But maybe it could be an entertaining exercise. For the zero or fewer people who care, my toilet tank is currently sagging under the combined weight of:
How the Dismal Science Got Its Name by David Levy. As the author is a pretty unfocused writer who never met a point he couldn't bury five fathoms deep, I can't really recommend this one, but the central idea—that much early anti-capitalism was driven by a pro-slavery fondness for hierarchy, and that many elements of it still exist today—is fascinating.
The Anti Federalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788 by Jackson Turner Main. Also not the most exciting book I've ever encountered, and I'm disappointed that New Jersey didn't produce any notable anti-constitutionalists.
Mr. S : My Life with Frank Sinatra by George Jacobs. Highly recommended not only for its closeup view of the Swan of Hoboken but for tidbits about other luminaries: Jacobs, one of those normal guys who's so straight that homos are constantly trying to pick him up, lets on that Noel Coward once gave him the tickling-the-palm secret handshake those people use as a signal to each other.
After putting it aside for a long time, I'm sporadically reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. It seems interesting, but it's part of a trilogy, so I'm screwed: Some guy lent it to me with high recommendations, so I either tell him I didn't like it and risk offending him or tell him I liked it and risk having him lend me the other two.
And I just finished:
Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working by Jonathan Rauch. Highly recommended, a public-choice analysis of why it will always be impossible to cut the size of government in any meaningful way. Buy it for someone you love.
Burn, witch, burn! by Abraham Merritt. Highly recommended, especially if you can get the 1942 Avon Murder mystery monthly edition. (If you hate murder mysteries as much as I do, fear not: It's about a doctor and mafioso battling evil dolls.)
As a habitual non-finisher of books, I make no guarantees about the relevance or reliability of my list. Your turn: