I enjoy both academic and fiction books, and I like surfing my colleagues’ blogs. Some recommendations are given below.
I recommend Joan Martinez-Alier’s classic book ‘The Environmentalism of the Poor’, and José Manuel Naredo’s ‘Las raíces económicas del deterioro social y ecológico. Más allá de los dogmas’. John F. McCarthy’s ‘The Fourth Circle: A Political Ecology of Sumatra’s Rainforest Frontier’ is a great read for those interested in the political ecology of deforestation in Asia, and ‘Powers of Exclusion’ by Derek Hall and colleagues is also really inspiring. I recently read (again) David Mosse‘s ‘Cultivating Development’, and I really enjoyed it.
Matthew Paterson and Peter Newell’s ‘Climate Capitalism’ is a short and well structured piece on the current state of climate change science, politics and action from a critical perspective. If you followed the University of East Anglia’s climate-gate saga, you may be interested in Fred Pearce’s ‘The Climate Files – The Battle for The Truth About Global Warming’. It is a great chronology and an accurate narrative about what really happened during the hacking of UEA’s Climatic Research Unit emails. I also enjoyed reading Mike Hulme’s ‘Can Science Fix Climate Change’, which should be a must read for those interested in understanding why solar radiation engineering is not a good idea to address climate change.
Finally, I have been recently inspired by Michael Sandel’s ‘Justice: what’s the right thing to do?’, and by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s ‘The Slow Professor’. In this ongoing reading about slow (and feminist) academia, I have also found inspiring Stefan Collini’s ‘Speaking of universities’. The latter works have contributed to change some aspects of the way I approach my own academic practice and interact with others within the University. In this regard, I recently contributed to this debate in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic (see Academia in the time of Covid-19: Towards an ethics of care).
Some of my most recent and favourite fiction include: Haruki Murakami’s ‘Killing Commendatore’ (Vol.1&2), which together with ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’, have become my favourites of this author; Paolo Cognetti‘s ‘The Eight Mountains’, which made me inevitably think about my dad and our shared passion for the Pyrenees; Pierre Lamaitre’s ‘I’ll see you up there’; Arnaldur Indridason’s ‘Silence of the Grave’, a great thriller!; Gregory David Robert’s ‘Shantaram’, a biographic adventure in India; Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’; not to forget of course, ‘How to get filthy rich in Asia’, or ‘The reluctant fundamentalist’. Finally (in Spanish) the great conversation between the philospher José Luis Sampedro and the cardiologist Valentí Fuster in ‘La Ciencia y la Vida’, and cycling-culture books such as Wagentorp’s ‘Ventoux” or Tim Krabbé’s ‘The cyclist’.
I recommend the blogs of the following colleagues: Katrina Brown, on resilient development; Mike Hulme, on climate and society; Dan Brockington, Bram Büscher and Sian Sullivan, on capitalist conservation; Bill Adams and Chris Sandbrook‘s punchy thoughts over conservation, politics, development issues; Miquel Ortega, on environment, globalisation and climate change; Jesús Ramos Martín, on ecological economics; and Dan Smith, on international politics and development.