Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I am an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. I only write non-fiction, but I'm constantly reading fiction to enjoy a good story as well as develop my ear for high-quality writing. I mainly read non-fiction books to think about big ideas, although I have a strong preference for books that draw me through an argument with striking images, curious stories, and convincing information.Read more about The Shadows of Consumption, and visit Peter Dauvergne's faculty webpage.
I especially enjoy reading classics by writers who I feel can help me to improve my own writing. A few days ago I finished Ernest Hemingway's novel, To Have and Have Not. I finished this short book, but I was not able to relate to the rough language, wooden characters, or disjointed narrative: I would not recommend it. (The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls are much better.) I'm now near the end of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, a light novel with lively characters and humorous stories. (Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath are both more hard-hitting.) In the next day or so, I'll begin George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Unlike with fiction, I tend to read two or three non-fiction books simultaneously. I'm now reading Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion and James Gustave Speth's The Bridge at the Edge of the World. I will soon start Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded as well as the book Beef, a history of how the cattle industry has changed the world by Andrew Rimas and Evan Fraser.