Trying something new. Heavens. Nixonland, Rick Perlstein. The first thing that struck me about this book is that I didn't realise just how bad things were in the 1960s. Protests, yes. Unrest, sure. But report after report of rioting, snipers, police brutality, lynchings, and the rest, all ripped from newspapers and TV coverage of the era really do make you feel that America was almost in the grip of a second civil war. The second thing is the familiarity of the 'dirty tricks' that Nixon used. You can see them every day on Fox News. The pushing against 'liberal elites', cowing the media, dog-whistles, and out-and-out lying are all prime Nixon strategies (a young Karl Rove cut his teeth in the 1972 election). And finally, so many names that strike a chord. Romney Sr., Daley Sr., Al Gore Sr., etc. There is a huge streak of dynasty in American politics that I didn't fully comprehend. As you can imagine, a somewhat depressing read. Fear & Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72, Hunter S. Thompson Part of my US election ritual. Every four years, I re-read this book (admittedly, I only started this ritual in 2000, so it's only the third time I've done this). It's a wonderful political journal that throws out objectivity in its first few pages; every chapter is brimming with hate towards Nixon, but yet even more vicious invective is reserved for the Democratic machine desperately trying to stop McGovern from getting the nomination. Thankfully, it's also hilarious, right up until the last few months where it's apparent that Nixon is going to win, and win big. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite, Gerard Way & Gabriel Bá Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol crossed with The Royal Tenenbaumns and written by the singer of My Chemical Romance? Yes please! It perhaps started out a little more promisingly than it finished, but then the first part had the Umbrella Academy facing off against Zombie Gustav Eiffel, and it's difficult to top that. Fashioning Technology, Syuzi Pakhchyan I'm in another of my crafty moods. Should I make a magnetic wallet that glows in the dark and blinks when it encounters a mobile phone signal? I really don't have too much time on my hands, honest. I'm working on a few projects for my return to November, and this book is just what I needed - how to sew electronic circuits! The Predator State, James K. Galbraith The free market has failed. Conservatives realised this many years ago, and it's time that the Left did the same, according to Galbraith. He berates the current orthodoxy for balanced budgets and applying free-market economics to places where it cannot, and will not work, taking a side jaunt at the beginning to explain the death of monetarism, supply-side economics, and how the Reagan boom was caused as much by Keynesian principles as much as anything else (I've heard a similar argument about us during the same time, but haven't had the chance to explore that just yet). Just what you need on a Friday night, obviously. Whether any of it is applicable to Britain, I don't know; a lot of his argument rests on the idea that America occupies a special position in the economic world which we don't. Somehow, I don't think he's a fan of Obama's fiscal policy... This month looks like finishing up my trip around B. S. Johnson's works and making a start on the architecture/urban planning books I've been stockpiling. No, I don't know, either. Either a career in public policy beckons, or I've gone mad. So, it's the latter.