"He has written what is by far and away the most powerful, learned and persuasive anti-EU treatise I have come across. It proves that it is impossible to be a democrat and support the continued existence of the European Union."
On the Nature of Things
Lucretius, translated by Rolfe Humphries, IUP
A deft, lucid translation of the likable epic poem of the ancient world. Forget the sanguinary Homer or the tub-thumping Virgil. On the Nature of Things is an exhilarating account of how science can lift mankind out of superstition and fear.
The Patrick Melrose novels
Edward St Aubyn, Picador
This five-volume roman-fleuve is something to return to in old age, when there won’t be time for reading anything but perfect tens. I’ve heard it said that the dialogue is a bit stagey, but personally I prefer my fictional characters eloquent and epigrammatic. I really can’t stand too much reality.
A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome: Daily Life, Mysteries and Curiosities
Alberto Angela, translated by Gregory Conti, Europa Editions
How many times have you read a book of history only to forget all about the battles and struggles for succession the moment you put it down, retaining only a handful of piquant minor details? Perhaps you’ll recall the short lifespans; the alien diet (garum sauce anyone? It’s made from rotting fish); the massacres in the Coliseum; the daily struggles of the slaves. Well, this book is nothing but those fascinating nuggets. Not a people’s history, but a history that brings ordinary people to life, A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome is a tour of the city during Trajan’s reign, a series of vignettes that recreates the ancient world with all the immediacy of an excellent travelogue.
Socialist Register – 50th anniversary issue
The legendary journal founded by John Saville and Ralph Miliband in 1963 has been the home for many debates on the left over the years, including E.P. Thompson’s controversial rejoinder to the Nairn-Anderson theses. It’s latest issue is one of the strongest yet, with essays by Vivek Chibber and Colin Leys on the dynamic of class in the aftermath of the financial crisis.