Reading list

The Year in 10 Books

Deepen your understanding of major political events from this year—and the underlying systems that produced them.

13 December 2023

The Year in 10 Books

See all our publishing highlights from 2023 hereGet up to 50% off all these books in our End of Year Sale.

[book-strip index="1" style="buy"]

The events of the past few months have shown how vital it is that we understand, fully, Israel's military agenda. Anthony Loewenstein's study exposes how it uses the occupied, Palestinian territories as a testing ground for weaponry and surveillance technology. As ethno-nationalism grows in the 21st century, and Israel exports its brutal tools of oppression around the world, our need to understand these architectures of control grows.

Shortlisted for the 2023 Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing and the 2023 Walkley non fiction journalism prize.

[book-strip index="2" style="buy"]

The pandemic highlighted, more than ever before, how much we rely on Big Pharma. But how can we access new medicines in a fair and equitable way when the industry is more interested in profit than health?

In Pharmanomics, investigative journalist Nick Dearden digs down into the way we produce our medicines and finds that Big Pharma is failing us, with catastrophic consequences.

[book-strip index="3" style="buy"]

In recent years we have seen aggressive criminalisation of abortion, with bans across the US and high-profile prosecutions in the UK.

Think today's anti-abortion ideas are rooted in religious prohibitions or arguments about where life begins? Wrong: today's anti-abortion movements is largely financed and planned by far-right extremists. In Bodies Against Siege, Sian Norris outlines how far-right extremists across Europe use attacks on abortion to introduce broader fascist politicsand their connections to the American far right.

[book-strip index="4" style="buy"]

Does it ever feel like you have no free time? You come home after work and instead of finding a space of rest and relaxation, you're confronted by a pile of new tasks to complete – cooking, cleaning, looking after the kids, and so on.

In this ground-breaking book, Helen Hester and Nick Srnicek lay out how unpaid work in our homes has come to take up an ever-increasing portion of our lives—how the vacuum of free time has been taken up by vacuuming. A vital and timely manifesto for a feminist post-work politics.

[book-strip index="7" style="buy"]

Today, liberal antiracism has proven powerless against structural oppression. White liberals can heroically confront their own whiteness all they want, yet these structures remain. 

Drawing on long traditions of anticolonial, anti-imperialist, and Marxist movements, Arun Kundnani demonstrates how racism and capitalism are part of the same system. As neoliberalism reordered the world in the last decades of the twentieth century, the case became clear: fighting racism means striking at its capitalist roots.

[book-strip index="5" style="buy"]

Fifty years ago the UK led the world in child health; today, twenty-two of the twenty-seven EU countries have better mortality rates for newborns. No other European country has such miserly unemployment benefits; university fees so high; housing so unaffordable; or a government economically so far to the right. Before COVID, life expectancy had dropped as a result of poverty for the first time since the 1930s. The UK is failing, and failing fast. 

In Shattered Nation, Danny Dorling examines this rapid 'Americanisation' of the British economy, offering powerful insights into how we got here and what we must do in order to save Britain from becoming a failed state.

[book-strip index="6" style="buy"]

Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms are hard to leave by design. They hold hostage the people we love, the communities that matter to us, the audiences and customers we rely on. The impossibility of staying connected to these people after you delete your account has nothing to do with technological limitations: it's a business strategy in service to commodifying your personal life and relationships.

Where do we go from here? We can—we must—dismantle the tech platforms.  The Internet Con is the disassembly manual we need to take back our internet. 

[book-strip index="8" style="buy"]

Banks have taken a backseat since the global financial crisis over a decade ago. Today, our new financial masters are asset managers, and they don't just own financial assets.

The roads we drive on; the pipes that supply our drinking water; the farmland that provides our food; energy systems for electricity and heat; hospitals, schools, and even the homes in which many of us live-all now swell asset managers' bulging investment portfolios.

If big banks were the villains of the 2008 financial crisis, asset managers may well be at the heart of the next global economic trauma. This must-read book lays out the reality of our economic future.

[book-strip index="9" style="buy"]

Wherever you look, money is being re- placed by tokens. Digital platforms are issuing new kinds of money-like things: phone credit, shares, gift vouchers, game tokens, customer data—the list goes on. What new types of control and discrimination emerge when money is tied to specific apps or actions, politics or identities?

An essential read for anyone concerned with digital money, inequality, and the future of the economy.

Long-listed for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year.

[book-strip index="10" style="buy"]

We end our Year in 10 Books round-up with a powerful work of fiction. Heralded as a new masterpiece and the most important Brazilian novel of this century, Crooked Plow exposes Brazil's painful colonial history in a fascinating and gripping story about the lives of subsistence farmers in the Brazil's poorest region. 

Selected as one of the Financial Times Best Books of the Year 2023, "[Brazil's] deep-rooted racial and economic injustices are laid bare in one of the most celebrated Brazilian debut novels of recent times". It's author, Itamar Vieira Junior, is described by the New York Times as "A leading voice among the Black authors who have jolted Brazil’s literary establishment in recent years with imaginative and searing works that have found commercial success and critical acclaim".

Do not miss out on this incredibly moving novel, covering themes of family, spirituality, slavery and its aftermath and political struggle.

--------

See all our publishing highlights from 2023 hereGet up to 50% off all these books in our End of Year Sale. Browse all our reading lists here.

The Palestine Laboratory
WINNER OF THE 2023 WALKLEY NON-FICTION JOURNALISM PRIZEShortlisted for the 2023 Moore Prize for Human Rights WritingA BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Republic, WiredIsrael's military industrial com...
Pharmanomics
In Pharmanomics, investigative journalist Nick Dearden digs down into the way we produce our medicines and finds that Big Pharma is failing us, with catastrophic consequences.Big Pharma is more int...
Bodies Under Siege
Think today's anti-abortion ideas are rooted in religious prohibitions or arguments about where life begins? Wrong: today's anti-abortion movements is largely financed and planned by far-right extr...
After Work
Does it ever feel like you have no free time? You come home after work and instead of finding a space of rest and relaxation, you're confronted by a pile of new tasks to complete – cooking, cleanin...
Shattered Nation
Britain was once the leading economy in Europe; it is now the most unequal. In Shattered Nation, leading geographer and author of Inequality and the 1% shows that we are growing further and further...
The Internet Con
When the tech platforms promised a future of "connection," they were lying. They said their "walled gardens" would keep us safe, but those were prison walls.The platforms locked us into their syste...
What Is Antiracism?
Liberals have been arguing for nearly a century that racism is fundamentally an individual problem of extremist beliefs. Responding to Nazism, thinkers like gay rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld and...
Our Lives in Their Portfolios
Banks have taken a backseat since the global financial crisis over a decade ago. Today, our new financial masters are asset managers, like Blackstone and BlackRock. And they don't just own financia...
Tokens
Longlisted for the FT Schroders Business Book of the Year Award 2023 - A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: GQ, Los Angeles Times, WiredWherever you look, money is being re- placed by tokens. Digital platforms...
Crooked Plow

Crooked Plow

'I heard our grandmother asking what we were doing.'"Say something!" she demanded, threatening to tear out our tongues. Little did she know that one of us was holding her tongue in her hand.'Deep ...

Filed under: versoreadinglists