Following Stuart Elden’s lead on Progressive Geographies I thought it would be fun to engage in listing my own top ten books that have stayed with me.

The point with this exercise is not to spend too much time constructing the list, nor to give it too much thought. So a quick fire round has produced the following ten books that have stayed with me and that I regularly dip into and re-read.

A few lines of expansion here and there also helps explain the choices. As you will see, there is plenty of political economy but there are not nearly enough novels present to reflect my spread of reading.

Too capitalocentric? Quite possibly. So perhaps J.K. Gibson-Graham’s The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It) contributes to the list with an honourable mention.

  1. Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere [Prison Notebooks] – no surprises there then!
  2. Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1 – or there!
  3. Nicos Poulantzas, State, Power, Socialism – offers a much-overlooked critique of Michel Foucault on the phagocytic essence of poststructuralism.
  4. Bob Jessop, State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in its Place.
  5. David Harvey, The Limits to Capital – these two go together like bacon and eggs: Jessop on state theory and Harvey on the geographical expansion of surplus value extraction.
  6. Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man – the production of needs and aspirations as part of democratic unfreedom in capitalist society. Anyone still for X Factor?
  7. Nora Hamilton, The Limits of State Autonomy: Post-Revolutionary Mexico – the best political economy analysis of twentieth century Mexico by a scholar I would still very much like to meet!
  8. Cormac McCarthy, The Border Trilogy – 1) All the Pretty Horses, 2) The Crossing, 3) Cities of the Plain – a cheat’s choice of three books, originally recommended to me by Alf Nilsen, but a choice also dedicated to the recent passing of my father, whose last read was All the Pretty Horses. Death pervades these novels as well as musings on territory, place and space in crossing the borders of Mexico and the United States. Check out the 2014 Sydney conference.
  9. Victor Serge, Conquered City – a masterwork on the conquest of space in the frontline city of Red Petrograd.
  10. Carlos Fuentes, La región más transparente [Where the Air is Clear] – a portrayal and critique of the nuevos ricos in Mexico City in the 1950s with Nonoalco Bridge remaining as an enduring feature in the City of Palaces.
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