Here, in no particular order, are ten books that Prospect writers particularly admired this year.
1. In the summer Lisa Appignanesi singled out Yu Hua’s “riveting memoir, China in Ten Words (Duckworth Overlook, £16.99)” in which, she wrote, “the celebrated novelist and one-time smalltown dentist presents a wealth of darkly comic anecdotes about everyday life in China over the last 50 years. Each chapter is dedicated to a word, such as ‘people,’ ‘leader,’ ‘revolution’ and ‘bamboozle,’ and into each section he compresses personal and political history, as well as the momentous social change that has transformed his country.”
2. “The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt (Allen Lane, £20) is a truly seminal book,” wrote David Goodhart in April, “out of that remarkable Amerian popular-science-meets-political-speculation stable. Like Steven Pinker, Haidt is a liberal who wants his political tribe to understand humans better. His main insight is simple but powerful: liberals understand only two main moral dimensions, whereas conservatives understand all five.”