Books of the year 2011: Alain de Botton

Open City - Teju Cole


Teju Cole's Open City (Faber & Faber, £12.99) was my favourite novel of the year, dreamlike and meandering, like the best of W G Sebald.

John Gray's The Immortalization Commission (Allen Lane, £18.99) was a characteristically fascinating account of secular society's secret longing for the benefits of a religious world-view.

Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (Bantam Press, £20) grappled skilfully with that most thorny of issues: how a moral framework could be erected without recourse to religious doctrine. And I felt deeply stimulated and enriched by Sylvia Nasar's superlative survey of economic history, Grand Pursuit (Fourth Estate, £25), which tells you why economics arose as a discipline and why it still can't solve most of the conundrums to which we seek answers.

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