Inspired by @macrolit (<3 !!!). I’m a political theory and philosophy type, so a lot of my favorite books are really more… Dry social science? I’m gonna try and confine this to fiction and literary non-fiction/essay and less like… Super long form journalism, or idk early-European state formation à la Tilly (as much as I love it). Anyway, here goes.
A -l’Atlantida by Jacint Verdaguer.
This is Catalan epic poetry par excellence. Among other things, it chronicles the tales of Heracles in the Iberian peninsula and the sinking of Atlantis. Verdaguer was a significant figure for the Catalan literary movement known as the Renaixença, which revitalized Catalan as a language of literature, politics and philosophy. It’s an area of research for me, and Verdaguer is easily my favorite poet, so this holds some special charm. I… Don’t think it’s been translated to English? But you can probably find it in Spanish.
B - Books v. cigarettes by George Orwell.
My favorite of the Orwell essay collections published by Penguin. The titular essay is a great, but I also highly recommend “The Privation of Literature” and “How the Poor Die”. Everything in this is great (and still super relevant) commentary on class, intellectualism, and mass politics. “My Country Right or Left” is in here and should be on every high school social studies reading list every semester. (EVERY SEMESTER.)