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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants - Wolfgang Schivelbusch, David Jacobson A history of stimulants and intoxicants in Europe and America over the last two thousand years, with especial focus to the impacts of colonialism and the industrial revolution. Full of fascinating details (see my status updates for specifics). There is a great deal of sociological and psychological analysis for such a short book, and some of his conclusions seem more reasonable than others. (For instance, it seems probable that coffee was embraced by the middle class and chocolate by the upper class because each class treasures different values. But that drinking alcohol is considered more spiritual than eating, and this is somehow linked to the soul residing in blood, I just don't get.) My real criticism of this book, however, is that it features a large proportion of grey blobs which are purported to be reproductions of portraits, political cartoons, etc. Either put some money into your picture budget, or leave them out entirely; as it stands, the included reproductions are so smudgy that they were basically useless.