In The Six-Point Inspection, Zócalo takes a quick look at new books that are changing the way we see our world.
The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years by Griel Marcus
The nutshell: Music and cultural critic Greil Marcus dissects The Doors’ oeuvre, song by song (and sometimes note by note), in a personal listening tour as he strives to understand how and why a band that burned bright for a brief moment has endured.
Literary lovechild of: Almost Famous and Helter Skelter.
You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You’ve got at least two of their albums on vinyl.
Cocktail party fodder: Jim Morrison was fat-and not all that cool (until he took LSD, anyway).
For optimal benefit: Read with the music blaring, then watch the Oliver Stone biopic.
Snap judgment: A strong, loving, sometimes painstaking argument for why The Doors-and the 1960s and ’70s-matter.
Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics by Nicholas Wapshott
The nutshell: Journalist Nicholas Wapshott’s dual biography traces the lives, work, and legacies of two competing giants of modern economics, beginning with the end of World War I, which shaped their theories, and ending with the policies of our current recession.
Literary lovechild of: When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and The Wealth of Nations.
You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You breezed through macroeconomics in college.
Cocktail party fodder: The young Hayek idolized Keynes for condemning the Versailles treaty.
For optimal benefit: Keep on hand throughout the 2012 debate season.
Snap judgment: A vivid and mostly un-wonky account of a battle that’s shaped our economic present and future.
Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo by Rhacel Parrenas
The nutshell: USC sociologist Rhacel Salazar Parreñas went undercover to work alongside Filipina hostesses-supposedly the largest group of sex-trafficked women in the world-at a yakuza-operated club in Tokyo’s red-light district, where she discovered a more complicated reality.
Literary lovechild of: Barbara Ehrenreich and Naomi Wolf.
You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You’ve watched Lost in Translation, read all of Haruki Murakami, and majored in sociology.
Cocktail party fodder: Hostess bars in Japan are not hotbeds of prostitution.
For optimal benefit: Use this as ammo to play the devil’s advocate in a sex trafficking debate.
Snap judgment: A compassionate and well-researched study that draws on investigative reporting and interviews to inspire indignation for reasons you didn’t expect.