I've just finished a few important books. One is Ha-Joon Chang's Bad Samaritans, a penetrating and expert study showing how and why standard doctrines concerning economic development are dramatically refuted by the historical record and have caused severe harm when applied. Another is Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood. The "flood" is Lavalas, the popular movement in Haiti that won the first democratic election in this tragic country, a victim of French and US torture, and the savagery of a small elite, since it became the first free country of free men in the hemisphere. Hallward's deeply informed account of what he sees as "neo-imperial sabotage" by the traditional torturers explores the background of the coup of 2004 and the persistence of "the flood" in a country that is a microcosm of imperial savagery and heroic resistance, however one interprets recent events.
My wife and I used to be movie addicts, but are now pretty much reduced to what the grandchildren want to see. All-time favorite? The one movie I sat through twice was Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, so maybe that qualifies.
... listening to?
If some ancient equipment could be rehabilitated, I'd take out some wonderful old records of Axel Schiøtz singing Schubert Lieder and Pablo Casals playing Bach solo cello suites, reviving memories of more light-hearted days when my wife and I backpacked through Europe to the Prades festival, 55 years ago.
• Noam Chomsky is a professor of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at M.I.T. His new book, "Interventions," a collection of New York Times syndicated essays, is published by City Lights (www.citylights.com).