Judy Dempsey has asked leading experts to share their literary preferences with Strategic Europe’s readers by providing their suggested reads for the summer.

Jacqueline Halesenior policy analyst at the Open Society Institute - Brussels

Foreign Policy

I'm reading David Keen "Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them". A great book about why wars last so long, and the political, economic, and psychological reasons that make warring parties more interested in fighting than brokering a peace.

Other Non-fiction

I'm reading Nicholas Carr "The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember". This is a book for convinced luddites who have an occasional interest in pop-neuroscience. I love it! Its central thesis is that the internet is remoulding our brains and making us unable to sit still long enough to think about complex ideas. Quite a scary take on evolutionary ‘progress’ and appropriate for a holiday without the joy of twitter and emails!

Fiction

Jack Kerouac "On the Road". I always meant to read it and am reading it now for inspiration as I’m going on a long trip! Some great purple prose, you can almost smell the desert highways and taste the dust in the Midwest air.

Guilty Pleasure

Mark Forsyth "Etymologicon". A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language. Hilarious and irreverent. It is about the origins of words and highlights the connections between California and the Caliphate, and between Bread and Sex.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

George Orwell "Down and Out in Paris and London". One of my favourites. Orwell has so much to say that is appropriate to our age. It’s an insight into poverty (and dignity) and how poor people are agents rather than recipients of hand-outs. A strangely uplifting book about a depressing subject.

Daniel Keohanehead of strategic affairs at FRIDE, Brussels

Foreign Policy

I'm reading Robert D. Kaplan "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power", a compelling history of the Indian Ocean explaining why this area may determine the future of the world.

Other Non-fiction

I'm reading Tom Holland "In the Shadow of the Sword". Following his sweeping histories of the Roman and Persian empires (Rubicon and Persian Fire), Tom Holland turns his attention to the Islamic origins and rise of the Arab empire from the seventh century onwards.

Fiction

"A Place of Greater Safety" by Hilary Mantel, an historical novel exploring the relationship between Danton, Desmoulins and Robespierre—a must for anyone interested in the personalities and complexities of the French Revolution.

Guilty Pleasure

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, "This Champagne Mojito is the Last Thing I Own", a well-known cult fictional character in Ireland who epitomises the stereotype of a well-off South Dublin rugby fan, truly hilarious depiction of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

"L'Étranger" by Albert Camus.

Jonas Parello-Plesnersenior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations

Foreign Policy

Well, foreign policy in Europe has sadly been reduced to economics during the eurocrisis so some of the reading will be "Le réveil des démons: La crise de l'euro et comment nous en sortir" by Jean Pisani-Ferry and "Europa braucht den Euro nicht: Wie uns politisches Wunschdenken in die Krise geführt hat" by Thilo Sarrazin.

Other Non-fiction

I’m reading Rebecca MacKinnon’s book "Consent of the networked", a strong and well-argued plea for internet freedom not just in authoritarian states but also in Western liberal democracies where new versions of censorship and curtailment of free speech are popping up. I picked it mainly for Rebecca’s insight on China—a shared interest but the broader arguments are very compelling as well making one think about every thing from one’s internet provider to the choice between Facebook and Google plus when it comes to privacy settings (I have gone for the latter).

On my kindle, I have also just bought , Parag and Ayesha Khanna’s new e-book "Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization" that I look forward to reading over the summer.

Fiction

Haruki Murakami is a favorite and, unfortunately, I have just finished his latest, the "1Q84" trilogy . It was a wonderful and compelling universe that I would have wanted to have stayed longer in.

Right now, I’m reading Christian Jungersen "Du forsvinder". A great Danish writer whose previous book, "The Exception" got critical acclaim including in the New York Times and got translated into many languages. I hope the new one will as well. It is the story about a man that suffers from a brain tumor, which completely changes his personality and is a terrifying narrative about what—if anything—actually constitutes our unique identity and if there is anything innate in us beyond our brain and neurophysiology.

Guilty Pleasure

"Donald Duck" with my son.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

Munro Leaf "The Story of Ferdinand"—the bull that didn’t want to fight.

Jan Techaudirector of Carnegie Europe

Foreign Policy

"The New North" by Laurence Smith. The climate shifts, and so do global growth and power. The north, once more, looks like the winner. Written by a geographer, so it’s solid analysis, not the usual punditry.

Other Non-fiction

"Geschichte des Westens" by Heinrich August Winkler. Opus magnum on the history of the West by Germany’s pre-eminent historian. History as great story-telling.

Fiction

"The Maigret novels" by George Simenon. The setting is from an era just recently gone by, but how Simenon dissects human aspiration, folly, and failure, is for eternity. And they are all very short, too…

Guilty Pleasure

"Jeeves and Wooster" by P.G. Wodehouse. What, ho – great, wonderful, heartening stuff. To be read anywhere, all the time.

A Classic, or Book You Always Return to

"Winesburg, Ohio" by Sherwood Anderson. For me this has all the magic of American fiction. Behind the pastoral quaintness lies human longing—and the nervous restlessness of a country on the verge of modernity. Beats most of Hemingway hands down.