Reading Politics

The Battleground’s Fall Books List

Journalists don’t read books. Or if they do, very sparingly. Trained to follow the 24-hour news cycle, they focus on the daily flow of events, hour by hour, minute by minute. That’s the narrative we know.

Milano against Meloni. Pro-diversity billboard, Piazzale Loreto metro.

News has always been fast-paced. It didn’t take the Internet to make it seem exhausting. Keeping up with it via newspapers, television and radio in the decades before Twitter could be just as involved.

The difference between then and now is about the space journalists have between stories. We had more time to think about how we produced and sourced them and were less likely to rely on third-party reporting for information.

That isn’t necessarily bad. Journalists report breaking stories much faster and more efficiently these days and know how to economise their storytelling better. This can work particularly well for social media.

The problem is how it impacts our ability to write feature articles with more complex analyses and narratives that exceed 400 words. While such constraints force us to focus on facts, we can’t really do much else.

Working a 12-hour day managing a European news desk, I’d ask the journalists I worked with about what they were reading to test their reflexes in the event I had to give them a feature assignment or a report for a sponsor.

The answer was almost always journalism like theirs, covering the same issues for other local outlets or snarky Twitter accounts for a laugh. Once, a reporter said they were reading Martha Gellhorn’s The Face of War, but that was it.

I confess to being one of those journos. Though I grew up reading print newspapers and non-fiction books, the longer I work as an editor, the harder I find it to read anything of length without having to take a break.

That’s one of the reasons we do slow journalism at The Battleground and cover culture. Such writing demands more considered analysis and framing, the kind that’s shrunk from much of the news we read today.

That’s also why, though we don’t review as many books as we’d like, we find it important to recommend them, as opposed to just sharing links to other news media. Even an unexpected title can be enlightening, not to mention their content.

Hence, our third Fall books list. Consisting of new and recently released books from our favourite publishers, this season’s titles are a mix of politics, fiction and photo books, covering all of The Battleground’s bases.


Bodies Under Siege: How the Far–Right Attack on Reproductive Rights Went Global
By Sian Norris
Verso Books

Conservatism: Short Histories
By Mark Garnett
Agenda Publishing

Against Racial Capitalism
Selected Writings by Neville Alexander
Edited by Salim Vally and Enver Motala
Pluto Press

The Subversive Seventies
By Michael Hardt
Oxford University Press

Fassbinder: Thousands of Mirrors
By Ian Penman

The Middle East: A Political History from 395 to the Present
By Jean-Pierre Filiu
Translated by Andrew Brown
Polity Books

Subcontractors of Guilt: Holocaust Memory and Muslim Belonging in Postwar Germany
By Esra Ösyürek
Stanford University Press

The Great Psychic Outdoors: Lo-Fi Music and Escaping Capitalism
By Enrico Monacelli
Repeater Books

Sound System Culture: Jamaica & UK 1986–88
By Wayne Tippetts
Café Royal Books

Claude Cahun
Self-titled, FotoNote series
Contrasto Books

The Postcard
Anne Berest
Europa Editions

By Ebru Ojen
Translated by Aron Aji and Selin Gökçesu
City Lights Books

Photograph courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.