It's been a fantastic years for books. And there is one more week.
I just finished Witold Rybczynski's Last Harvest: How a Cornfield Became New Daleville: Real Estate Development in America from George Washington to the Builders of the Twenty-first Century and Why We Live in Houses Anyway. If there is an index that ranks how much useful information and reflection can be contained in 281 readable pages, then this one would be near the top. Anyone wanting to learn about development, modern cities and modern American life will enjoy this one. It belongs on many syllabi.
On a related theme, The Economist's splendid year-end edition includes "Birth, death and shopping: The rise and fall of the shopping mall."