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The 10 Best Books for Your Summer Reading List

Or maybe we’re just drawn to tales of corruption, greed, intoxication, deception, disaster, delusion, and war.

Hollywood Ending: Harvey Weinstein and the Culture of Silence
By Ken Auletta (Penguin Press)
Well before Harvey Weinstein was indicted for rape, forced oral copulation, and other charges in April 2021, his violent, bullying behavior was an open secret in Hollywood. Yet it took the watershed #MeToo movement, along with investigations by the New Yorker and New York Times, to take him down. In Auletta’s excellent biography, the notions that Weinstein was both a known rapist and a champion of incredible cinema are not in conflict. Miramax, the company he founded with his brother Bob, distributed The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, and Chicago, among other critically acclaimed films; through them, Weinstein made himself too important to topple. The world turned a blind eye, Auletta explains, in large part because of the perception that Weinstein’s contributions to the industry outweighed his transgressions. July 12

Can Legal Weed Win? The Blunt Realities of Cannabis Economics
By Robin Goldstein and Daniel Sumner (University of California Press)
Marijuana’s legalization in the US set off a gold rush predicated on the notion that a lawful market could reach $100 billion in less than a decade. Lawmakers trumpeted the move from a social justice standpoint—for decades, Black people have been incarcerated for possessing small amounts of pot at disproportionately higher rates than Whites—as well as an economic one: Taxes, they argued, would help fund schools and infrastructure. Several years in, revenue hasn’t come close to projections. Why? Economists Goldstein and Sumner argue that government bureaucracy has made legal pot expensive to grow and sell, incentivizing illegal operations instead. Legal weed, their punny, breezy book shows, can only win once “legal” isn’t an anticompetitive word. June 14