Kenneth Goldsmith's Duchamp Is My Lawyer, a tale of the creation and upkeep of the anti-internet internet, UbuWeb, is highly engaging and avoids the risk of ploughing down theoretical wormholes of limited interest.
Harry Harootunian's essays on modern Japanese history, collected in Uneven Moments from Columbia University Press, reflect a lifetime of intellectual contributions and span a wide range of topics in Japanese history. The tension between the historical and the everyday is a recurrent and vital theme in his work.
Literary scholar John Nathan's biography of Natsume Sōseki puts his great accomplishments -- and many shortcomings -- in superb literary and historical context.
In Novel Sounds, scholar Florence Dore is interested in how a mass cultural phenomenon like rock 'n' roll can help illuminate realities about institutionalized high culture.