Abel searched the text of western novels for the word “injun,” then composed the poems in this book out of the surrounding words, sometimes cutting them up and rearranging them in deliberate ways, sometimes reconstituting them randomly. The result is a profound reclamation.
On the brink of civil war, people still go to work, take classes, and fall in love. Mohsin Hamid lights this quietly noble flame of an idea on his book’s opening page, and keeps it burning throughout. A novel for these times that is also timeless because of its quiet nobility. Really beautiful.
No Is Not Enough
Naomi Klein once again writes the precise book the world needs at the precise moment. Here, she traces the rise of Trump in trends that have been growing for years: Superbrands, rising inequality, neoliberalism, globalization, fear of immigration, and climate change denial. Trump, she argues, represents the convergence of these trends. Resist, yes, but also repair the effed-up system that brought this orange atrocity to power.
A young black woman sat reading this book at a Trump rally last year, and I think about her every time I see it. Citizen accumulates the always-everywhere occurrences that constantly, solidly, seemingly unrepentantly reinforce racism in our culture. Reading it is a profound experience.
The Handmaid's Tale
I just finished watching the brilliant TV adaptation, which reminded me of another aspect of Atwood’s genius: how she involves every character, including secondary characters, in the propulsion of the plot. Moira, Janine, Aunt Lydia, Serena – they’re all fully formed, and play crucial roles. Everything about this book is alive and kicking.
Exquisite stories from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer about people caught between their adopted home and their homeland.
A pocket-sized primer we should all be carrying everywhere. In twenty succinct points, historian Timothy Snyder will get your head screwed on straight about what democracy is for: avoiding tyranny. Yasss.
The Origins of Totalitarianism
The great Hannah Arendt published this book on the rise of the troubling tendencies that fueled Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in 1951, and yet here we are, dealing with frighteningly similar tendencies. Back to the origins we go. Let’s make Arendt’s lessons stick this time, shall we?
Dystopian fiction, when done well, can make us nostalgic for what we have but are in danger of losing. This knock-out début does exactly this in a gripping story I dearly hope isn’t prophetic. It tells of the ruin wrought by a second American Civil War.
Tell Me How It Ends
Valeria Luiselli is a gifted novelist who works as a translator at the immigration courts in NYC, where she helps undocumented children answer the questions that will determine their fate. This book tells these children’s stories, and in so doing, offers a startling portrait of how a superpower treats the most vulnerable people within its borders. Brace yourself.