First-hand accounts are absolutely necessary when approaching human issues. Numbers and sound bites can't convey the same nuance, or induce the same empathy. The mix presented here of refugees alongside "big-picture" political professionals allows us to have an intimate look at something which is all too easy to misunderstand when presented in the brief articles which normally make up our exposure to it.
SHELLEY Jackson, not Shirley. These stories, all based on bodily parts/functions/failures, have engaging prose that's able to summon genuine emotion, and are also just the weirdest and funniest dang things I've read in ages. What do you do when the egg from your period keeps growing? My top story: the medieval guide to everyone's favorite, uh, I guess the term is "marital aid." An author having a great, surefooted ol' time!
No witness to his rise denies it: he worked obsessively hard on music (even when it wasn't close to profitable), battled his personal demons and won, and now he's a healthy, sober millionaire who clearly loves and respects his wife. I'm not normally one for self-help books, and especially not celebrity advice, but I believe Gucci, and absorbing these words from a trustworthy source made me feel empowered and alive.
Baker is an incredibly good writer, which makes it easy to digest the dark points brought up in this book, which is centered around his research into the USA's interest in (and possible deployment of) biological weaponry during the Cold War. It doubles as an indictment of the government's disdain for the Freedom of Information Act. If you didn't yet realize that our security apparatuses are evil, then ooooh boooy..........
Diogenes rules! The ancient philosophy of Cynicism (as opposed to the modern definition) rejected those superfluous concerns of the world which people now increasingly realize have been integral to the downfall of nature and our collective sanity. This book often presents Cynicism as possessing a zen-like ineffability, but it still may help you articulate why what seems sane to many is truly insane, and vice versa.
Don't let the cover fool you: this isn't arguing that Western society is awesome. It's more a breakdown of how historical factors made the Western psyche so freakishly aberrant that it developed into the chimera we see around and within us. A compelling book which makes plain that we are not experiencing consensus reality and "logical" views, but a cultural, anthropological mode by which we organize the world.
Thrilled to see a reissue of this book! Told entirely (or nearly) in dialogue, this is an overlooked classic of American satire which captures our post-Horatio Alger spirit of economic fervor through the entrepreneurial instincts of a precocious kid. The adults around him are represented in an equally wryly funny—but poignant—fashion. See if you can spot which '90s author stole their entire model for dialogue rhythm from Gaddis.
It's no surprise that we hadn't heard of Prigov until this moment, given how unabashedly Russian he was and how America long regarded that state of being. Now we have the pleasure of gazing through this window into the vastness of Soviet life. The universal beauty of washing dishes, looking back at the waning of youthful vigor. No need for me to gussy it up: the writing is great.
I wish I had a cool niece to give this to! An amazing book that runs the gamut of all kinds of people and skate styles. This operates as a technical manual for skating, a baseball-card-like guide to heroes and promising amateurs in the sport, and a discussion of gender in a community that has long been bro-centric. It's the perfect gift for that rad, kinetic person you know.
The Kids Write Jokes Twitter is one of the four or five things that can make me smile right now, and I was over the moon when I heard they have a book. These kids are geniuses—we grown folk are NOT the masters of comedy. What did the big baby say to the little baby? "Where is the medium baby?" Why are snakes long? Because they are old. Often gut-bustingly funny.
(Since this is a hot-button issue, let me say that true anarchism is not about lawlessness, it's an alternate system of democracy.) This book's full of dense theory, but if you can handle that then it's an informative read, tackling a question currently on the minds of many: is anarcho-syndicalism possible in the real world? As Amborn skillfully proves, the answer is yes because it has existed in the world for a long time.
People are showing an increased interest these days in alternate forms of communal living. Well, why not turn to the fruits of one of the foremost 20th century experiments in it? Black Mountain was a project of shared responsibility as a way of unleashing shared creativity, and this book contains many of the fantastic works that came out of it.
I love Sun Ra more than words can say. A hero of art and philosophy, an iconic visionary who made so many excursions into the farthest realms of music that it seems beyond human—and escaping humanness was, for him, the whole point. This book is the best resource on the whole of Ra's life, and is a testament to what is possible when someone truly, deeply believes in art and a more beautiful future.
Love it or hate it, Zhang is doing something interesting here. She takes chances, uses common parlance (even internet-style) in a way that seems honest and not an ironic affectation, and these poems are so charged with anger and neuroses and pseudo-incestuousness that they're hard to put down. These pieces aren't melodious odes to cranes, and I'm glad.
A meticulous book—maybe essential reading. This affects us all, and we have a chance to change it. It's increasingly the norm in tech and government for our digital lives to be tracked incessantly, and for the information mined from us to be used to manipulate our political, personal, and financial choices. Zuboff can help show the nature of the beast, and then it's up to us to fight for an age of ethical interconnection.
I read this when it was out of print and loved it so much that I wanted to adapt it into a movie. "You snooze, you lose" is true, as you can see. Still, this is a great book. The experiment has some questionable attributes (it was still the Wild West of psychology), but witnessing the nuances in the symptoms of these three Jesuses is fascinating and humanistic. Very readable and rewarding.
A few years after reading it, Ken Liu's last collection of Chinese SF in translation, Invisible Planets, stands out to me as having been the most interesting sci-fi anthology I've read in a long time (maybe ever), and Broken Stars is just as strong. The stories here have a big range, and are often welcome departures from tired genre tropes. If you like your outer space tinted with beauty and sadness, give this a shot.
Bookchin—an anarchist activist/theorist from Vermont—is the spiritual godfather of the North Syrian Kurdish autonomy movement, and was ahead of the curve on ecologically sound political models. This is a good primer for his work, and it forces you to take a hard look at whether you really care about changing anything or if you're just wearing a revolutionary attitude as a pretty badge on an ineffectual bourgeois lifestyle.
I grew up in the Buddhist modernism this book describes. Over time, I realized that I was cherry-picking secular precepts from a religion which required types of faith and worship that were fundamentally at odds with my preferred "rationalist" interpretation of it. This book does a great job of articulating the strained relationship between the tradition itself and our pop-science rebranding of it.
A story fueled by punk, confused, battered back-alley heart. Moskovich has a knack for embedding moments with unexpected, nonlinear metaphors that turn your brain in just the right way to make things come alive. Zorka, a feral child of late-Soviet emotional chaos, is an impressive character for anyone who understands a life of grimy rebellion. The literary equivalent of a My Bloody Valentine album.
This book's so wild that I've been having dreams of talking to Vladimir Putin. Pomerantsev shows us a nation attempting to keep a smile on despite conflicted feelings under a new kind of dictatorship after a period of mafia rule and old dictatorships. Gangsters con their way into influential PR jobs. "Gold digging" becomes so accepted that manuals on how to do it are bestsellers. Viva la difference.
Behold, these are the young bucks holding the keys to the kingdom! There's a range in material here, from abstract social allegory to comedy to classic adventure stories and hard SF, and you're bound to find something that you like. This is a medley, reflecting the breadth of the new generation, so find the authors in it that you like and then go explore their other work! I really enjoyed "The Sharing Place."
An incredibly sad and chilling little book that deftly sketches out childhood, political unrest, regret, the realm of dreams, and — of course — the hit video game Space Invaders. Fernandez's chapters are like poems, the language always a purified and unwavering memorial to those lost in horrendous circumstances. A wonderful new (to the USA) author with whom to acquaint yourself.
Consider this a grandparent of Annihilation (at least the movie, which directly references it). The world unleashed here is rendered almost touchable by Ballard's famously amazing prose, and the conceptual framework of what's happening is left shrouded in mystery which keeps it from getting pedantic. A classic adventure story. Get blasted by shotguns next to ruby trees! Melt into the pressurized sands of time!
A book subtly representing the pains of abusive marriages and drug addiction using a bevy of ingenious structural tricks and fantastical landscapes to take the reader's mind through emotional spaces. Jumps in time unmoor you, leaps between fantasy and reality show self-delusion, and a ceaseless, futile chase stands in for... well, probably a lot of stuff. Complex, genre-defiant, and expertly written.