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From hard-hitting non-fiction by the former editor of The New York Times to Zoe Foster Blake’s guide to matters of the heart, here are the six books worth your precious time this month.
Undoubtedly one of the most anticipated books of 2019. If you missed the literary phenomenon “Cat Person”, Roupenian’s short story published in The New Yorker in December 2017, you’ll swifty get a sense of how accurately she depicts the alienation of modern courtship and sexual dynamics. In her new collection of stories, that incidentally earned her a hefty $1.2 million advance, her tales will likely make you cringe and wish you could steer her characters away from a bad situations they find themselves in. If you have a strong reaction to these stories, you’ve been warned. But remember it may well be because you see yourself in them.
“People think you’re a bitch.” Jill Abramson, former editor of the New York Times, does not mince her words in her new memoir, particularly when it comes to describing the gist of how one of her performance reviews went down with her former boss, Arthur Sulzberger Jnr, the paper’s then publisher. In 2011 Abramson became the first woman to take on the most powerful job in American journalism and she’s convinced that her gender (and the way she bucked gender stereotypes) influenced her controversial firing in 2014. As well as setting the record straight in her own works, Abramson examines the seismic changes in media over the last decade by investigating four news organizations in particular, BuzzFeed, Vice, the New York Times and The Washington Post. This is an important read for anyone in media or invested in how the news shapes our world.
What’s a measure of a good life? And what’s the relationship between achievement and happiness? Maria Popova has explored these big questions on her beloved platform Brain Pickings since launching in 2006. In Figuring she furthers this investigation into the human search for truth and meaning (and the complexities of love) through the lives of her favourite artists, writers and scientists, such as the astronomer Maria Mitchell, who paved the way for women in science; the sculptor Harriet Hosmer, who did the same in art; the journalist and literary critic Margaret Fuller, who sparked the feminist movement; and the poet Emily Dickinson. Throughout she addresses what it means to leave a lasting mark of betterment on an imperfect world. Sign us up.
James describes his new fantasy trilogy Dark Star, as an epic “African Game of Thrones”. We have little doubt that this will be epic and just as riveting as his Man Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley and the bloody conflicts in ’70s Jamaica. This time James draws on vivid African history and mythology to tell the story of Tracker, a hunter, who is forced to join a group of eight mercenaries to find a disappeared child.
“Most of us will slither through single, dating, and committed in a half joyous and half headfucky loop for a large portion of our lives,” says Foster Blake in the opening pages of her new book. But don’t worry, she’s here to help. Drawing on decades of experience as a relationship columnist for Cosmopolitan Australia, Foster Blake has created the kind of bible on self-worth and love we’ve been waiting for. Broken into four parts (self, dating, hurting, and committed) and blending old material with new essays, there’s a section for whatever stage of life you find yourself in. Behold, the Valentine’s Day gift you’ve been waiting to give yourself, regardless of relationship status.
When Lenny’s baby brother, Davey, is brought home from the hospital, her mother says she has a feeling, a dark hearted feeling. “Something’s not right,” she says. “It might be good or bad or somewhere in between. We’ll have to wait and see.” Over the course of their childhood, their mother’s feeling comes to fruition as Davey outgrows them all, physically at least – at seven, he’s as tall as a man. Nonetheless the siblings have a unbreakable bond and share one simple joy – devouring the Burrell’s Build-It-at-Home Encyclopedia, that arrives every week and teaches them about the wonders of the world. The encyclopedia sparks their imaginary joint adventures, even as Davey’s health deteriorates. This tender and beautiful YA novel, reverberates long after reading.
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