What To Read: July & August 2017by Tyler Vitt - Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 at 2:42pm
A collection of recent books particularly recommended by Chris Hall. Look for our in-store What To Read display tables.
This novel begins in 1936, with Dmitri Shostakovich fearing for his livelihood and even his life. He has just been denounced in an article that certainly reflects the opinion of Joseph Stalin himself. Every night as he waits to be arrested, Shostakovich reflects on his predicament and his own personal history. Barnes elegantly guides us through his life as he weighs the merits of appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.
Capturing the interior reality of its unnamed protagonist, this novel focuses on a young woman living a mostly solitary existence on the outskirts of a small coastal village. Rather than using the usual conventions of narrative, it focuses on the details of her daily experience — from page long fragments on the best way to eat porridge or bananas to story-length stretches of narrative — always suffused with the immediacy of the physical world that we remember from childhood. Indeed, reading it reminded me of being a child, pleasantly lost on a summer day.
Find more What To Read picks after the jump...
Paper is one of the most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, politics, education, history of paper and its uses, Kurlansky ranges from ancient Asia through the achievements of the Islamic world to our present day, when we discuss going “paperless.” In so doing he challenges some common assumptions about where civilization has come from and where we’re taking it.
This book makes a bold claim: The Internet is among mankind's greatest masterpieces — a massive work of art. Its cultural potential and societal impact often elude us and Heffernan reveals the tensions underlying our confusion. Life online offers much in the virtues of its highly visual, social, portable, and global incarnation. Yet with all these magical things, we also sometimes feel the loss of something as our perception, experience, and understanding of the world is altered. This is a great book for anyone interested in where the internet is going or where it can be taken.
In 2012, Matar journeys to his native Libya after thirty years’ absence. Twenty-two years earlier, Matar's father, a former diplomat and military man turned political dissident, was kidnapped in Cairo by the Libyan government and believed to have been held in its most notorious prison. Now, the prisons are empty and little hope remains that his father will be found alive. Yet, the author writes, hope is "persistent and cunning." Matar is the kind of writer worth reading no matter what the story. The fact that this story is his own makes it even more powerful.
Rivalry is at the heart of some of the most fruitful relationships in art history. This book follows eight artists — Manet and Degas, Matisse and Picasso, Pollock and de Kooning, Bacon and Freud — each linked to his counterpart by admiration, envy, and ambition. Each relationship culminated in an early rupture in a budding intimacy that was both a betrayal and a trigger for innovation.
In a small village in the heart of England a teenage girl on holiday goes missing. The villagers join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their home. The search goes on but so does life. In this subtly powerful novel, the rhythms of nature and the routines of lives slowly reassert themselves though the effects of the disappearance ripples over the years.
When Olivia Laing moved to New York City, she found herself inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. She started to find comfort through discovering the works of artists who explored the lonely city. Moving from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to David Wojnarowicz's AIDS activism, Laing investigates what it means to be alone, illuminating not only the causes of loneliness but also how it might be resisted and redeemed. Equal parts biography, memoir and art criticism, The Lonely City celebrates the strange and lovely state of solitude.
Melody Shee is in trouble. At 33, she is pregnant with the child of a 17 year-old Traveller boy and not by Pat, her husband. Now the boy’s gone, and Pat leaves too, full of rage. She's trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming, while the past won't let her go. Mary, a bold Traveller woman, comes along just in time and may save Melody's life. Following the nine months of her pregnancy, Melody’s presence will stay with you long after you finish this novel.
Rachel is a young single mother trying to escape the world and living with her son, Tristan, on a lake that borders the remote north. But soon, and unexpectedly, Tristan will have to live alone, his youth burdened by his separation from others. The wild place that is all he knows will be overrun by strangers — strangers inhabiting the lodge that has replaced his home, strangers who make him fight, talk, and even love, when he doesn't want to.
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