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10 New Books This Week
Ask any reading group: People disagree about books all the time. But it’s rare for a novel to be quite as polarizing, or as controversial in the wider culture, as Jeanine Cummins’s new book, “American Dirt,” has turned out to be.
Essentially a narcothriller — it’s about a Mexican woman and her son fleeing to the border to escape a murderous drug lord — the book is already a huge hit. Oprah Winfrey recently picked it for her book club, and it enters this week’s best-seller list at No. 1. But it has also been widely condemned, on political grounds by readers who say it resorts to stereotypes and exploits current events to make a fetish out of trauma, and on aesthetic grounds by readers who say it’s just badly written. (That’s where The Times’s critic Parul Sehgal landed in her review.) In the wake of the outcry, the book’s publishers announced on Wednesday that they were canceling a planned author tour.
So why are we recommending it?
For one thing, “American Dirt” is clearly the book of the moment. It has spawned a galvanizing conversation — if not the one that Cummins might have been hoping for — and anybody who wants to follow along would probably do well to read the book at the center of the discourse. For another thing, both Lauren Groff (in the Book Review) and the editor who assigned it to her were genuinely impressed by the book’s propulsive momentum and topical concerns. You might be, too — or you might hate it! Either way, you’ll have something to talk about at your next book group.
If you’d rather fight about nonfiction, we can help with that too. This week we recommend a book about Donald Trump’s presidency, a study of economic conditions in some of the world’s most troubled environments, the history of a racist coup in Reconstruction-era North Carolina and a look back at the speculative and largely fraudulent Florida land boom of the 1920s, along with a cultural critic’s take on the enduring appeal of minimalism. In fiction, we offer a collection of Zora Neale Hurston’s short stories, a novel about body image among the girls at a British boarding school, and a debut novel about a Chinese physicist who immigrates to America intent on hiding her past. Finally, poetry: The venerable Robert Hass returns with his first new collection in almost a decade. http://bit.ly/Written_by_Stephen_King
AbeBooks: This video takes care of me!
Rising of the Tide | Ida M. Tarbell | Published 1900 onward | Audiobook full unabridged | English | 5/8
Content of the video and Sections beginning time (clickable) – Chapters of the audiobook: please see First comments under this video.
The subtitle is “the story of Sabinsport”, and the town is the major character. It is a small, Midwestern town in the USA, in 1914. About a dozen characters people its story. It shows how the coming of the Great War effected each character, and the town itself. Ida Tarbell, the author, is considered our nation’s first investigative journalist. Here she turns to fiction to convey some of her ideas of social change. Summary by Bob Rollins.
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