As the year comes to a close and best-of lists start making their appearances (see a very good example here and another very good one here), I got to thinking about the reasons that I read books myself. Sure, I’m looking to be moved or delighted, but to be honest, in the season of holiday get-togethers and work “parties,” I’m also looking for things to talk about.
So I decided to poll a few publishing and publishing-adjacent friends —editors, writers, publicists, avid readers — about the books that are “in the air.” Note: This is a totally unscientific, highly biased, very specific person’s list of books to know, but if you’ve ever been asked, “What are you reading?” and felt the chill of flop sweat, the little survey helped me (and if you have something to add or quibble with, please! Dialogue’s the idea.)
Definitely a conversation starter, in a “Yes, I actually read that and here’s what” sort of way. As one writer friend says, “It sheds light in the weirdest ways on how zinging between poverty and wealth creates a bizarre relationship with materialism and showing off.”
Love it or hate it (I hated it!), you have to think something.
A new George Saunders will always be an event — his first novel (and Man Booker Prize winner at that) is especially relevant.
In the Venn diagram of books that are on best-of lists and books that are talked about, this smacks right in the center. Also, this is superficial, but that cover is siiiiick.
If you’re in the type of circles that talk about books, you’ll probably be talking about this media-centric title.
And this one!
Emma Cline is back in the news for being accused of plagiarism by her ex-boyfriend. The details are gossipy and slightly absurd — perfect party fodder.
Is it a thoughtful dissection of a forgotten class or apologia for racists? Okay, maybe it’s not that simple, but this book’s become something of a lightning rod among coastal types.
The NBC News correspondent wrote a tell-all about her time practically embedded in the Trump campaign. In a word, it’s, well …
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