Reasons to be excited about 2021 abound, and among them is a literary landscape packed with promise. Some of the most celebrated names in the industry will be releasing new work, from Jhumpa Lahiri and Kazuo Ishiguro to Haruki Murakami and Viet Thanh Nguyen. The new year also features a slate of new and rising voices like Morgan Jerkins, Ashley C. Ford and Zakiya Dalila Harris. These most anticipated fiction and nonfiction books of the year offer something for every reader: there is Bill Gates’ ... Read more
2021 | George Saunders
From the New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today. For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times. In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.
2021 | Joan Didion
Ten pieces never before collected that offer an illuminating glimpse into the mind and process of a legendary writer Here are six pieces written in 1968 from the "Points West" Saturday Evening Post column Joan Didion shared from 1964 to 1969 with her husband, John Gregory Dunne about: American newspapers; a session with Gamblers Anonymous; a visit to San Simeon; being rejected by Stanford; dropping in on Nancy Reagan, wife of the then-governor of California, while a TV crew filmed her at home; and an evening at the annual reunion of WWII veterans from the 101st Airborne Association at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. Here too is a 1976 piece from the New York Times magazine on "Why I Write"; a piece about short stories from New West in 1978; and from The New Yorker, a piece on Hemingway from 1998, and on Martha Stewart from 2000. Each one is classic Didion: incisive, bemused, and stunningly prescient.
2021 | Ibram X. Kendi, Keisha N. Blain
An epoch-defining history of African America, the first to appear in a generation, Four Hundred Souls is a chronological account of four hundred years of Black America as told by ninety of America's leading Black writers. Curated by Ibram X. Kendi, author of the number one bestseller How To Be an Antiracist, and fellow historian Keisha N. Blain, Four Hundred Souls begins with the arrival of twenty enslaved Ndongo people on the shores of the British colony in mainland America in 1619, the year before the arrival of the Mayflower. In eighty chronological chapters, the book charts the tragic and triumphant four-hundred-year history of Black American experience in a choral work of exceptional power and beauty. Contributors include some of the best-known scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists of contemporary America who together bring to vivid life countless new facets to the drama of slavery and resistance, segregation and survival, migration and self-discovery, cultural oppression and world-changing artistic, literary and musical creativity. In these pages are dozens of extraordinary lives and personalities, rescued from the archives and restored to their rightful place in America's narrative, as well as the ghosts of millions more. Four Hundred Souls is an essential work of story-telling and reclamation that redefines America and changes our notion of how history is written.
2020 | Bill Gates
In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal. He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions-suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise. As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
2021 | Kazuo Ishiguro
Klara and the Sun is a magnificent new novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro–author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize-winning The Remains of the Day. Klara and the Sun, the first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her. Klara and the Sun is a thrilling book that offers a look at our changing world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator, and one that explores the fundamental question: what does it mean to love? In its award citation in 2017, the Nobel committee described Ishiguro’s books as “novels of great emotional force” and said he has “uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”