Reading is life
We are in the third month of pandemic disconnection, and things are just getting more odd. Indeed, even a fiction author couldn’t think up a situation in which the president would contemplate the advantages of infusing fade into our circulatory systems. Luckily, the books discharged for this present month incorporate titles dependent on real science and information, regardless of whether that includes the science of yeast or the truth of migration. The fiction, in the mean time, gives entries to universes more reasonable than our present one. There are such a large number of good reasons to continue perusing and continue supporting your neighborhood book retailers.
Dirt, Bill Buford (May 5)
Over a decade ago, journalist Bill Buford documented his formative trip to Italy, where he learned how to properly cook the country’s cuisine, in his best-selling memoir Heat. Now, Buford’s back with another, but this time he’s immersing himself in all things France. Dirt captures his five years spent in Lyon with his wife and twin toddlers. There, Buford grows obsessed with the history of the food he’s both preparing and eating, which he describes in tantalizing detail. The book also invokes plenty of humor as Buford reflects on the paperwork hiccups and language barrier his family experiences while abroad.
“All Adults Here: A Novel,” by Emma Straub (May 4)
Straub’s best book yet explores community, trauma and the lifelong work of parenting. In the Hudson Valley town of Clapham, N.Y., 68-year-old widow Astrid witnesses a bus accident that kills a woman she didn’t like very much. Seeing a life cut short prompts Astrid to tell her grown children about her new relationship. The complications that ensue make excellent book-group fodder.AD
Little Eyes, Samanta Schweblin (May 5)
The latest from Argentine novelist Samanta Schweblin centers around a strange gadget called a “kentuki.” The creatures, which are similar to robotic stuffed animals, are affixed with cameras and operated by strangers from afar. Longlisted for the 2020 Man Booker International Prize, Little Eyes traces the impact of this new technological trend on a society where people are eager to invite strangers into their private lives. Through the humans interacting with the gadgets — both those who house them and those who control them — Schweblin crafts an unnerving story about the power of connection.
‘The Arab Winter: A Tragedy,’ by Noah Feldman (Princeton University, May 12)
IWas the Arab Spring a failure? There is a sense that the protests across the Middle East in 2011 failed to bring about any enduring, positive change, except in Tunisia. But Feldman, a Harvard professor, argues that the uprisings marked a significant cultural and political shift empowering people in the region — even if they brought about tragic outcomes in some countries, including the Syrian war and the rise of ISIS.
‘The End of October,’ by Lawrence Wright (Knopf, April 28)
The parallels between Wright’s novel and our present circumstances are sobering: In “The End of October,” a deadly, highly contagious virus is sweeping the world. Wright, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, drew on copious research to imagine the social, economic and medical fallout from such a pandemic, which makes for utterly frightening reading.