I’ve been reading faster than I can post! Here are a few quick reviews of things I highly recommend:
- Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steve Amsterdam
Amsterdamâ€™s debut features nine stories linked by a single narrator, related over several increasingly difficult decades of post-apocalyptic life. But instead of focusing on the pain and awfulness of the situation, Amsterdam has produced a series of original, dense stories about the canniness it takes to overcome adversity.
- Country Driving by Peter Hessler
China now buys more cars, builds more highways, and emits more carbon dioxide than any other country in the world. What does that mean for the average Chinese person? What does that mean for you? In Country Driving (as in his previous two books) Hessler provides a clear-eyed, unbiased, on-the-ground look at China’s changing relationship with itself and with the west. He visits bra factories, highway security checkpoints, farming villages and urban factories in his journeys around the country and comes away with a fascinating and informative portrait of a nation undergoing rapid and hugely influential changes.
PS You should also read Hessler’s previous books River Town and Oracle Bones! I’ve long been a fan of Hessler. You don’t have to read these in any particular order. They’re all fantastic.
- Notes from No Man’s Land by Eula Biss
You probably know that the telephone changed the world. But did you know that telephone poles were the primary instrument of lynching? Eula Biss will make you think twice about everything you’ve ever known. Growing up as a white girl in a mixed-race household, teaching in poor urban elementary schools, and working as a journalist for an African-American newspaper in Los Angeles, Eula Biss has the perspective and experience to make you doubt, and doubt again, and change the way you look at everything from apartment rentals to educational policy.
Megan–It’s been a while…hope the new year is treating you well. Cheers–Martin Clark