This Week: a stunning debut collection of stories, Robert Reich’s bold plan to reform the U.S. economy, Israeli author David Grossman’s epic novel of the sorrows of war, a subversively funny look at our media landscape, and the true story behind the Colt revolver.
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Selfby Danielle Evans
A powerful short story collection from a rising star.
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is the debut collection from rising short-story star Danielle Evans. Just 26, Evans has already had two of her stories anthologized in Best American Short Stories and one published in The Paris Review. The melancholy and wry stories in Suffocate follow two black Columbia students thinking about the racial tensions surrounding selling their eggs, a father whose decision to rush into a collapsing apartment to save a gift for his daughter reveals how little he knows about her, and other characters engaged in what the Washington Post described as “the natural drama of our mundane lives.” Ron Charles at the Washington Post writes, “Evans frames such questions in a way that will resonate with any thoughtful reader.”
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Futureby Robert Reich
A diagnosis of America’s serious economic problems and a proposed cure from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
In Aftershock former Labor Secretary Robert Reich argues that America needs deep, structural reform if it is to have a genuine economic recovery. For the past 30 years, Reich argues, the middle class has been falling behind in its attempt to keep pace with the astronomical growth of the super-wealthy. First more women entered the workforce, then everyone worked longer hours, then they borrowed, and now that the credit bubble has burst, they’re out of options. If we aren’t to see a rise in demagoguery and class struggle, we need to implement a host of reforms: a more progressive income tax, more accessible health insurance, wage insurance for when workers take pay cuts, and other major progressive changes. The New York Times writes that Reich “is fluent, fearless, even amusing.”
To the End of the Landby David Grossman
An epic, wrenching novel of life during wartime from one of Israel’s foremost authors.
The latest book from David Grossman, one of Israel’s leading writers, To the End of the Land tells the story of an Israeli mother who leaves home to travel the country on foot in order to avoid the officials she fears will come to tell her of her son’s death. She walks to Galilee with Avram, who is actually her son’s biological father, and she narrates her son’s life along the way. The book, which The Guardian’s Jacqueline Rose calls an “extraordinary, impassioned novel,” has special poignancy because Grossman’s own son, Uri, was killed in the last days of Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon. Rose writes that “ To the End of the Land is without question one of the most powerful and moving novels I have read.”
A hilarious toast to the 21st century's media culture of the absurd.
In American Freak Show, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist skewers a familiar cast of characters from the media and political worlds. Turning a sharp eye to the absurdity of today's news and newsmakers, Geist parodies such figures as Tiger Woods, Dick Cheney, Lindsay Lohan and, of course, Sarah Palin. Geist hilariously presents his preview of Mama Grizzly's 2013 Inauguration Speech, goes behind the scenes of Tiger Wood's stint in sex rehab, and gives Levi Johnston's college application essay a spin. Media vet Brian Williams calls Geist "one part Twain, one part Carrot Top," and his first work is definitely not one to miss.
by Harold Schechter
The myth and true story behind America's most famous firearm, the Colt revolver.
True crime historian and chronicler of serial murders Harold Schechter examines the dark backstory behind the development of one of America's most famous weapons, the Colt revolver. While the firearm's inventor, Samuel Colt, seemed to live a charmed life, his brother John had no such luck and later is traced to a grisly murder. The investigation that follows binds the two brothers together. Schechter's compelling read is what The Wall Street Journal calls "a well-wrought anatomy of a murder and the portrait of an age."