Holiday Guide: Readings to Feed Your Wintertime Fears

Bookshelf cower power

Cambridge University economics scholar Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, now in paperback, organizes his iconoclastic ideas into neat parcels. "Thing 1: There is no such thing as a free market." "Thing 21: Big government makes people more open to change." Each is a bitch slap to a different conservative-received idea. • Bloomsbury Press, January 17, 2012

MSNBC politico Dylan Ratigan's Greedy Bastards: How We Can Stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and Other Vampires from Sucking America Dry, with a title that sounds like a Michael Moore project and a cereal-box book jacket to match, actually promises a broad and sober look at failing systems in the U.S.: education, health care, politics—Ratigan'll leave you wondering if anything isn't failing. • Simon & Schuster, January 10, 2012

Books that might cheer you up

One seldom-acknowledged yet irritating by-product of the media's focus on Republican idiocy has been the NEMO crisis—Not Enough Michelle Obama. Her poise, intelligence, class, and modesty have kept her underexposed despite the fact that people love the crap out of her. Still, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor snagged a ginormous advance for The Obamas, which promises to reveal how the sexiest couple in American politics keeps their marriage together, and most importantly, will fight NEMO with AMMO—A lot More Michelle Obama. • Little, Brown and Company, January 10, 2012

Despite the segment's occasional mawkishness, it's hard to suppress a frisson when the guitar arpeggios of NPR's StoryCorps theme song burgeon up. And because reading StoryCorps creator and oral history MacArthur genius Dave Isay's All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorpsmight not pack the aural punch of all the weepy grannies of the radio version, the simultaneously released audiobook might prove more popular than the print edition. • Penguin Press HC, February 2, 2012

If Filipino-Americans need a Junot Díaz, they're not likely to come closer than much-lauded author Lysley Tenorio, whose blackly humorous and exquisitely rendered stories, finally compiled in Monstress, depict transnational misadventures in touchingly absurd tones. In the title story, actress Reva Gogo reminisces about filmmaker Checkers Rosario, director of such films as Squid Children, and their fortune-seeking trip to L.A. • Ecco, January 31, 2012

Say what you will about starchitect Zaha Hadid, but few in her profession have made buildings as fashion-forward, intriguing, and drop-dead gorgeous. Ditto her hyper-futuristic interiors and furniture, the focus of Kathryn B. Hiesinger's Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion. Will 60 pages be enough? • Yale University Press, December 27, 2011

Although butch and fem queens had served fierce realness since the drag balls of the 1920s, in the late '80s and early '90s, some serious glamazons blazed up from the underground to punish the mainstream: Jennie Livingston documented, Madonna co-opted, Willi Ninja profited. Chantal Regnault, legendary snapstress de Paris, captured the whole glittering moment before her flashbulbs to produce Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York, 1989-92. Her yeux photographique will make you bitches gag. • Soul Jazz Books, November 30, 2011

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