News & Politics

Reading Rainbow

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Bullfighting, the traps of nostalgia, sex addicts, the sins of Henry Kissinger—this spring’s book offerings don’t fit into any neat categories, but here are some forthcoming titles that caught our eye. Readings, if they’ve been scheduled by our deadline, are listed.




MARCH


SVETLANA BOYM

The Future of Nostalgia (Basic Books)


Boym’s witty and erudite take
on nostalgia as modern malaise explores its influence on pop culture, religious revival, and post-communist collective memory.




IVY COMPTON-BURNETT

A House and Its Head
(New York Review Books)


Long out-of-print, this acidic, dialogue- driven novel dissects Victorian familial power and romantic ties with an appetite for misfortune.




JILL ANDRESKY FRASER

White-Collar Sweatshop:
The Deterioration of Work
and Its Rewards in Corporate America
(Norton)


Fraser argues that today’s corporate office is the equivalent of yesterday’s sweatshop—long hours, few benefits, and incremental raises.




A.L. KENNEDY

On Bullfighting (Anchor)


Bull breeders, superstitious matadors, toreros in training—novelist Kennedy makes a jab
at nonfiction, giving an outsider’s
view of the gory sport with a
keen eye for danger and the
death impulse.




JONATHAN LETHEM

This Shape We’re In (McSweeney’s)


March 1, Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street, 334-3324 (Lethem will read with Dave Eggers.)


A Balso Snell-ish romp through
the interiors of a body-shaped
world (legs, liver, head), this novella follows a wisecracking dipsomaniac on a journey in search of his son,
who might or might not be hanging out in the Third Eye.




APRIL


SYLVIA BROWNRIGG

Pages for You (Farrar, Straus
& Giroux)


Flannery, a 17-year-old freshman, falls for chain-smoking lit-crit grad student Anne in this heady Ivy League romance, and winds up with a credit from the school of hard knocks.




JAIME CLARKE

We’re So Famous (Bloomsbury)


April 11, Barnes & Noble, 4 Astor Place, 420-1322; April 15, KGB Bar,
85 East 4th Street, 505-3360


The droll account of a girl group whose slouch toward pop stardom (early song: “I’d Kill You If I Thought
I Could Get Away With It”) gets revved up when two of the band members are briefly suspected
of murdering a politician’s son.




ALMA GUILLERMOPRIETO

Looking for History: Dispatches From Latin America (Pantheon)


April 25, the Carnegie Council,
170 East 64th Street, 838-4120


American ignorance of its Latin American neighbors’ politics could
be increasingly dangerous for those north of the border: These thoughtful essays about Cuba’s purgatory under Castro and Colombia’s divided power between guerrillas and paramilitaries explain why.




CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS

The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso)


April, date and venue TBA


An eloquent and devastating indictment of Henry Kissinger’s involvement in the war in Indochina, genocide in East Timor, and many other acts of indiscriminate murder.




CLARENCE MAJOR

Necessary Distance: Essays and Criticism (Coffee House Press)


The important poet and critic’s provocative and eccentric collection of essays takes on the craft of writing, contemporary African American authors, and the publishing life.




JAVIER MARIAS

Dark Back of Time (New Directions)


Marías, one of the most talented contemporary Spanish writers,
plays elegantly with the power of art and the mystery of memory in this ironic tale of a professor whose ”false novel”—filled with a legendary kingdom, haunted literary figures, and a Cuban curse—causes upset among colleagues and neighbors who believe they appear in its pages.




MAY


BENJAMIN ANASTAS

The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


May 6, KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street, 505-3360


Rumored affairs and theological arcana provide the backdrop for a young black pastor’s disappearance in this deeply intelligent novel about New England suburbia, tradition, and social mores.




THOMAS KELLY

The Rackets (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


June 7, the American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, 288-2263


A vivid descent into the fictional underworld of a union-rigged election replete with mobsters, Gulf War vets, and Russian assassins.




CHUCK PALAHNIUK

Choke (Doubleday)


June, date TBA, Barnes & Noble Union Square, 33 East 17th Street, 253-0810


The protagonist’s moneymaking method is as far-fetched as Fight Club‘s soap scheme, but the devious Palahniuk still delivers plenty of rapid-fire prose and outrageous humor in this novel about a med-school dropout who cruises sex-addict meetings and makes decisions by asking, “What would Jesus NOT do?”




REBECCA SOLNIT

As Eve Said to the Serpent:
On Landscape, Gender, and Art
(University of Georgia Press)


Starting with Genesis and the desire
to “make a future in the image of an ideal past,” Solnit’s conversationally theoretical collection of essays—focusing primarily on environmentalism and art criticism—is a well-guided tour through usually unrelated topics like suburbia, bomb-testing sites, landscape photography, and contemporary art.




ARTHUR TRESS

Arthur Tress: Fantastic
Voyage Photographs 1956-2000


Text by Richard Lorenz and John Wood (Bullfinch Press)


Flea market hero and ingenious surrealist photographer Arthur Tress builds worlds within worlds: in a fish tank, a cardboard opera stage, the curve of a man’s hips. Elegiac, humorous, and erotic, this collection is long awaited.




IRVINE WELSH

Glue (W.W. Norton)


June 4, Barnes & Noble Union Square,
33 East 17th Street, 253-0810


With rhythmic Scottish slang, working-class youth, and free-form psychological insight still intact, the trainspotter traces the relationships of four friends—what holds them together or drives them apart—from 1970 to the near future.




COLSON WHITEHEAD

John Henry Days (Doubleday)


June, date TBA, Barnes &
Noble Union Square,
33 East 17th Street, 253-0810


This novel deftly shifts between the stories of John Henry, a 19th-century black railroad worker who died from exhaustion after competing with a steam drill, and J. Sutter, a journalist who realizes his life is similarly drained by modern technology while covering a Henry celebration in 1996.



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