March 2021: Alex
Alex has been working in the bookselling world for almost three years. He relocated to Raleigh from Asheville near the start of the pandemic and therefore has little sense of what the city is really like, but he's enjoying it to the extent that he can. When he isn’t selling books, he writes, walks his dachshund/yorkie mix, and plays saxophone in a band called Space Heater.
Winning the Green New Deal by Varshini Prakash and Guido Girgenti
Here is an excellent collection of writings by those on the front lines in the fight for climate justice, and it warrants urgent reading.
Postcapitalist Desire by Mark Fisher
The late Mark Fisher was among the most important political voices of the past two decades for his incisive analysis of “capitalist realism,” i.e., the idea that there’s no viable economic alternative to capitalism. Fisher spent his career challenging this dubious claim, and his writings/lectures are invaluable for contemplating what a postcapitalist future might look like. This posthumously published book collects a series of lectures given shortly before his death.
Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber
Bullshit Jobs is an essential read for anyone even mildly interested in labor relations and the economy and what can be done to improve them to work toward a more equitable and just society. The late David Graeber makes the bold claim that a vast swathe of the global economy is saturated with jobs that ultimately do not need to exist. He makes a compelling argument that we are overworked, and that our understanding of labor needs to be revisited and reformed.
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky was virtually unknown in his time (1887-1950), which is a shame, because his writing is fiercely experimental, gripping, and immersed in an unreality that’s difficult to find elsewhere. These short stories are exceedingly bizarre, a postmodernist foray into Krzhizhanovsky’s imagination long before postmodernism was even a tradition.
Against the Web by Michael Brooks
The late Michael Brooks looks at the rise of the alt-right and explains how “Dark Web faux-intellectuals” like Jordan Peterson seduce young men into conscripting themselves into radical groups like the Proud Boys. He also offers critiques of the left and its inability to answer the spread of propaganda on the right.
Against Amazon and Other Essays by Jorge Carrion
The titular essay focuses on that anathema-to-democracy company that has been the bane of independent booksellers for years, but this collection is more broadly a love letter to the printed word and the spaces/communities that enable its distribution. Corrosive effects of late capitalism aside, this book is wonderful for anyone with a penchant for literature, travel, and/or bookstores.
New Dark Age by James Bridle
A deeply illuminating read about the internet, rise of the network, and the environmental and political landscapes in which they exist. Bridle explores mass surveillance, social media, AI, and other technologies and argues that, instead of the utopian vision tech-apologists offer, the network that now dominates human life is pushing us further and further into the dark.
It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track by Ian Penman
Brilliant essays from one of the preeminent music journalists of our time. Penman writes about music as it should be written about—as a sociocultural phenomenon that extends far beyond the sound itself. Even if you don’t care about the artists here (Parker, Prince, Steely Dan), you would do well to read it anyway, if only for Penman’s masterful use of language and critical perspective.
Uncle Tom’s Children by Richard Wright
This collection of novellas was Richard Wright’s first book, published in 1938. Set in the Deep South during the post-slavery era, these stories of racial oppression, violence, and survival are at once powerful, illuminating, and devastating.
The Foreign Student by Susan Choi
Susan Choi’s (recent winner of the National Book Award) debut novel chronicles the experiences of a war-torn young Korean man at a small college in the American South. It’s a story of love, trauma, and salvation that explores both the fissures and overlaps between different cultures and pasts.
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An urgent and definitive collection of essays from leaders and experts championing the Green New Deal—and a detailed playbook for how we can win it—including contributions by leading activists and progressive writers like Varshini Prakash, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Bill McKibben, Rev William Barber II, and more.
A collection of transcripts from Mark Fisher's final series of lectures at Goldsmiths, University of London, in late 2016.
From David Graeber, the bestselling author of The Dawn of Everything and Debt—“a master of opening up thought and stimulating debate” (Slate)—a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs…and their consequences.
Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?
An NYRB Classics Original
Winner of the 2014 PEN Translation Prize
Winner of the 2014 Read Russia Prize
"A brilliant critique of the Right with very sharp insight on some of the shortcomings of the Left, this book is a must-read for anyone looking to understand how dishonest actors spread their propaganda." Ana Kasparian, Host and Executive Producer of The Young TurksMichael Brooks takes on the new "Intellectual Dark Web." As the host of The Michael Brooks Show and co-host of the Majority Report, Br
A NEW YORK TIMES NEW & NOTEWORTHY BOOK
“New Dark Age is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about the Internet, which is to say that it is among the most unsettling and illuminating books I’ve read about contemporary life.” – New Yorker
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When all else fails, when our compass is broken, there is one thing some of us have come to rely on: music really can give us a sense of something like home. With It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track, legendary music critic Ian Penman reaches for a vanished moment in musical history when cultures collided and a certain kind of cross-generational and 'cross-colour' awareness was born.
"I found these stories both heartening. . . and terrifying as the expression of a racial hatred that has never ceased to grow and gets no chance to die." —Malcolm Cowley, The New Republic
Richard Wright's powerful collection of novellas set in the American Deep South
"This wonderful hybrid of a novel--a love story, a war story, a novel of manners--introduces a writer of enchanting gifts, a beautiful heart wedded to a beautiful imagination. How else does Susan Choi so fully inhabit characters from disparate backgrounds, with such brilliant wit and insight?
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