Monday, February 26, 2024

Staff Recommendations, Week of February 27, 2024

The leap year means there's an extra day for reading all these great new books. How excellent. Here are the recs.

First, Tim McCarthy recommends Wandering Stars, the new book by Pulitzer finalist Tommy Orange. Tim says: "Tommy Orange takes us on a winding road with Jude Star and Victor Bear Shield, two men who survive the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, and then with their descendants, leading us to characters living in the aftermath of the Big Oakland Powwow from There There. He brings the story full circle and beyond. The tone of the novel is mostly level, even as events become stunning and disturbing. I tried to see what the level voice was, and I thought at first it was resignation, a forced acceptance of the violent indignities suffered by indigenous people (and others). Then a character says he’s “so tired of enduring,” and I thought I knew. The tone is endurance. Keep moving, stay alive, find ways to feel comfort and escape, sometimes have a belief in survival, a hope for purpose and stability, a sense of home. It’s the full and true revelation of pain and endurance that makes Tommy Orange’s writing unique. It’s important, and there's a there at the end. My heart grew. Orange wrapped me in the sound of creative, perceptive, genuine truth, and I felt unexpected warmth."

Next, Daniel Goldin recommends Burn Book: A Tech Love Story by Kara Swisher. Daniel writes: "Burn Book is part memoir and part history of tech over the past thirty years. Swisher has had as much inside contact as anyone, and she’s quite opinionated, pointing out the heroes, villains, and sadly, heroes-turned-villains. In addition to reporting, she’s been vocal about diversifying the tech field. It appears that yesterday’s nerds are today’s frat bros. But she still has hope for tomorrow. Maybe the field will handle AI better than they did social media. You think? Entertaining and often insightful."

And Greta Borgealt recommends Piglet, a novel by Lottie Hazel. Greta opines: "Here’s a book that quietly takes on the unhealthy and unrealistic expectations that society places on women. It follows Piglet, a woman who has everything that society has told us we should strive for as modern women - a sleek, elegant job as a cookbook editor, a loving and loyal best friend, and she's getting married to an adoring man named Kit. Piglet has some of the most vivid food writing. It will leave you salivating in its precise description. This idea of idealized perfection comes to a screeching halt when Kit reveals a betrayal two weeks before the wedding. This novel shines a light on the shame and embarrassment people feel when they stay with partners who have cheated on them. It begs the question, can we really have everything we want, or in our pursuit of this will we lose more than we originally bargained?"

And those are the recs! See you back here next week (next month, wowee!) for more picks from the Boswellians. Until then, read on.

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