Rise up: Billy Bragg on books about holding power to account
The Drowned World by JG Ballard – archive, 27 January 1963
America’s War of Stories
“Despite everything, I cling to the dumb, idealistic conviction that every contradictory truth adds up to create a larger, truer picture of the world.”
Written by Melissa Dahl in The Cut
There’s that quote from To Kill a Mockingbird, that the best way to understand another person is to “climb into [their] skin and walk around in it.” This sounds a little Silence of the Lambs when taken out of context, so here is an alternate way of improving your capacity for empathy: Read more literary fiction.
Or so goes the argument recently put forth by a pair of researchers, who find that familiarity with literary fiction — in contrast to genre fiction (mystery, sci-fi, romance, and the like) — is associated with greater emotional intelligence.
I heard about the new Netflix series The End of the F***ing World, based on the graphic novel by Charles Forsman. Thought I’d read the book first. You know. When I went to look for it, found this instead. Okay is almost about high schoolers, focusing on Sydney, who has lsot her father, has trouble getting along with her family, despite the fact that she would like to, and has few friends at school. On top of that, when she is angry, she has a power that destroys. You’ll have to read it to find out more. The drawings are cartoonish–just enough lines to tell the story and generate a feeling. The story is emotional and engaging. The ending is earned, but unwanted, as Forsman has made the connection between Sydney and the reader.
A list worth checking out.
Here it is: the complete list of books I finished in 2017. A few caveats: I have a toddler, so both reading time and energy are in short supply; there are lots more books that I started, or read pieces of, or read excerpts of in magazines; current events were much more distracting this year than others. That being said, I’m proud of this list. I read some truly great books, and thanks to the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge (more on that next week), I read a much wider range of genres than I typically would.
The best of the best: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward were the best novels I read this year, and One Hundred Twenty-One Days by Michèle Audin was the most unexpected. For nonfiction, I loved Code Girls by Liza Mundy and I savored How to Sit by…
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