Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Books I Recommend

I would have to start with Barbara Ehenreich's new contribution, Brightsided. In this book, the author debunks the myth of positive thinking and how it needs to be examined more carefully and, most importantly, while remaining wedded to reality and common sense. I absolutely recommend this.

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System---and Themselves is by New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin. If you watch political commentary on cable TV, you will have undoubtedly seen and heard Sorkin's comments. Sorkin tells the story of the behind-the-scenes events that led to the economic crisis of '08. His analysis of the psychology of the people who work in the finance industry is gripping. The drama is captured comprehensively and the context appears to be well presented. Even though I'm not an economist or trained in the field of economy, the book is written in a way that it lends itself to being decoded with relative ease. I recommend this. I thought I would give it a chance since I like Sorkin's work on the Times and this, most certainly, didn't disappoint. And it is a hefty book but it reads relatively quickly.

Spring Flowers, Spring Frost by Albanian-born French novelist Ismail Kadare is a beautiful find. It inspired me to work on a article on the author who has been a Nobel Prize candidate for years now and whose work is translated in many languages throughout the world. Kadare's understanding of myth and mythology is astounding. The opening of the book made me think of Angela Carter's use of mythology in her short story the "Tiger's Bride." I highly recommend this. It's exotic and utterly realistic at the same time.

The Land of Green Plums by Romanian-born German author Herta Müller is another title I highly recommend. Müller is a beautiful writer. Her books are not the kind to pack in your suitcase and take to the beach, however. She writes about the social and familial ramifications of politics. Müller has the unique ability to talk about dictatorial regimes and systems by introspecting the quotidian lives of average folk. She reminds me of the poetry of Paul Celan in that hermeticism abounds in both. Only a few of her books are translated into English and I trust that will change shortly as she just received the Nobel for literature. I would recommend that you read her in German, however. It will be a good linguistic experience.

I also recommend Müller's latest book, Atemschaukel which details the life of a labor camp prisoner. The second sentence of the book says: "Alles Meinige trage is bei mir."
At that point, I knew I had to read on.

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Anonymous said...

Is the Kadare novel a new one?
I'm trying to get into Muller and will see how the reading will go.
Is the Sorkin text too esoteric? Blog reading has made me progressively lazier and I struggle with books now. But I intend to fight this, of course. :) Thanks for the recs.

Dana said...

I like Eherenreich. Didn't know she had a new book out.

Becca said...

I'm definitely reading Kadare. Did I hear that you're working on an article on him?

Anonymous said...

huh.. interesting text.