Unfortunately, your access has now expired. But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 180,000 reviews.
Your access to Booklist Online has expired. If you still subscribe to the print magazine, please proceed to your profile page and check your subscriber number against a current magazine mailing label. (If your print subscription has lapsed, you will need to renew.)
You must be logged in to read full text of reviews.
> Logged-in users can make lists, save searches, e-mail, and more!
> Click My Profile to create a username & password
> Try a free trial or subscribe today
February 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Making Sense of a New America
These thought-provoking works of narrative nonfiction, memoir, and a graphic novel in essays portray places in decline or busy reinventing themselves; ask where we are and where we might be heading in terms of jobs and the economy; and reveal what it’s like to immigrate to twenty-first-century America. —Annie Bostrom
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land. By Monica Hesse. 2017. Norton/Liveright, $26.95 (9781631490514).
Hesse investigated a six-month arson spree in 2012 and 2013 in Accomack County, Virginia, uncovering motives both personal and universal as well as how these fires relate to the anxieties triggered by a rapidly changing nation.
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis.
By Mark Binelli.
2012. Holt/Metropolitan, $28 (9780805092295).
Binelli presents a primer on Detroit, his native city, as both a symbol of urban decay and a place where he sees renewal and hope.
The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America. By Rick Wartzman. 2017. PublicAffairs, $30 (9781586489144).
Wartzman explores what could be the defining questions about jobs and the nature of corporate America in the twenty-first century in this well-researched, evenhanded chronicle long on significance and short on partisanship.
In his Carnegie Medal winner, Desmond tells the stories of two landlords and eight tenant families in Milwaukee, revealing how eviction sets people up to fail.
Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town. By Beth Macy. 2014. Little, Brown, $28 (9780316231435).
Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town. By Brian Alexander. 2017. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (9781250085801).
Alexander’s in-depth examination of Lancaster, Ohio, contrasts his hometown’s remarkable industrial history with its current status as a poverty-stricken community. An emotionally intense account of social and economic realities found across the U.S.
Imagine Wanting Only This. By Kristen Radtke. 2017. Pantheon, $29.95 (9781101870839).
In this graphic novel in essays, Radtke explores her fascination with ruins, both in the U.S. and abroad. What do ruins mean in America and in countries with a longer history?
Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim. By Sabeeha Rehman. 2016. Arcade, $25.99 (9781628726633).
The authors of these provocative, ripe-for-discussion novels use incisive humor as a mode for addressing complex questions about the enormous impact social media and other online phenomena have on every aspect of our lives, offering unprecedented access to and connection with the world while also blurring the distinction between facts and lies, eroding privacy, undermining trust, and impacting livelihoods. —Donna Seaman
The Boat Rocker. By Ha Jin. 2016. Vintage, $16 (9780804170376).
Ha Jin’s droll and suspenseful tale of Feng Danlin, a newly naturalized American citizen and boldly idealistic journalist in New York, raises urgent questions about the role of the press, fake news, censorship, and corruption in the Internet age.
The Circle. By Dave Eggers. 2013. Vintage, $16 (9780345807298).
Mae is thrilled to be working at the Circle, a Bay Area tech company, until she discovers that it’s a short step from social media to relentless surveillance. Eggers’ novel is eerily plausible.
Goodbye for Now. By Laurie Frankel. 2012. Anchor, $15 (9780307951274).
In Frankel’s emotionally rich tale of love and loss in the digital realm, software engineer Sam develops an algorithm to find not just a date but a soul mate, then moves on to enable electronic communication with DLOs (dead loves ones).
John Henry Days. By Colson Whitehead. 2001. Anchor, $15.95 (9780385498203).
Whitehead contrasts the African American folk hero John Henry, the “steel-driving man,” with a struggling African American journalist in this funny, inventive, and bittersweet novel contrasting the industrial and information ages.
Luminarium. By Alex Shakar. 2011. Soho, $15 (9781616951832).
Twin brothers created a virtual-world venture now owned by a rapacious corporation within the “Military-Entertainment Complex.” With George in a coma, Fred embarks on a strange, techno-spiritual quest that juxtaposes prayers and algorithms, e-mails and metaphysics.
Super Sad True Love Story. By Gary Shteyngart. 2010. Random, $17 (9780812977868).
In this devilishly hilarious satire, Shteyngart sets the love story of Lenny Abramov and Eunice Park within a digital dystopia where books are taboo and diabolical devices broadcast everyone’s finances, biochemistry, and sex appeal as America collapses into ineptness, chaos, and tyranny.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. By Joshua Ferris. 2014. Back Bay, $16 (9780316033992).
Ferris introduces Paul, a Manhattan dentist who dislikes religion, other people, and modern technology as he discovers that impostors have stolen his professional identity and set up a fake website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
Touch. By Courtney Maum. 2017. Putnam, $26 (9780735212121).
In Maum’s charming and funny mix of romantic comedy and acid social critique, trend-forecaster Sloane accepts a job at a showy tech firm, but instead of initiating luxury electronics, she finds herself advocating for less screen time and more human-to-human contact.
> Try a free trial or subscribe today