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NW
A Novel
Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith's new book is playful, psychogeographically rich, sometimes messy, dark, and has a wicked stiletto of an ending. Most of all, its subtleties hold up under the mulling over after you've finished reading it. A smart look at the complexities...
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The Plain in Flames
Juan Rulfo
Stories by a legendary Mexican writer back in a new translation. Perfect little tales of peasants and landlords and bandits and murder, stark as the desert, but very human too, tales that don't say too much, or too little. ––Recommended by Matt
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Debt
The First 5,000 Years
David Graeber
An history of debt written by an anarchist-sympathizing anthropologist (and a respected one, mind you)—who better to dig beneath the assumptions taken for granted by the Western science of Economics? From blood debts in moneyless societies...
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Selected Stories
Robert Walser
Walser's whole body of work is the outpouring of a rapturous and eccentric voice, one that speaks of the joys of the small, the aimless, the unrecognized, and the servile. This collection was my first introduction to Walser––from the miniature "The Job..
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Two Cheers For Anarchism
Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play
James C. Scott
James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of..
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House of Prayer No. 2
A Writer's Journey Home
Mark Richard
Based on its subject matter and jacket copy, this might have been an inspirational memoir. But in Mark Richard's hands, the story of his own life is weird and unsettling and haunting and very much like an ocean hiding outlandish fauna somewhere beneath...
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West of the West
Dreamers, Believers, Builders, and Killers in the Golden State
Mark Arax
With his reportage and essays, Arax is mining territory somewhere between Rebecca Solnit and James Ellroy—here you'll find both thoughtful musings on geography and intense crime investigations. Written with real vitality and engagement, this book makes...
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Soul
And Other Stories
Andrey Platonov
A Soviet author heavily censored in his time, Platonov writes about work, progress, war and love with incredible earnestness, dreamlike strangeness, and a uniquely animistic sense of the universe. The title story here is unforgettable: at once truly...
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Troia
Mexican Memoirs
Bonnie Bremser
For those who are interested in the Beats and want to dig a bit deeper beyond the usual suspects, this long-neglected memoir of hard life in Mexico is raw, naked, honest, full of feeling, and sometimes barely in control. While avoiding statements about...
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Christ Stopped at Eboli
The Story of a Year
Carlo Levi
A genuinely wonderful portrait of a place (southern Italy) and its people: vividly rendered, humane, and surprising. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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The Sheltering Sky
Paul Bowles
This book is brave, imaginative, and brutal; and just when you think it's gone far enough, it goes farther. Bowles spent most of his life in North Africa, but his genius is not in his familiarity with the culture; rather, it's in brilliantly recreating...
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Zeno's Conscience
A Novel
Italo Svevo
This modernist classic deserves its reputation as a masterful immersion in the contortions of one neurotic mind. It's the voice here that wins one over, as our hero good-naturedly dissects his own petty motivations, gets caught up in layer after layer...
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Crow with No Mouth
Ikkyū
A 15th century Zen monk-poet, one of my very favorites, who does his tradition proud: so lusty, so stark. Stephen Berg's translations in run-on lines capture a charming voice. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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Suttree
Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy's last book set in the South before he moved his focus to the West, this is an emotionally opaque but terribly powerful portrait of a damaged man. This book teaches by a sort of unrelenting immersion; plunging you into a world of vivid squalor...