The National Post has a list of must-reads for the month. What the heck, you can’t really garden yet and you can only do so much raking, honestly.
From fiction to non-fiction; returning giants to writers on the rise; the recent Pulitzer-winner to the boys of summer, here’s what the National Post’s Books Editor recommends picking up for the month of May. You should probably read as many of these as you can.
Zero K | A Novel | Don DeLillo | Simon & Schuster | 288pp; $36 | May 10
Despite the outlandish claims made in just about every book’s jacket copy, “greatest living novelist” is still one that publishers use with some degree of hesitancy. But as our world becomes more and more like the one DeLillo envisioned – and continues to – each new novel from the White Noise author is cause for close attention.
[NOTE: the Ottawa Public Library has this book available in hard copy, eBook and CD format. Order online for convenient pickup in North Gower.]
Worldly Goods | Stories | Alice Petersen | Biblioasis |176pp; $18.95 | May 10
Marie Kondo’s bestselling treatise on clutter, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests that if it doesn’t “spark joy,” it has to go – but to follow this too closely might be to throw out the very stuff that makes us who we are. Each story in Alice Petersen’s second collection, Worldly Goods, springs forth from an item and explores how our identities are attached to the things we hold onto.
The Noise of Time | A Novel | Julian Barnes | Penguin Random House | 224pp; $29.95 | May 10
In Barnes’ first novel since his Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending, the author explores the life of the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, an almost-casualty of Stalin’s Great Terror. The Noise of Time asserts the freedom to be an artist even when that freedom is dearly bought.
The Sport of Kings | A Novel | C. E. Morgan | Alfred A. Knopf | 560pp; $35| May 3
A century ago, horse racing was the most popular of sports, something usually remembered in sepia-toned literature or when a thoroughbred kicks off a run at the Triple Crown the first Saturday of May. But in her second novel, C.E. Morgan freshens up a hallowed setting with an upstart cast of characters trying to overturn a world stuck in the past.
The Sympathizer | A Novel | Viet Thanh Nguyen | Grove Press | 384pp; $22.95 | available now
The recent winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Nguyen’s debut novel is a book that destabilizes dogmatic preconceptions. “The function of Vietnamese people in the Western imagination is to remain nameless, to be steadfast as types,” Nguyen said to interviewer Mike Doherty in the National Post last year. Fortunately, these types wither in the satiric glare of The Sympathizer.
The Only Rule is It Has to Work | Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team | Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller | Henry Holt and Co. | 368pp; $42 | May 3
Moneyball was only the beginning: Michael Lewis’ book profiled Billy Beane’s attempts to get “baseball men” to take statistics seriously when the cash-strapped organization needed an edge. But what happens when a team is run that way from the ground up? When Ben Lindbergh (FiveThirtyEight) and Sam Miller (Baseball Prospectus) took over a team in Sonoma, California, they turned the diamond into their sandbox.
The Watchlist | 32 Stories by Persons of Interest | ed. By Bryan Hurt | Catapult | 512pp; $24.95 | May 10
What Jonathan Lethem did for amnesia in his anthology The Vintage Book of Amnesia, Bryan Hurt does for surveillance with The Watchlist — a genre of speculative fiction is firmly established. In Aimee Bender’s “Viewer, Violator,” a painting seems to be watching the head of a museum. T.C. Boyle’s “The Relive Box” is about a device that lets you revisit episodes of your life – and nobody gets any more work done. In Cory Doctorow’s “Scroogled,” everything that you fear happening online…is happening. Fortunately, if you close the paperback, the stories can’t see you. Maybe. I think.
Read the full article here.