"It's like, if you have a nice garden to live in, then you should never leave it." If there were an FDA label for books, I might recommend it for Millet's A Children's Bible. Utterly engrossing and mind-altering, consuming too much in too little time might cause some serious side effects (in a good way). Millet's apocalyptic tale sneaks up on you, portraying humankind's slow but sure demise as witnessed by an unlikely passel of teenagers. True to the book's title, the book is rife with biblical themes, which, in a modern context, are revealed for all of the horror, devastation, and bloodshed they hold.
Nominated for the Pulitzer, Batuman's 2017 The Idiot may seem like it was published a lifetime ago by Information Age standards. That said, this sprawling account of a Harvard freshman circa 1995 makes readers feel like they've bought a one-way ticket to a prehistoric era. It's a world full of Chekhovian emails sent from campus libraries, anticlimactic love-triangles, and sad dining-hall food. Timeless, though, is the unique sense of existential dread and fruitlessness shared by all college freshman. As protagonist Selin notes: "I hadn't learned what I had wanted to about how language worked. I hadn't learned anything at all."
Phoebe Robinson has always been unapologetic when it comes to language. Playfully snarky, her newest round of essays hits the palate like a Sour Patch candy, with a healthy dose of salt on the side. Robinson quips her way through the worst of #quarantimes during the initial Covid-19 surge in 2020, switching abruptly between humorous hot takes and heartfelt calls-to-action, the same way you or I might switch abruptly from one Zoom meeting to the next. Follow Phoebe as she navigates WFH, the commodification of "self care," performative activism, 4C hair, and more!