Forget trashy thrillers and cringeworthy romances, this summer our customers have been reading about sex, terrorism, multiculturalism, corruption and much more. Andree Latham gives us the run-down of your favourite books this summer.
1. I Love Dick
Chris Kraus, author of Aliens & Anorexia and Video Green, has been called “one of the most subversive voices in American fiction.” Published in 1997, Kraus’s I Love Dick powerfully dissolves the criterion separating fiction from reality in a schizophrenic tale of infidelity, extreme vulnerability and inevitably, self-transformation.
2. The First Bad Man
Acclaimed filmmaker, artist and bestselling author Miranda July delivers a magnificent debut novel, which manages to be both addictively funny and heartbreakingly tender. July’s middle-aged protagonist, Cheryl, is a neurotic, sexually frustrated woman with a perpetual lump in her throat and an obsession with other people’s babies. When her boss’s 21-year-old daughter, Clee, moves into her house, Cheryl’s overly-controlled world implodes.
3. The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution
Winner of the Martha Gelhorn Prize and the Orwell Prize for Fiction, Patrick Cockburn documents the rise of ISIS from their formation during the Iraqi and Syrian civil wars through to becoming the notorious multi-billion dollar self-proclaimed digital caliphate.
4. The World of Sex
Henry Miller is renowned as one of the most scandalous authors of the 20th century. Drawing from his personal sexual experiences and the censorship of his novels in Paris, Miller boldly confronts the mysteries of erotica, placing sex at the forefront of social liberation.
5. Multiculturalism and Its Discontents: Rethinking Diversity After 9/11
Confronting the increasing anxiety about the presence of the "other" within our borders, Kenan Malik analyses the historical, political and social consequences of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism and Its Discontents is a vital work exploring the complex and highly controversial relationship between cultural diversity and terrorism in the wake of 9/11.
6. The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being
Wellbeing has been called the new religion of our age. In The Happiness Industry, William Davies argues how our emotions influence all aspects of our lives, from economic productivity and marketing to smart technology. Combining science, history and cultural theory, Davies provides a compelling study into depression, the notion of “Gross National Happiness” and the commercialization of private feelings.
7. Mad, Bad And Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present
Mad, Bad and Sad is the compelling story of how society has historically understood mental disorders in women, providing a vital analysis of how we might perceive these conditions in contemporary society. Reflecting on the addictions and emotional turmoil suffered by Marilyn Monroe and the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, Lisa Appignanesi’s work is both intelligent and highly relevant to our understanding of mental disorders today.
8. Agua Viva
Agua Viva, first published in 1973, is a deeply confessional and unadulterated meditation on everything that is present and sensed within moments of life, from sleep and perfume to the passing of time. Lispector’s poetic meandering between reality and fiction remains a huge influence on artists and writers today.
9. The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
This landmark publication electrified audiences on its release in 1970. The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women's liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics. Firestone documents the radical and grassroots history of women’s rights, drawing on the works of Freud, Marx, de Beauvoir and Engels to create a deft and visionary argument for feminist revolution. ■