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The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2022

5 Books | by Likewise User verified icon

The New York Times named 100 notable books out this year. Which of them have you read?

Afterlives

Afterlives

Books

From the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, a sweeping, multi-generational saga of displacement, loss, and love, set against the brutal colonization of east Africa. When he was just a boy, Ilyas was stolen from his parents on the coast of east Africa by German colonial troops. After years away, fighting against his own people, he returns home to find his parents gone and his sister, Afiya, abandoned into de facto slavery. Hamza too, is back from the war. He was not stolen but sold into service, where he became the protégé of an officer whose special interest has left him literally scarred for life. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he seeks only steady work and safety – until he meets the beautiful, undaunted Afiya. As these young people live and work and fall in love, their fates knotted ever more tightly together, the shadow of a new war on another continent falls over them, ready to snatch them up and once again carry them away. Spanning from the end of the nineteenth century, when the Europeans carved up Africa, on through the tumultuous decades of revolt and suppression that followed, AFTERLIVES is an astonishingly moving portrait of survivors refusing to sacrifice their humanity to the violent forces that assail them.

American Midnight

American Midnight

Books

From legendary historian Adam Hochschild, a groundbreaking reassessment of the overlooked but startlingly resonant period between World War I and the Roaring Twenties, when the foundations of American democracy were threated by war, pandemic, and violence fueled by battles over race, immigration, and the rights of labor "A riveting, resonant account of the fragility of freedom.”—Kirkus, STARRED review The nation was on the brink. Mobs burned Black churches to the ground. Courts threw thousands of people into prison for opinions they voiced—in one notable case, only in private. Self-appointed vigilantes executed tens of thousands of citizens’ arrests. Some seventy-five newspapers and magazines were banned from the mail and forced to close. When the government stepped in, it was often to fan the flames. This was America during and after the Great War: a brief but appalling era blighted by lynchings, censorship, and the sadistic, sometimes fatal abuse of conscientious objectors in military prisons—a time whose toxic currents of racism, nativism, red-baiting, and contempt for the rule of law then flowed directly through the intervening decades to poison our own. It was a tumultuous period defined by a diverse and colorful cast of characters, some of whom fueled the injustice while others fought against it: from the sphinxlike Woodrow Wilson, to the fiery antiwar advocates Kate Richards O’Hare and Emma Goldman, to labor champion Eugene Debs, to a little-known but ambitious bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover, and to an outspoken leftwing agitator—who was in fact Hoover’s star undercover agent. It is a time that we have mostly forgotten about, until now. In American Midnight, award-winning historian Adam Hochschild brings alive the horrifying yet inspiring four years following the U.S. entry into the First World War, spotlighting forgotten repression while celebrating an unforgettable set of Americans who strove to fix their fractured country—and showing how their struggles still guide us today.

Avalon

Avalon

Books

A profound and singular story about a young woman searching for her place in the world, from one of America’s most original voices—the irresistible story of one teenager’s reckoning with society at large and her search for a personal utopia. Bran’s Southern California upbringing is anything but traditional. After her mother joins a Buddhist colony, Bran is raised by her “common-law stepfather” on Bourdon Farms—a plant nursery that doubles as a cover for a biker gang. She spends her days tending plants, slogging through high school, and imagining what life could be if she had been born to a different family. And then she meets Peter, a beautiful, troubled, and charming train wreck of a college student from the East Coast, who launches his teaching career by initiating her into the world of literature and aesthetics. As the two begin a volatile and ostensibly doomed long-distance relationship, Bran searches for meaning in her own surroundings—attending disastrous dance recitals, house-sitting for strangers, and writing scripts for student films. She knows how to survive, but her happiness depends on learning to call the shots. Exceedingly rich, ecstatically dark, and delivered with masterful humor, Avalon is a poignant portrait of a young woman who, against all odds, is determined to find her place in the world and find clarity in its remote corners.

Also a Poet

Also a Poet

Books

A staggering memoir from New York Times bestselling author Ada Calhoun tracing her fraught relationship with her father and their shared obsession with a great poet When Ada Calhoun stumbled upon old cassette tapes of interviews her father, celebrated art critic Peter Schjeldahl, had conducted for his never-completed biography of poet Frank O'Hara, she set out to finish the book her father had started forty years earlier. As a lifelong O'Hara fan who grew up amid his bohemian cohort in the East Village, Calhoun thought the project would be easy, even fun, but the deeper she dove, the more she had to face not just O'Hara's past, but also her father's, and her own. The result is a groundbreaking and kaleidoscopic memoir that weaves compelling literary history with a moving, honest, and tender story of a complicated father-daughter bond. Also a Poet explores what happens when we want to do better than our parents, yet fear what that might cost us; when we seek their approval, yet mistrust it. In reckoning with her unique heritage, as well as providing new insights into the life of one of our most important poets, Calhoun offers a brave and hopeful meditation on parents and children, artistic ambition, and the complexities of what we leave behind.

The Arc of a Covenant

The Arc of a Covenant

Books

A groundbreaking work that overturns the conventional understanding of the Israeli-American relationship and, in doing so, explores how fundamental debates about American identity drive our country's foreign policy. In this bold examination of the Israeli-American relationship, Walter Russell Mead demolishes the myths that both pro-Zionists and anti-Zionists have fostered over the years. He makes clear that Zionism has always been a divisive subject in the American Jewish community, and that American Christians have often been the most fervent supporters of a Jewish state, citing examples from the time of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller to the present day. He spotlights the almost forgotten story of left-wing support for Zionism, arguing that Eleanor Roosevelt and liberal New Dealers had more influence on President Truman's Israel policy than the American Jewish community--and that Stalin's influence was more decisive than Truman's in Israel's struggle for independence. Mead shows how Israel's rise in the Middle East helped kindle both the modern evangelical movement and the Sunbelt coalition that carried Reagan into the White House. Highlighting the real sources of Israel's support across the American political spectrum, he debunks the legend of the so-called "Israel lobby." And, he describes the aspects of American culture that make it hostile to anti-Semitism and warns about the danger to that tradition of tolerance as our current culture wars heat up. With original analysis and in lively prose, Mead illuminates the American-Israeli relationship, how it affects contemporary politics, and how it will influence the future of both that relationship and American life.

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