Human beings' capacity for survival is celebrated as one of our greatest traits, but often its what we must do to stay alive that keeps us up at night. This is the subject of The Skin, set in Naples in 1944 just after the Allied liberation. The city is in ruins and the black market is thriving. The novel's narrator is a former fascist collaborator turned Ally liason. The story is surreal and darkly comic and a strong reminder that high-minded civilization is forever teetering over an abyss of chaos.
James Bond is the late twentieth century's first and longest-lasting pop culture myth. Nothing solidified the franchise's place in our culture and our imagination than the songs accompanying each film. Kronengold and Daub's book looks at the good ("Live & Let Die", "Skyfall", "You Only Live Twice"), the bad ("Goldeneye", "Moonraker") and the ugly ("Die Another Day", "View to a kill"). The James Bond Songs places each track in its cultural context alongside its film, its structure, lyrics, and what that has to say about Bond and Bond in the culture at-large. This is an important, but above-all fun, piece of cultural criticism and a must for any Bond fan or pop culture junkie.
I worked at Politics & Prose for two-and-a-half-years and far and away the funniest author presentation was Gary Shtynegart for Little Failure. The book is no different either. There's easily 2 or 3 laughs per page and the guy is just killing with his self-deprecation. There's also some deeply poignant stuff about emigrating and being a fish out of water. But the laughs!