Rebecca Solnit’s new collection of essays will inspire, wreck, and revitalize you. From satirical takes on Donald Trump (the stuff that has to be laughed at, or you’d cry) to somber pieces on the consequences of gentrification, police shootings, and wrongful convictions, there is an essay in Call Them By Their True Names (Haymarket, $15.95) for everyone and every mood. Instead of coming away with unadulterated rage and a sense of injustice, you genuinely think, what I do matters—and I have to do more. Notable essays include “Preaching to the Choir,” “Monument Wars,” and “In Praise of Indirect Consequences,” as they encourage us to not despair—which you can find yourself doing just by reading the news—but to appreciate the small gains for the foundation they could someday be. Find comfort in Solnit’s words, and let them rouse you to care and to action.
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing contains many absolutely remarkable things, from the delightful characters to the unexpected, exciting plot. Hank Green uses his intimate knowledge of perks, hazards, and peculiarities of Internet fame to paint a fantastical yet surprisingly plausible portrait of his protagonist as she endures the fallout of making one of the most remarkable discoveries in the history of humankind. In accordance with his belief to “imagine others complexly,” Green never oversimplifies his plot or his characters, trusting readers to come to their own conclusions. (P.S. Be sure to take the book out for a quick flip-through and a delightful surprise!)
(This book cannot be returned.)
Though today’s Congress seems combative, all the filibusters and name-calling are nothing compared to when Congressmen actually stabbed and shot one another. From the infamous caning of Charles Sumner to endless duel challenges, historian Joanne Freeman shows that these frayed tensions were practically destined to erupt into Civil War. Remembering the Congress of the past solely as hallowed halls and dignified men is dangerous, she argues, as the real history reveals uncomfortable yet necessary truths about a union on the brink of collapse. Written with wit, flair, and a hint of cheek, Freeman presents these Congressmen as petty, triumphant, stoic, and vengeful—or, as she puts it more simply, human.