Here’s What TPM Is Reading While Social Distancing

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 27, 2020: A book storage area at the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky outside the Russian State Library; as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 infection, the Russia... MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MARCH 27, 2020: A book storage area at the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky outside the Russian State Library; as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19 infection, the Russian State Library has temporarily suspended services to readers and the admission of visitors to all its buildings from March 18 to April 12. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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March 27, 2020 6:04 p.m.

Staying mentally grounded has become increasingly difficult as COVID-19 continues to dominate the news cycle and our lives. Finding things to help distract ourselves and to get out of our heads for a little bit are a must, whether it’s a new hobby or skill, talking to family and friends, TV shows, movies or a good book. While we at TPM join much of the world in practicing social distancing, we asked our staff to share what books they’re reading while they cope with isolation.

Next month, we’ll share some more recommendations. Perhaps — fingers-crossed — we’ll have a more uplifting theme for our selections by then. Check it out below and let us know what you’re reading.

Cristina Cabrera, Newswriter

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Summer Concepcion, Newswriter

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Est s unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, many from her own traditions, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine.

Derick Dirmaier, Head of Product

The Thousands Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.” Now David Mitchell lends fresh credence to The Guardian’s claim that “each of his books seems entirely different from that which preceded it.” The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a stunning departure for this brilliant, restless, and wildly ambitious author, a giant leap forward by even his own high standards. A bold and epic novel of a rarely visited point in history, it is a work as exquisitely rendered as it is irresistibly readable.

Christine Frapech, Senior Designer

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene caused a wave of excitement among biologists and the general public when it was first published in 1976. Its vivid rendering of a gene’s eye view of life, in lucid prose, gathered together the strands of thought about the nature of natural selection into a conceptual framework with far-reaching implications for our understanding of evolution.

Josh Kovensky, Investigative Reporter

The Vory: Russia’s Super Mafia by Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti is the go-to expert on organized crime in Russia, consulted by governments and police around the world. Now, Western readers can explore the fascinating history of the vory v zakone, a group that has survived and thrived amid the changes brought on by Stalinism, the Cold War, the Afghan War, and the end of the Soviet experiment.

Nicole Lafond, Special Projects Editor

The Power by Naomi Alderman

In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect.

John Light, Managing Editor

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner

From the award-winning author of 10:04 and Leaving the Atocha Station, a tender and expansive family drama set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century: a tale of adolescence, transgression, and the conditions that have given rise to the trolls and tyrants of the New Right.

Joe Ragazzo, Publisher

The Gathering by Anne Enright

Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new.

Kate Riga, Reporter

The Jane Austen Collection by Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of the literary giants of all time, and Jane Austen lovers will adore the modern design of this deluxe boxed gift set containing six of her most popular and iconic novels: Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Emma.

Matt Shuham, Reporter

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Jia Tolentino is a peerless voice of her generation, tackling the conflicts, contradictions, and sea changes that define us and our time. Now, in this dazzling collection of nine entirely original essays, written with a rare combination of give and sharpness, wit and fearlessness, she delves into the forces that warp our vision, demonstrating an unparalleled stylistic potency and critical dexterity. Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

Tierney Sneed, Investigative Reporter

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility–a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors.

David Taintor, Senior Editor

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Jackie Wilhelm, Associate Publisher

Bringing Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The sequel to Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Bring Up the Bodies delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.

The Amazons by Adrienne Mayor

Driven by a detective’s curiosity, Mayor unearths long-buried evidence and sifts fact from fiction to show how flesh-and-blood women of the Eurasian steppes were mythologized as Amazons, the equals of men. The result is likely to become a classic.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Edith Hamilton’s mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture-the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.


 

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