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Welcome back to New & Hot Reads, where we talk about some of the most anticipated books coming out now
In Gutter Child, Jael Richardson presents a dystopian world where intergenerational disadvantage is an explicit part of the social order. There are no debates in this society about the meaning of privilege or to whom reparations might be paid: “The Gutter System” dictates that descendants of the indigenous people, who live in “the Gutter” area of this unnamed country, each owes a debt to the Mainland which they will spend their whole lives working off, or else pass on to their children. The debt is tracked carefully, and if a person works hard and lives long -- and is extraordinarily lucky -- they may get to spend their golden years debt-free. It’s something like The Hunger Games and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, but imbued with elements of racial politics that raise the stakes and make it feel urgent and relevant.
Veteran music journalist Nick Kent has plenty of stories to tell, but in The Unstable Boys he takes the liberty of making one up (as far as we know). The Unstable Boys were the 60s rock band that was supposed to make it, but didn’t. As sharply as they ascended to the heights of fame, they were propelled into obscurity by a series of misfortunes, to be remembered only by the most ardent aficionados. Among their enduring admirers is a crime writer, Michael Martindale, who in 2016 stumbles upon his own bout of misfortune. When the band’s frontman, known as “the Boy,” turns up on Michael’s doorstep his rock and roll dreams quietly begin to die -- in darkly comic fashion.
Have you been talking to yourself more than usual since about March of last year? For sure, many of us have had more time to spend with our inner voices than normal. Psychologist Ethan Kross says that’s not only normal, but that’s a conversation you can get more out of. In Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, he explains the science behind that inner voice, and offers methods for getting that voice to function as coach and cheerleader, rather than naysayer and critic. At a time of exceptional isolation, this book offers welcome wisdom for making peace with the only voice that doesn’t stop when we leave the Zoom meeting.
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