Recently, Longreads published an article inspired by the seven deadly sins. The listicle, if you will, was made up of some wonderful writing, both entertaining and sophisticated. My personal favorites were author Emily Perper‘s choices for Sloth and Anger.
So I’ve decided to mimic Perper’s list only this time picking books.
Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Perhaps the greatest novel on pedophilia since Lolita and, arguably, a better work. Nutting has written some profoundly challenging fiction that eats at readers by daring them to enjoy the story. As Roxane Gay has said, Nutting’s novel is notable for its “sheer audacity and fearlnessness.”
The Prophet: The Life of Leon Trotsky by Isaac Deutscher
At over 1600 pages, this biography of the greatest revolutionary of the 20th century feels seemingly unending and, as such, leaves one feeling you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. I have always been fascinated by Trotsky, at once drawn to and repulsed by his Marxism. Deutscher is a superb scholar giving us a critical biography that’s rich and vast.
The Beyonce Effect by Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, editor
Given how news of Beyonce’s pregnancy with twins has set a good portion of the internet on fire, it is only appropriate to list the queen bee as envy. I wish there were more books like this bringing astute academic minds to bear on popular cultural icons that are both changing & challenging our understanding of sex, race, performance, music, & gender. A fantastic collection of easy to read but rigorous criticism.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
There will never be a lack for novels about greed in America. We, the people of the United States, are defined by our incessant and unrepentant avarice. Thus, the Great American Novel stands firmly here.
It’s a cliche that gaming and gamers are sloven, pasty trolls existing in tiny rooms and basements as they shun and are shunned by the populace. This trope is entirely fiction. Gamers are everyone everywhere because games have become a legit genre of storytelling touching all our lives. Parkin explores how time changes when one plays and how that can alter our understanding of life and death.
The Damned Utd by David Peace
Quite simply, this is a greatest sports novel of all time. About one of the greatest soccer managers ever who rode the waves of his own pride to success and failure.
Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith
I wrote a review of this collection of essays last year. It still resonates, so I’ll simply quote from what I wrote: “If it weren’t for Smith’s book…then I wouldn’t have had the resource to cope with the brutality of these shootings and the easy bigotry engendering and proliferating them.“
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