In a recent Salon interview, Georgetown University professor and political analyst Michael Eric Dyson asked, “[H]ow do you carry out a criticism of those with whom you disagree without losing your humanity or questioning theirs in the process?” He answers his own question in The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America. Driven by the hopes Obama raised with his historical rise to power, Dyson delivers a provocative scrutiny of a presidency as complex as the ongoing issues of race, and he does so with grace and wary empathy.
Racism. Oppression. Violence. Faith. Hopefulness. These themes have defined the black experience in America from the moment slaves touched shore. As African Americans continue their struggle, three new books cast fresh light on the journey from slavery to freedom.
It would appear that this tale ends before it begins: Big “canceled” stamps smatter the title page and book flaps of Frankencrayon. But not to worry—the dapperly dressed, bonnet-and-top-hat-clad crayons are eager to relay their tragic tale. The pencil helps narrate how their would-be monster story was waylaid by a scribble—a scribble that grows when the crayons attempt to fix it.
Acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo pens a spellbinding story within a story. Set prior to America’s involvement in World War I, Listen to the Moon is nothing short of extraordinary, a masterfully woven tale of history, the negative aspects of war and a subtle yet persistent message that love prevails.
Where’s the Baboon? is described as a “super bookgame” by author Michael Escoffier and illustrator Kris Di Giacomo. The story hits the ground running when a pair of mice scamper by, hoisting a pencil with a fellow mouse balancing on top. He calls out, “Let’s go search for hidden words!” and the game is on. Escoffier and Di Giacomo’s clever follow-up to Take Away the A will engage parents and children alike.
In the powerful first installment of a new trilogy from Michael Buckley, species collide in this sci-fi tale infused with emotionally charged themes of immigration and xenophobia.
“I’m of two minds,” we say. Or, “I changed my mind.” These phrases roll casually off the tongue, but we don’t mean them literally. Maybe we should, according to two new books that explore the fascinating history and tantalizing future of neuroscience.
Annoyance can be a powerful prod to action. And so after being annoyed for years by the praise much of the world lavishes on the supposedly enlightened Scandinavians, British writer Michael Booth has bestirred himself to take a closer, more jaundiced look at the people, customs, institutions and landscapes of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and his adopted homeland of Denmark. Are these five nations the political incarnation of human happiness? Well, maybe.
Will’s entire world exists inside the walls of his house. Raised by an agoraphobic mother, he’s taught to fear the world outside—and the world inside, too, wearing a helmet constantly and donning body armor just to change a light bulb. He feels safe. Then he goes outside, and everything feels strange.
In Michael Crummey’s novel, Sweetland, a Newfoundlander named Queenie offers some literary criticism. Concerning books about her province, she says: “It was a torture to get through them. They were every one depressing. . . . Or nothing happened. Or there was no point to the story.” She adds that they are unrecognizable and probably written by outsiders.