5 Books to read for the week

In this edition a lovely small-town yarn, the role of social media in modern war, a thriller you’ll want to read in one sitting, and the art of “mental archery.”

1). Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

I’m reading Virgil Wander, the upcoming release by Leif Enger. In it a small-town movie house owner loses control of his car and plunges into Lake Superior. He survives but his memory is spotty. As it returns little by little, we learn not only more about him, but the denizens of this flagging town. The set-up sounds a bit depressing, but so far it’s anything but. This quiet, Midwestern yarn packs a subtle emotional punch, and I’m finding myself smiling as I turn the pages. –Erin Kodicek

2). LikeWar by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking

As if we didn’t need more reasons to worry about the future. LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media is not just about the spread of disinformation and actual fake news across platforms we all use—we all can tell the difference now, right?—but the ways the internet and social media can and will be used in actual war: as a recruiting tool for ISIS, attacks on infrastructure, propaganda, manipulating perceptions about real-world battlefields, etc. Likewar is a readable yet serious book, and it’s being compared to On War and The Art of War for the digital age. That’s probably optimistic, since the forward-looking bits could be obsolete in three to five years, or maybe two, given the accelerated pace of technology and adoption. But as a snapshot of where we are now and how we got here, it’s scary and fascinating. —Jon Foro

3). Sadie by Courtney Summers

This weekend I’m planning a one-sitting read with Courtney Summers’ latest young adult novel, Sadie. This thriller about a young woman who goes looking for revenge after her sister is murdered, and the radio producer following in her tracks, documenting it all in a Serial-like podcast, is getting great buzz and looks like a book I won’t be able to put down…Just what I’m looking for in a weekend read! –Seira Wilson

4). Hark by Sam Lipsyte

I’m reading Hark by Sam Lipsyte. The book is being published in January 2019, and it’s sad to think that the rest of the world will have to wait so long to encounter the wellness technique of “mental archery.” Lipsyte is a satirical genius. He’s also just kind of a genius. I thank him for this gift. –Chris Schluep

5). Still Life with Monkey by Katharine Weber

If you’ve read Katharine Weber’s earlier novels, such as Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, or The Little Women, you’ll be as excited as I was to hear that she has a new book coming out in the first week of September. In Still Life With Monkey, Weber writes a love triangle of sorts, between Duncan, a paraplegic 37-year-old architect, his wife, Laura, an art restorer, and the dexterous little “helper monkey” she brings into their home to assist Duncan with simple tasks. Weber is an expert stylist who takes an admirably detached view of the high stakes in this plot: Duncan is considering suicide; Laura hopes to persuade him that life holds pleasures in store. For Weber fans, this new novel is a cause for celebration and is likely to win her many more admirers. –Sarah Harrison Smith


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