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What to Read Now: Vol CXIX

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The Crane Wife
by CJ Hauser

This memoir in essays takes its title from Hauser’s 2019 viral essay from the Paris Review, in which she detailed how – a week after calling off her wedding – she went on a bird-watching trip.  The rest of these essays are as funny, as frank and as surprisingly moving as that one, and this is a great book to dip into.
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The Trackers
by Charles Frazier

From the author of Cold Mountain, here is a new novel set in Depression-era America. Artist Val arrives in Wyoming to paint a WPA mural on the post office. He quickly becomes involved with a local family, and when the wife – Eve – disappears with a valuable painting, he is called on to track her down. Frazier’s writing is as beautiful and evocative as ever and he brings Val and Eve’s world to life in vivid detail.
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Art Monsters
by Lauren Elkin

An exploration of feminism in art and literature, Elkin’s book is as experimental as some of the works she’s writing about.  Combining criticism and personal experience, Elkin finds parallels between creators as diverse as Fanny Burney and Lady Gaga.  It makes for a fascinating read.
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After the Funeral
by Tessa Hadley

A new collection of twelve short stories by Tessa Hadley, a master of the form. The stories explore the inner lives of ordinary people with unflinching honesty and compassion, from Janie whose mother is marrying a man who is closer to her own age than her mother’s, to teenager Cecilia who wakes up one morning and finds herself subtly changed.
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Big Caesars and Little Caesars
by Ferdinand Mount

Big Caesars and Little Caesars by Ferdinand Mount is a fascinating and timely book that explores the rise and fall of populist strongmen throughout history. Mount takes an often wry view of the characters through history – from Caesar himself, via Cromwell to Trump and Johnson – but doesn’t hold back in his criticism.
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We Dug Up the World
by Alexandra Stewart and Kitty Harris

A great non-fiction picture book about archaeology for would-be Indiana Joneses aged 6+.  From dinosaurs to space debris, here are the stories of some of the greatest finds ever to be dug up.  And we particularly love the illustrations – Kitty Harris also drew our brilliant children’s bookmark!
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