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Summer 2021 Books: Critics’ Picks


Rola Khalaf

FT . Editor

There are many great books to recommend to readers this summer, including John Preston’s books Autumn, the remarkable tale of the rise and fall of Robert Maxwell, and world for sale, where Javier Blas and Jacques Varchi tell the captivating stories of powerful commodity traders and the mysterious actors of markets and geopolitics. My top pick is a story everyone should read when we come out of the devastation of the coronavirus. Michael Lewis Obsession It is the story of a group of dedicated American scientists and medical specialists who spent years preparing for a Covid-like pandemic, but were frustrated at every turn by politicians and bureaucrats. He’s archaic Louis, astonishingly engaged and eerily terrifying to the failure of institutions. Now I’m reading Leila Slimani’s book the land of others The lively and multifaceted beginning of the post-1945 trilogy by the French-Moroccan author, which will be published in English in August as other country بلد.

Frederick Stodman

FT . Literary Editor

With travel still off the agenda, many of us have to do our exploration close to home. at Notes from Deep Time Helen Gordon invites us to look at the worlds beneath our feet, taking us back through billions of years to when the Earth was created, shaped, and transformed – literally the tropical beaches under the piers. Back in the day, I had a lot of fun with Alaa Al Aswany The Republic of False Truths A compelling account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, with all its dashed hopes and cynical repression. A powerful reminder of why fiction is the best way to express reality. Likewise, Sergey Lebedev untraceable Set in a world of poisoned dissidents, conflicting morals and the power politics of the Kremlin, this is a sinister thriller that is still surviving. Like many FT readers, the shutdown has prompted me to explore the world of audiobooks, catching up on some gems including Jonathan Cable’s reading of the wonderful Daniel Kellman. take over. A wonderfully terrifying blend of fact, fiction, and ideas against the backdrop of the horror and turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War. Great listening.

Alec Russell

FT Weekend Editor

I’ve read more steadfast books this year than any one year I can remember however one of them stands out easily: the passenger. The protagonist is a German-Jewish businessman who traverses his homeland on trains at first bewilderment, then horror in the aftermath Kristallnacht. It’s a stunning reflection of humanity’s frailty, a haunting graph of how quickly decency can explode, a thriller, and an insight into Nazi Germany. It was written by the author, Ulrich Alexander Buchwitz, a 23-year-old German Jew, with astonishing speed in exile in 1938. His fate and the tale of the manuscript’s discovery two years earlier are fascinating in their own right. His novel has been cited alongside that of Hans Valada – which is well worth it.

Camila Cavendish

Contributing Editor to FT

at Death: The Politics of DisasterNiall Ferguson provides a quick tour through disasters from the eruption of Vesuvius to the next Cold War. However, despite the series of tragedies that have been described, I found this strangely comforting. Ferguson adopts Amartya Sen’s mythological analysis that famines are generally man-made rather than natural—think Stalin’s collectivist policy—and extends the argument to epidemics. Epidemics are natural, but the United States responded more effectively to the Asian flu in 1957, in his view, than Covid-19. He criticizes bureaucratic failures and offers reflections on everything from death to science fiction. despot.

Simon Schama

Contributing Editor to FT

If you don’t have the time or patience for non-fiction works that only serve as communication; plodding of lead-boot trifles; If you are instead hungry for language with poetic, philosophical, visual, and musical performance, then the writer for you (and certainly for me) is Philip Hauer who Albert and the whale, largely a masterpiece, but also for summer enjoyment, riot, contemplation, illumination, and surely for reasons that will come to light when you live within its pages, a day at the beach. Ostensibly about Dürer’s bunny drawings, blue drum wing and the stunning watercolor painting of The Great Grass, Hauer also communicates with, among others, Erwin Panofsky, Thomas Mann, Marianne Moore, and Dr. : Swim, but never drown, in the ebb and flow of its free associations and learn comparisons. Oh yeah, you also get the cetaceans in all the enormity of the excitement, the deep, and the prophetic.

Enuma Okoro

Columnist at FT Life & Arts

In Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest novel, Where are they?, written in her adopted Italian language, and herself translated into English, remains the storyteller in whose hands we can always expect to find the holiness of the familiar and the grace of the mundane constantly revealed. We follow the meditative meanders of a nameless woman who cares about her life. As she watches the people in her, pondering her thoughts, as she moves through doors, up stairs, along hallways and down the streets of her corner of the world, we are reminded of how our lives are written. With little novels running the whole gamut of the human condition.

I am Okri

Novelist and poet

at At night, all blood is black David Diop publish griot The storytelling tradition of telling the horrific story of Africans in World War I. Diop reflects a narrative determinism that evokes feelings and facts that would have suffocated in any other novel, revealing that the mode of the tale is that of experience. A vital decolonization of the narrative tyranny of the Great War.

Nilangana Roy

Columnist at FT

‘The Book Everyone Talks About’ Burned Me Often, So I Approached Zakiya Delilah Harris The other black girl with doubt – The devil wears a hoodie Meets Get out, Oh really? The novel begins as an office drama—Nella, 26, is thrilled when Hazel joins Wagner Books, hoping to make friends with the “other black girl” at a liberal white publishing company in Manhattan—but dives into a bolder, darker terrain. Harris, who worked at Penguin Random House, delivers a thrilling thriller, deeply hilarious in its dispatch of racism in the diffusion and the obedient emptiness of diverse town halls, approaching horror in this cautionary tale of a naïve woman who confidently roams the forests of friendship. The other black girl It will make you laugh until you cry. My perfect summer read.

Tim Harford

Columnist at FT

Whether we support our own arguments or shooting down our enemiesJulia Galif says our metaphors betray the way we defend our beliefs like soldiers Scout mentalityWhy do some people see things clearly while others do not?. In a sharp and original book, she argues for a better metaphor: we should be like scouts, trying to map and illustrate an uncertain world. And it offered a thoughtful case of why the Scout mentality not only helps us be right, but helps us be happy.

Tell us what you think

What are your favorite books from this list – and which ones have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

Frog Frohr

Columnist at FT Global Business

at All I carried: The Journey of Case Ashley, A Memento of the Black FamilyHey Harvard University professor! Tia Miles It offers a great kind of scholarship for a heart-rending story about a simple cotton bag that tells the story of a people. The words embroidered on it are their own kind of art:

Grandma Rose
Ashley’s mom gave her this bag when
Sold at the age of nine in South Carolina كار
He was carrying a tattered dress 3 pieces of
Pecan braid from rose hair. I told her
always fill my love
You never see her again
Ashley is my grandmother
Ruth Middleton
1921

If you want a window into what it meant to be black in America for two centuries, read this.

Gillian Tate

FT Editor-in-Chief and Senior American Editor

If you want one book that not only gives you a solid idea of ​​why and how Racism is such a scourge in America today, but also charts a way to think about this in a more positive – and even optimistic – way for the future, Heather McGee‘s total build Reading should be required. Although it focuses on the African American community and Black Lives Matter messages, McGhee’s ideas can be conveyed anywhere. Better yet, read this with Isabel Wilkinson sect, to get a powerful lens on a problem now facing (almost) everyone in business and finance today.

Suzy Boyt

Novelist and Financial Times contributor

I loved Helen Garner’s girlfriend yellow notebook, the first volume of her memoir, which contains occasional notes of the highest order, along with the recurring threads of a painfully unraveling marriage, fierce mother-daughter love, the trials of a new suitor, career triumphs and disaster: “It pains me to knock this back . . . you are in Your best.” The sharp readings of literary works correspond to the sharp readings of life, all written with a brand of creative fervor, rigor, stimulating, often high-spirited, sometimes spiteful. She knows how to live, admiring the pajamas of a dying man or making calico pillowcases after drinking three glasses of Chablis, just to prove she’s not drunk.

Jemima Kelly

FT Alphaville Reporter

My summer reading routine usually consists of rambling around huge volumes whose pages are bleached and sun-broken over the weeks I take them. When the good weather finally came this year, I felt inclined to reach for something a little lighter. Melissa Broder milk feeding It was just a touching, poignant but also hilarious, sexy, and eccentric story about a young Jewish woman obsessed with food with a fat-shamed mother who falls in love with a much older orthodox woman she meets in a frozen yogurt parlour. A book I devoured him quickly and enthusiastically like the protagonist devouring the rainbow machine guns.

Summer 2021 books

All this week, Financial Times writers and critics shared their favorites. Some of the highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Date by Tony Barber
Thursday: Policy by Gideon Rahman
Friday: Imaginary by Laura Battle
Saturday: Critics’ Choice



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