This weekend, here are the books staring down the Amazon Books Editors from the tops of our TBR piles: A memoir from a poet, singer, and social activist who has managed to pack a lot of life into 30 years; a catastrophic heist straddling two terrible decades; a profane-yet-profound manifesto about finding hope in the seemingly hopeless morass of the modern world; and an exposé of an all-seeing surveillance network that might just drain that hope right back out of you.
No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir by Ani DiFranco
In this disarmingly honest memoir, poet, singer, and social activist Ani DiFranco chronicles her life until the ripe old age of… 30. How much living have we all done by then? For DiFranco, who was an emancipated minor at 15, quite a lot. No Walls and the Recurring Dream takes you from her unusual childhood (part of which was spent in a house with no internal walls!), to her accelerated coming-of-age, musical education, the creation of her own record label, and beyond. The further I get into it the more gobsmacked I am by her fearless pluck. If you’re a fan of her music, you’ll certainly enjoy DiFranco’s literary debut. But even if you’re not (which, have you heard her music?! It’s amazing), there is a lot of wisdom to glean from its pages. —Erin Kodicek
I haven’t read any true crime in a while, and Norco ’80, the story of a bank heist in the 1970s caught my eye. The attempted robbery took place in Southern California, where a group of landscapers and a religious zealot transformed themselves into a crew of bank robbers armed with military weapons. Their attempt at escape wove a path of destruction through neighboring towns leaving 32 destroyed police cars, three people dead, and many wounded. Norco ’80 looks at not only the crime but also the trial and issues of the times. Really excited to get started. —Seira Wilson
The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel by Claire Lombardo
Do you ever love a book so much you sort of pray for a low grade fever or pink eye, just so you can stay in bed and read? I’m having that experience with Claire Lombardo’s debut, The Most Fun We Ever Had (June 25). I serendipitously picked this up from our shelves because the ginkgo leaves on the cover spoke to me, and I’m so glad they did. I’m about a quarter of the way through this sharply funny and beautifully detailed novel, and I’m wondering if I should share a water glass with my sick colleague so I have an excuse to ignore my life and stay in bed this weekend to read. —Sarah Gelman
Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson
I'm one of many who enjoyed Mark Manson's direct, often potty-mouthed assertions in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and, along with entertaining me, the book actually provided a much-needed mental shift. Manson follows up this month with Everything Is F*cked: A Book About Hope (May 14). The title sounds like a contradiction, and so does the opening chapter at first. But Manson soon makes clear that reigniting hope is the book's goal. "We live in an interesting time in that, materially, things are arguably better than they have ever been before, yet we all seem to be losing our minds thinking the world is one giant toilet bowl about to be flushed. An irrational sense of hopelessness is spreading across the rich, developed world," he says. Creating hope is the way out of this morass of fear and stress. How to do that? Well, I'll find out this weekend! —Adrian Liang
Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us All by Arthur Holland Michel
We're all becoming accustomed to cameras everywhere, from our traffic lights to laptops, TVs, doorbells, and even our stuffed animals. But have you heard of Gorgon Stare? It's the "godlike surveillance system" developed by the Pentagon for overseas nemesis-peeping, able to track thousands of targets at once across city-sized expanses. And when used with AI, it can foresee attacks and save lives. But how will you feel when the same technology is applied domestically? Eyes in the Sky (June 18) shows us that it's already here, applied broadly and in secret, and that the potential ramifications go well beyond accurate traffic reports. With a name like Gorgon, what could go wrong? —Jon Foro
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