July2017 Booklist 21 www.booklistonline.com
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the
American City. By Matthew Desmond.
2016. Crown, $28 (9780553447439).
In his Carnegie Medal winner, Desmond
tells the stories of two landlords and eight
tenant families in Milwaukee, revealing
how eviction sets people up to fail.
Factory Man: How One Furniture
Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed
Local—and Helped Save an American
Town. By Beth Macy. 2014. Little,
Brown, $28 (9780316231435).
Macy profiles a Virginia factory owner
who fought to save his company and
employees’ livelihoods from foreign
competition and shares other personal
stories from the front lines of American
Glass House: The 1% Economy and the
Shattering of the All-American Town.
By Brian Alexander. 2017. St. Martin’s,
Alexander’s in-depth examination of
Lancaster, Ohio, contrasts his hometown’s remarkable industrial history with
its current status as a poverty-stricken
community. An emotionally intense account of social and economic realities
found across the U.S.
Imagine Wanting Only This. By
Kristen Radtke. 2017. Pantheon, $29.95
In this graphic novel in essays, Radtke
explores her fascination with ruins, both
in the U.S. and abroad. What do ruins
mean in America and in countries with a
Threading My Prayer Rug: One
Woman’s Journey from Pakistani
Muslim to American Muslim. By
Sabeeha Rehman. 2016. Arcade, $25.99
Rehman recounts how she navigated
American society as an immigrant, retaining her identity while modifying
some traditions and manufacturing new
ones on her way to becoming a business
The authors of these provocative, ripe-for-discussion novels use incisive humor as a
mode for addressing complex questions about
the enormous impact social media and other
online phenomena have on every aspect of
our lives, offering unprecedented access to and
connection with the world while also blurring
the distinction between facts and lies, eroding
privacy, undermining trust, and impacting
livelihoods. —Donna Seaman
The Boat Rocker. By Ha Jin. 2016.
Vintage, $16 (9780804170376).
Ha Jin’s droll and suspenseful tale of
Feng Danlin, a newly naturalized American citizen and boldly idealistic journalist
in New York, raises urgent questions about
the role of the press, fake news, censorship,
and corruption in the Internet age.
The Circle. By Dave Eggers. 2013.
Vintage, $16 (9780345807298).
Mae is thrilled to be working at the
Circle, a Bay Area tech company, until
she discovers that it’s a short step from
social media to relentless surveillance.
Eggers’ novel is eerily plausible.
Goodbye for Now. By Laurie Frankel.
2012. Anchor, $15 (9780307951274).
In Frankel’s emotionally rich tale of
love and loss in the digital realm, software
engineer Sam develops an algorithm to
find not just a date but a soul mate, then
moves on to enable electronic communication with DLOs (dead loves ones).
John Henry Days. By Colson Whitehead.
2001. Anchor, $15.95 (9780385498203).
Whitehead contrasts the African
American folk hero John Henry, the
“steel-driving man,” with a struggling African American journalist in this funny,
inventive, and bittersweet novel contrasting the industrial and information ages.
Luminarium. By Alex Shakar. 2011.
Soho, $15 (9781616951832).
Twin brothers created a virtual-world
venture now owned by a rapacious
corporation within the “
Military-Enter-tainment Complex.” With George in a
coma, Fred embarks on a strange, tech-no-spiritual quest that juxtaposes prayers
and algorithms, e-mails and metaphysics.
Super Sad True Love Story. By Gary
Shteyngart. 2010. Random, $17
In this devilishly hilarious satire, Shteyn-
gart sets the love story of Lenny Abramov
and Eunice Park within a digital dystopia
where books are taboo and diabolical
devices broadcast everyone’s finances,
biochemistry, and sex appeal as America
collapses into ineptness, chaos, and tyranny.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. By
Joshua Ferris. 2014. Back Bay, $16
Ferris introduces Paul, a Manhattan
dentist who dislikes religion, other people,
and modern technology as he discovers
that impostors have stolen his professional
identity and set up a fake website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.
Touch. By Courtney Maum. 2017.
Putnam, $26 (9780735212121).
In Maum’s charming and funny mix of
romantic comedy and acid social critique,
trend-forecaster Sloane accepts a job at
a showy tech firm, but instead of initiating luxury electronics, she finds herself
advocating for less screen time and more