This is No Time to Be Conservative

From ussmokefilledroom.blogspot.com

We are watching a couple of old men from the Midwest reshape our government to preserve a way of life which is no longer relevant or viable. The Koch brothers and a few other billionaires have invested money, time, lots of energy and thousands of words into redesigning our democracy according to their conservative beliefs about economics, social matters, and business matters. They believe that governments are about defending a nation from foreigners and after that governments are about economics, pure and simple. They have created a web of think tanks and foundations that really do no new thinking. They merely preserve a way of thinking by repeating it over and over. It is their mantra and they dole it out to us in the form of talking points.

They have been quite successful, in what is a masterful campaign of propaganda and repetition, in swaying many Americans to fight to preserve a way of life that is dying a natural death and which cannot be saved. This is the pattern of an Industrial Age that began in the 18th century and boomed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. This is their way of life. We are not the owners of factories. We were only workers and now we are superfluous unless we still work for them.

We know how to do industry. We will always have factories. But clearly the model for the pattern that dominates our lives is changing. At one time the world was not at all industrialized and goods were the product of individual skill and someone’s imagination or strength. We once hunted whales but we no longer do that. Mankind keeps changing the way the world works without necessarily even meaning to. That is who we are. Our minds are never quiet. We remake the world every day until we remake it into a world that no longer works in the same old ways. So, America is no longer a mainly industrial nation. Industry, now that we understand the harm it has done to the earth, can only survive if it recognizes the need to find cleaner energies to produce the goods that will allow us to live comfortably on a healthy planet.

But these extremely wealthy old men are not ready to accept that America, just like the rest of the world needs to move on. They want to take a time-out and rusticate, keep an America that is white and Christian and of European extraction and let refugees from non-Christian nations disturb the rest of the nations across the oceans, but not us. They want to deny science, stop educating the peasants (the worker class) and stick to what they know, using melted dinosaur guts to make stuff and ship stuff and sell stuff and keep their wealth growing.

These conservative billionaires have goaded the Republican Party to take over the reins of our government and recreate it in the image hashed out in their think tanks and foundations. We have them to thank for our current President. We have them to thank for the 2017 budget and tax reform. These are their talking points come to life. And they are rich and successful men so it is far more likely that they know what works than that you or I do. At least that is what we say to ourselves. But new elements that build to a new era in human history have not always come from the richest and most successful people. They often rise-up from more humble origins. The wealthy get stuffy and cautious. Drastic change is not always in their DNA. They have no reason to change their world. It works for them and they are determined to keep it just the way it is.

But perhaps they are wrong about how well the things that worked in the past will work in the future. Perhaps they are wrong about the whole economic worldview they have decided to pitch their tent on. If we are to increase the deficit of our nation, do we do it to continue to support the whale hunters of our time? Perhaps, some of us argue, money that will really be a pittance to these wealthy people would be better spent training Americans to do the jobs that are not filled because no one is trained to do them. In the meantime, putting all that expertise into the minds of Americans who are idle and perhaps unfulfilled can be valuable in terms of the creativity it might inject into America’s future. Spend those dollars that American industry does not need to build the infrastructure we need now even though the ways we transport ourselves may someday be more fantastical than anything we can build for right now. That would be a deficit that might be justifiable, that might offer real returns in terms of the quality of life for everyone in America.

The reason I fight against this budget and this tax reform is because they will be unproductive. If we go down the conservative road it will be like throwing our money away. If we add to the deficit then we need to do it as a grand experiment in improving the future of America for all of us and not these few old men, these almost extinct whalers. The last time America was stuck in the Great Depression we did not make life better for millionaires and billionaires. We made life livable for ordinary folks and it worked. We slowly but surely, with our government putting its faith and its money in people who had no net worth, pulled our economy back from the brink of destruction to relative health, even before WW II led to that post war boom we have basked in for most of our days.

The future of the world is uncertain. We may not be able to hold on to order. The world seems as if it could explode into chaos at any moment. Overpopulation alone could leave people looking for new spaces that seem much too empty and filling them even through violence if necessary. We could easily become a survivalist planet. But we don’t have to go down that path either, at least we may still be able to avoid it, but we need some truly innovative ways to think about almost everything. This is the globalism everyone dreads because they think it means surrendering their identity or their autonomy. I do not see why doing some global planning necessarily requires the loss of those things. Someday in the far distant future we might not mind giving up national loyalties for a whole-planet government but we are nowhere near ready for such a system now. This is no time to be conservative however. Give us a budget and a tax bill that respects the power of ordinary people and invests in those people and we will help you pass it.

Lose Medicare/Medicaid in Exchange for Puny Tax Cut

Perhaps you thought the 2017 Budget was already passed, but that was only a Budget Plan. What happens with the budget will, in the end, depend on what happens with the tax plan. If the Republicans go over the mandated rise in the budget deficit by offering rich folks a few too many perks then they will end “reconciliation” rules in the Senate and have to come up with 60 votes for the tax plan (which they do not have). That’s their problem. The tax plan and the budget plan are connected. But this is also a problem for all of us and one we perhaps do not see. As for me, when I think about the 2017 Budget Plan all I see is the cuts it will make to Medicare/Medicaid. In fact these two cuts sort of keep flashing in the forefront of my mind as if tricked out in flashing neon lights.

So all this time, as we are watching the GOP rush a tax reform plan through the Senate, I still see those “Medicare and Medicare cut” signs flashing away, as if I were living in a cheap noir hotel room. If passed, then the tax plan in the Senate has to make a “mash-up” with the House version, and then come up for a final vote. If the Senate version is killed now, then that will put the tax plan to rest, at least until the GOP turns it into a zombie tax plan, giving it a “life after death”. It will also make the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid less justifiable.

The Republicans insist that the middle class will like this tax “cut” while the Democrats, and many bipartisan number-crunchers say that this is a tax “cut” for the wealthiest Americans. Charts show that some in the middle class will get small cuts, in the $1-2,000 range, and others in the middle class will actually see their taxes rise. Since those neon Medicare/Medicaid lights are still flashing behind my eyes, I have to ask if we will save enough in taxes to make up for what we will lose in benefits. (And if the tax plan overturns the individual mandate, seniors aren’t the only ones who will lose health care.)

Perhaps you don’t need Medicare or Medicaid right now so this trade-off doesn’t concern you. But why are you, not a rich person, being asked to pay for tax cuts for wealthy corporations and Americans? Why are we, if I include myself because I am in the lower middle class, losing benefits we will need someday, or that many Americans need right now, while some people are enabled to stockpile more money than they can spend in several lifetimes?

Well here is the real reason I am taking all this so personally right now. This is a picture of my mom at her 100th birthday party this August. She’s a cutie isn’t she? But about two months after this happy occasion mom started to go downhill. She lost her mobility, which meant she was spending more time in bed. Being able to rest in bed sounds sort of like a reward for a busy life raising eight children, keeping a house, and coming up with a variety of ways to contribute to the family income. Well not so much as it turns out. Apparently there are bad things that happen to old, frail people who spend all of their time in a bed. I will not go into detail because my mom would hate it. Suffice it to say, that my mom, who has been on Medicare for 38 years now finds herself having to go on Medicaid to pay for the 24/7 care she needs at a nursing home.

If you think the government makes it easy to get on Medicaid then you have never had to do it. There are all kinds of financial guidelines that must, without exception, be met. Even a person like my mom who has always made do with a very small social security income has a tough time complying with these financial guidelines. My sister has been working on this paperwork for over a year and my mom has still not been qualified for Medicaid. The decision to put a beloved (or even a less-than-beloved) parent into a nursing home is difficult enough without the rigorous task of qualifying for Medicaid. There is lots of threatening language in case anyone might try to cheat the system, although it might not scare people who actually cheat.

If we keep letting Republicans cut our safety net programs to pay for their fantasy that giving more money to corporations will create exponential growth in the economy and in jobs, then we are crazy. These Republicans have no idea if growth will happen as a result of their tax plan and their budget, and all the evidence suggests that these cuts will not produce an economic renaissance in America all on their own. But we do know that cutting safety net programs means cutting budget items that benefit the middle class and that this will be a hardship on all of the middle class at some time in life.

My mom will probably not have to worry about losing her Medicaid but how about your mom or dad? What will your family do if a parent needs care that is more extensive than you can afford to give? Will we go back to the days when people experienced a sometimes long and undignified death without palliative care? I would not want that for my mom, nor do I want that for me. So which do you choose, a puny and temporary tax cut, or keeping your social safety net assistance.

These Republicans are so mean that they might cut our benefits even if we don’t get a tax cut. They have been like ugly trolls just drooling to cut us loose for years. We do pay taxes but probably not enough taxes to pay for safety net programs without those upper middle class and wealthy folks who pay more taxes. I suppose if rich folks no longer accept that our society is a collaboration between all Americans to keep our culture operating on a level that is comfortable and hygienic, then, in the long run, there is not much we can do about it. But to my mind, we will no longer be the democracy/republic we take such pride in. You should be against the Republican Tax Plan and against the Republican budget plan. Both are shite (because swearing in British English doesn’t actually seem like swearing).

Addendum (12/3/2017)

A colleague of mine on tremor.com, James T McGuiness, reminds all of us that seniors are not the only ones who could be affected by budget cuts to Medicare/Medicaid that supposedly prevent the tax bill from exploding the deficit. Americans with disabilities will be harmed by this tax bill in the same indirect ways as seniors will and the fact that these cuts happen only after the tax bill is passed and, therefore are hypothetical at this point in time, insures that almost no one is paying attention. That all of our lives are being so powerfully affected by bills that are drafted in secret, never debated and passed in the middle of the night by reconciliation which requires only a simple majority (of one) makes the whole business truly reprehensible, and yet the Americans who will be most affected have been led to believe that the tax bill will be good for them. I assume they can only believe something that is completely against their own real interests because they have been turned into “pod” people a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers by a con man who pretends to understand them. In this case it looks like the GOP is giving us a hug, but it is actually a pretty big, although somewhat delayed, slap.

Keep An Eye on the Media Takeover

Media News concept

On the very day of a media takeover, on the day that all a nation’s media comes from one ideological source that nation becomes a dictatorship, a nation ruled by one authority, an autocracy. On that day in America our Constitution becomes moot and our democracy/republic dies. We have Conservative millionaires and billionaires in this nation who are trying to make right wing media the only media view available when you turn on your radio, your TV, and eventually your computer. They have enough money, time, and clout to make this happen.

This attack on our media has been going on for decades. We all know the names of the right wing radio hosts: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. Limbaugh began broadcasting politics on the radio in 1984, Beck in 2000, Levin in 2006. It is likely that there are more right wing talkers who are less famous.

People know these names because these media people have been haranguing Americans on the road and in their garages for years. Their popularity did not go unnoticed by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes who, in 1996, established Fox Network News, broadcasting right wing “news”, opinions, and conspiracy theories on our TV’s 24/7. I know that Fox News runs all day long on televisions all over America and has for years, spouting right wing “propaganda” targeted at Americans who nurture grievances against almost any topic you can name.

Conservatives have already taken over our government – they control all three branches, and a majority of state governments (they’re still working on this). Now they are going for our media. Despite their clumsiness in governing they are still in the driver’s seat. They are stuffing Federal courts with conservatives (some ridiculously unqualified). I seem to be the only person in America who thinks this looks like a coup from the inside. It looks to me like conservatives, who have nursed their own grievances, will finally win the Civil War.

One group on the attack to co-opt our media is Sinclair Broadcasting Group led by the conservative Smith family, David D. Smith is the current executive officer. Sinclair already controls 70+ stations in markets across the nation. Here’s a list if you want more detail:

http://www.stationindex.com/tv/by-owner/Sinclair

Sinclair requires local news channels to insert right leaning “news” into their broadcasts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/business/media/sinclair-broadcast-komo-conservative-media.html

At one time they used talkers recognizable as right wing “Trumpers”, but now the talkers they use are more generic. If you think someone is a right wing commentator and you look them up on line most likely you will see that they are on the staff at Sinclair Broadcasting.

For some time now Sinclair has wanted to expand into other markets by merging with Tribune Media. Today an article in the NYT suggests that the legal way has been cleared and we will probably hear soon that Sinclair gets its way and the American people lose more ground.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-fcc-media-merger-rule-20171116-story.html

Also today my news feed tells me that the Koch Brothers are seeking to help the conservative group Meredith enlarge their media empire by merging with Time, Inc., a merger which has been attempted before and failed due to financial concerns. Now that the Koch brothers have given financial backing to Meredith their bid is looking more likely to become a deal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/business/media/koch-brothers-time-meredith.html

Normally the FCC and the courts would prevent these kinds of media monopolies, but the right seems to have cornered every agency that they can use in their quest to control America. Perhaps they do not realize that by controlling America in this way they destroy it. Perhaps they don’t care.

As far as I know, although mainstream media tends to lean left, the closest the left comes to owning media is what we find on MSNBC in the evenings. The left does not believe that it is appropriate for one ideological camp to own the media. How do we fight back against these obnoxious conservatives who don’t mind flirting with shutting down opposition views, in other words establishing an authoritarian right wing state where our democracy once lived? At the very least we should call it out every time we see it and repeat our concerns over and over again. In other words, we resist.

 

 

Women in the Trump Years

There is no reason for women to love this administration. It is full of men who still feel that women’s liberation was bad for men, bad for women, bad for families, for America, and for the world. At a moment when Saudi women are gaining the right to drive a car (granted by men of course), men in power in America are headed in the opposite direction.

Men want to overturn Roe v Wade, but, and this is perhaps even more worrisome, they want to take contraception away from women and families. GOP men long for the return of the Old Testament Biblical role of women as submissive to men. I have heard men in the GOP blame women for the demise of the nuclear family. (If these same men had paid their workers better families may not have required two paychecks to get ahead.) Myself, I guess I might credit God who gave women brains that are wired in such a way that they are not always best used for only child care and housekeeping, and men who claim a direct connection with the deity who do not know this.

Our political committees, more than ever, resemble some old-timey church synod. The face Congress presents is a table full of groomed and pampered old white men either looking stern as an inquisitor (Mitch McConnell) or smiling maniacally (everyone else). If Roy Moore is one of the new faces joining this group, women are in for some really biblical-level judgmental pronouncements at least or lots of supposedly holy vitriol that ends in legislation that sets women’s rights back decades at most.

What are women to think as they watch these peak years of white male backlash against women and black folks, with black women getting a double whammy? What are women to think when many white men and even some white women elect as our President a misogynist-in-chief who is so immersed in his wealthy white male privilege that he does not even believe misogyny is a real word? Men may not wear creepy white sheets with pointy masks to put women back in their place but they have access to centuries-long, tried-and-true methods to keep the little woman in line.

Fortunately, women are more empowered than ever as a group from at least four decades of meaningful work, often combined with managing busy, productive families. Collectively women are not at all intimidated by these troglodytes. But in our private moments we are worried that the progress women have made in terms of exercising autonomy may be blocked by these throwbacks, something that has happened too many times before to be at all acceptable in the 21st century.

Many women, now retired or incredibly successful in their careers, feel free to go on the attack against powerful men who have been secret Cro-Magnans for decades, forcing women to “get past them” or “show proper submission” so that they may grant these women dispensation or permission to enter this male domain, but only as humiliated acolytes. Now women can speak up about men who intimidate women through sexual abuse or the threat of sexual abuse. These women made it through the gauntlet and got rewarded with successful careers. They now can argue that this is not a true “rite of passage” but only one practiced by men with a social sickness, men who possess antisocial traits. They have an opportunity to pave a less humiliating path to success for women in the future.

Perhaps you are bothered by my rather mixed metaphors but it points out the rich mine of male imagery that descends through the literature of centuries of male dominance. Perhaps more primitive times called for more muscular behavior, but the entire arc of history brought us to this moment when brains, rather than muscles are the currency we value. Men and women may have developed in ways that allow their minds to work differently, but brain power does not vary by gender.

As a woman, what I see is that, hopefully, this administration presents to the world as a last-ditch attempt to assert white male authority in America once and for all. It looks like men are winning and that this battle of genders will go on and on, but it also looks like men are losing. They have had to “go rogue” to hold on to power. They had to create the “pod” people from disenchanted Americans caught on the downbeat side of changes they do not understand or want. They accomplished this by haranguing them 24/7 with fake news, fake political promises, fake religion, and fake sympathy. In other words men did this by cheating. But women do not intend to let the troglodytes reign again. Women, at least most women, do not seem susceptible to becoming “pod” people or falling prey to the GOP male-dominated attack on a future that will still, inevitably, arrive.

Countable App – A Great App

Do you have the Countable app? If you don’t you should download it. It is the most helpful app for citizens who want to participate in their democratic government. Although it leans left, it is not exclusively used by liberals. It has a format that is so well-designed that it allows you to stay in your chosen bubble and still use the site to your advantage.

Each day the staff at Countable tells you what bills are coming up for a vote that day, with the House being far more active, often considering resolutions rather than bills, and the Senate doing far less, but considering matters that could have far larger impacts on we the people. They explain each matter under consideration by either body and the explanations are in everyday language. They look at each matter from both partisan positions. They explain what a “yea” vote would mean and what a “nay” vote would mean.

After that you get a chance to comment on why you would vote yea or nay on the matter, or to explain your position on the matter. That is satisfying enough, but after your comment is posted it can be read by other countable clients and they can “like” it or even endorse it. There is more. The app will forward your comments about a resolution or a bill, or sometimes even just an issue or a policy, directly to your senators and representative. I get letters from my representative all the time thanking me for my input (which he, of course, disagrees with) and I get nicer letters from my senators because they agree with me more often than not (lucky me). This offers proof that the app functions exactly as promised. It is such a good app that it won recognition recently as the best new app.

Here’s an article on the subject:

https://www.wired.com/2014/05/countable/

 

Women’s Rights Under Sneak Attack

Did you know that an obscure section of the Republican Tax Bill, if approved, could grant “personhood” to fetuses? The tax bill would allow you to open a College Savings account for your unborn child. This looks like a sneaky way to grant personhood to the unborn. Once a group of multiplying cells becomes defined as a person at conception, overturning women’s reproductive control over their own bodies will be a done deal, and women’s rights to choose will disappear. There is no way that this fraught issue should be settled in such an underhanded /backhanded way. When we approach this decision head-on personhood for embryos has not been popular enough to become the law of the land. We must always beware of 400+ page bills, but we should be even more wary of bills that are deliberately rushed to the floor to prevent public appraisal. This is not the tax deal the middle class is looking for.

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/02/republicans-inject-extremist-fetal-personhood-language-tax-plan/

 

November 2017 Book List

Books seem to be available so quickly that the topics authors have written about this month are still trending on social media and in the news. Some books are self-published and the turnaround on that can happen fast, but even books from publishers seem to arrive on the market faster than they once did. You will find lots of nonfiction titles in this list that talk about Russia and obviously the news is the source of interest for that subject. You will also find books that may have been timed to appear close to Halloween. And you will find new books by popular authors also in this lengthy book list. Once again, I will have to choose selectively for my future reading endeavors as there are too many titles to cover. This time I find myself attracted to some of the biographies and memoirs.

November Editor’s Picks

Vacationland by John Hodgman (NF)

The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty

The Vanity Fair Diaries 1883-1992 by Tina Brown

An American Family by Khzir Khan

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Everything is Awful and Other Observations by Matt Bellassai

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

Literature and Fiction

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory McGuire

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel by Louise Erdrich

The Revolution of Marina M: A Novel by Janet Fitch

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda

Hunter of Stories by Eduardo Galeano, Mark Fried

Mysteries and Thrillers

The Unclaimed Victim by DM Pulley

The House of Unexpected Sisters (The New Ladies #1 Detective Agency Novel) by Alexander McCall Smith

The Midnight Child (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child

Hardcore Twenty Four by Janet Evanovich

Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir

The Quantum Spy: A Thriller by David Ignatius

The Extraditionist (A Benn Bluestone Thriller) by Todd Merer

End Game (Will Robie Series) by David Baldacci

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Wonder Valley: A Novel by Ivy Pochoda

Typhoon Fury by Clive Cussler

Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Sisters of the Crescent Empress by Leena Likitalo

Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir

The Nine (Thieves of Fate) by Tracy Townsend

Biographies and Memoirs

An American Family by Khizer Khan

Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis

The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spy Master James Jesus Angleton by Jefferson Morley

The Vanity Fair Diaries 1985-1992 by Tina Brown

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan

American Witness: The Art and Life of Robert Frank by R. J. Smith

Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life by Robert Dallek

Vacationland by John Hodgman

Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser (NF)

Nonfiction

It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by AJ Jacobs

Seduced by Mrs. Robinson: How “The Graduate” Became the Touchstone of a Generation by Beverly Gray

Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saved by Jessica Yu

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

Everything is Awful and Other Observations by Matt Bellassai (Comedy)

The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief and Compassion, Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst

What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism by Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

Dawn of New Everything: Encounters with Realty and Virtual Realty by Jason Lanier

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone by Richard Lloyd Parry

October 8

Fiction

Manhatten Beach by Jennifer Egan

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe

The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson

New People by Danzy Senna

Sisters by Lily Tuck

3 Novels set in Ireland – Past and Present

A Son Called Gabriel by Damian McNicholl

The Good People by Hannah Kent

The Trout by Peter Cunningham

Nonfiction

A Force so Swift by Kevin Peraino

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt

Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend by Meryl Gordon

World without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

The Choice (Memoir) by Edith Eva Eger

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro (6 women and what they ate)

October 15

Nonfiction

Grant by Ron Chernow

2 Books on Sleep

Snooze: The Lost Art of Sleep by Michael McGirr

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

More nonfiction

The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff

The Unfinished Palazzo by Judith Mackrell

Cuz by Danielle Allen (a woman writes about a cousin she loved who spent his life in prison)

Greater Gotham by Mike Wallace

The Riviera Set by Mary S. Lovell

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan

Fiction

Crime Fiction

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Deep Freeze by John Sanford

The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen translated by William Frost

Cast Iron by Peter May

Other fiction

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Savage Country by Robert Olmstead

October 22

Fiction

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

For Two Thousand Years by Michael Sebastion

The Revolution of Marina M by Janet Fitch

The Red Haired Woman by Orphan Pamuk

Nonfiction

“Riot Days”: A Memoir of Punk Protest and Prison Activism by Maria Alyokhina (member of Pussy Riot)

The Future is History by Masha Gessen

Stalin, 2nd vol., Stephen Kotkin

Red Famine by Anne Applebaum

Lenin by Victor Sebestyen

4 Books on Revolution

Arc of Utopia: The Beautiful Story of the Russian Revolution by Leslie Chamberlain

Lenin 2017: Remembering, Repeating, and Working Through by VI Lenin, Ed Slavojzizek

The Experiment: Georgia’s Forgotten Revolution 1918-1921 by Eric Lee

Crime and Punishment in the Russian Revolution: Mob Justice and Police in Petrograd by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa

(There are more lists of “great” books about Russia in the NYT Book Review for Oct. 22, but they are not new)

October 29

Fiction

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Thriller Roundup

Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel

The Quantum Spy by David Ignatius

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

Shadow of the Lions: A Novel by Christopher Swann

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Other fiction

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Best True Crime Stories

Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder by Pia Eatwell

The Death of an Heir: Adolph Coors III and the Murder that Rocked an American Brewing Dynasty by Philip Jett

Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City by Kate Winkler Dawson

Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits: The Crime Spree that Gripped Belle Epoque Paris by John Merriman

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater (for teens and parents)

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling

The Apparitionists by Peter Manseau

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin

4 Suspense Novels

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

The Blind by AF Brady

Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah

The Second Sister by Claire Kendal

November 5, 2017

Nonfiction

The Impossible Presidency by Jeremi Suri

The Three Lives of James Madison by Noah Feldman

Democracy and Its Crisis by AC Grayling

I Hear She’s a Bitch by Jen Agg

Friends Divided by Gordon Wood (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson)

We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian by Richard Aldous

Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, the Agitator, the Legend by Christina DeStefano translated by Marina Harss

Crime Fiction

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly

The Midnight Line by Lee Child

After the Fire by Henning Mankell

Fiction

All the Dirty Parts by Denise Handler

Smile by Roddy Doyle

11 New Recommended Books

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagan

Five Carat Soul by James McBride

The Apparitionists by Peter Manseau

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Black Dahlia, Red Rose by Pia Eatwell

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

The Dark Net by Benjamin Parcy

Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin

Prince: A Private View by Afshen Shahidi

October 9

The Shattered Lens: A War Photographer’s 81 Days of Captivity in Syria – A Story of Survival by Jonathan Alperyrie with Stash Luczkiw (NF)

Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Education of a Young Poet by David Biespiel (NF)

In the Distance by Herman Diaz (F)

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (F)

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (YA-F)

The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost by Peter Manseau (NF)

Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People by Deborah Dash Moore (NF)

A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney (F)

The Secret Life: Three True Stories of the Digital Age by Andrew O’Hagan (NF)

Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation: From 1470 to the Present by Serhii Piokhy (NF)

Uncertain Glory by Joan Sales translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush (NF)

The Gourmand’s Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy by Justin Spring (NF)

October 16

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee (NF)

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine (Thriller)

Extreme Cities: The Perils and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change by Ashley Dawson (NF)

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris (NF)

Righteous: An IQ Novel by Joe Ide (F)

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (NF)

Venom: The Secrets of Nature’s Deadliest Weapons by Ronald Jenner and Eivind Undheim (NF)

Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan (Memoir)

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith (NF)

Renoir: An Intimate Biography by Barbara Ehrlich White (NF)

October 23

The Thin Light of Freedom: Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America by Edward L Ayers (NF)

The Safe: A Novel by Christophe Boltanski translated from the French by Laura Marris (NF)

Verax: The True History of Whistleblowers, Mass Surveillance and Drone Warfare by Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil (NF)

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World by Christopher de Hamel (NF)

American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Einoury and Kevin Maurer (NF)

The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums by Will Freidwald (NF)

Meant to Be by Julie Halpern (YA Fantasy adults might enjoy)

Literally Me by Julie Houts (F)

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks (F)

Dying to Live: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (F)

October 30

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende (F)

The Meaning of Belief: Religion from an Atheists Point of View by Tim Crane (NF)

Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott (F)

In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli (NF)

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 by Stephen Kotkin (NF)

After the Fire: A Novel by Henning Mankell (F)

Calder: The Conquest of Time by Jed Perl (NF)

November 6

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us: Essays by Hanif Abdurraqib (“providing the reader with the sensation of seeing the world through fresh eyes”) (NF)

Mrs. Ormond: A Novel by John Banville (F)

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish, and the Art of Growing a Backbone by Juli Berwald

Fool’s River (A Poke Rafferty Thriller) by Timothy Halliman (F)

Black Tudors: The Untold Story by Miranda Kaufman (NF)

Nobu: A Memoir by Nobu Matsuhisa (NF)

The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad (NF)

Freya by Anthony Quinn (F)

Bonfire: A Novel by Krysten Ritter (Thriller) (F)

The Illiac Crest by Christina Rivera Garza translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker (F)