The Dispossessed

Ursula K. Le Guin

A planet named Urras is host to a habitable moon known as Anarres. Some seven generations ago, a group of communist settlers left Urras to build a colony on the moon, after which the communication between the colonists and the planet all but ceased.

The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. Le Guin

A human envoy arrives on a planet known as “Winter.” His solitary mission is to welcome the people of Winter to a collection of planets, but to do so he must first find welcome himself.

Playing the Whore

Melissa Gira Grant

The thesis of Melissa Gira Grant’s Playing The Whore is simple: sex work is work.

The Peripheral

William Gibson

Drones, haptics, ocular implants, virtual reality, climate change, nanotechnology, celebrity: like all of Gibson’s novels, The Peripheral is a novel of the future that’s entirely about the present.

A vigorous defense of the value of culture and a rejection of simplistic market fantasies that reduce art, journalism, and music to demand economics.

Naomi Klein’s newest book has a singular and irrefutable claim: responding to climate change requires nothing less than dismantling capitalism from the ground up.

Bad Feminist

Roxane Gay

We should all be as bad at feminism as Roxane Gay is.

The Boy Kings

Katherine Losse

An important counter-narrative to the usual mythical startup genre.

Remote

Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

A breezy and utilitarian introduction to remote working.

How to Live

Sarah Bakewell

Bakewell brilliantly extracts principles for living from Montaigne’s life and letters; this is a biography which is transparent about its purpose.

Men Explain Things to Me

Rebecca Solnit

The title is cheeky, the subject is not: Solnit’s explorations into the power structures that underlie violence against women, rape culture, marriage equality, and, yes—mansplaining—is both scathing and hopeful.

“I never set out to write this book,” Mary Ruefle begins. And yet, she did write it, and that contradiction is the first of many.

Tigerman

Nick Harkaway

Harkaway’s fiction occupies an extraordinary space between evocative sci-fi dystopia and Hollywood action-adventure—in other words, it is completely irresistible.

Merchants of Doubt

Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway

An important and infuriating book. The authors describe in detail the methods by which a few scientists successfully manipulated public opinion about tobacco, DDT, the ozone hole, global warming, and more.

Open City

Teju Cole

Teju Cole’s first novel is uneventful, but don’t let that deter you.

The Manual of Detection

Jedediah Berry

A playful novel, part Kafka, part Borges. Reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s films (in the best possible way).

Americanah

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie skewers racism and sexism in America in a story that is both affecting and hilarious.

Submergence

J.M. Ledgard

Escaping into Ledgard’s language is itself a kind of submergence—the book has a vaguely liquid quality as it moves between its characters and between the surface and the lower depths.