It’s hot out and there’s no more World Cup. So, here are five fresh reading picks, hand selected for those looking for a cozy respite from the political craziness and crazy heat. From memoirs to a slightly different looks at the World Cup and North Korea to pure indulgent fantasy, these are the books you can’t miss this season.
Clever, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny, Roy Sekoff’s memoir is far from his first foray into writing. He is the now-retired editor of the innovative and revolutionary Huffington Post news site. Relentlessly engaging, his story of growing up reveals hints of the irresistible in-the-moment sense of humor Sekoff maintains to this day.
It’s a look at a life that embodies the very essence of “Hindsight is always 20/20”. Lacks Self-Control is as much of a celebration of a life as it is a lesson in parenting and preservation; here’s how you raise a kid without stifling his personality.
Assembled on the simple basis of growing up in America, Sekoff’s take on a number of coming-of-age situations like puberty serve as a moment to compare one’s own life and revel in one’s own experiences of life. In this way, it seems like we might all lack a bit of self-control; in a time we didn’t know what that meant. But as the book continues, Sekoff grows up in certain, surprising ways. But some things never do change. (Amazon, from $22.50)
Guardian journalist and photographer Oliver Wainwright takes offers an eye-opening tour behind closed doors in the most secretive country in the world, revealing that past the grand stone façades lie lavish wonder-worlds of marble and mosaic, coffered ceilings, and crystal chandeliers, along with new interiors in dazzling color palettes.
Discover the palatial reading rooms of the Grand People’s Study House, and peer inside the locker rooms of the recently renovated Rungrado May Day Stadium, ready to host a FIFA World Cup that will never come. This collection features about 300 photographs with insightful captions, as well as an introductory essay where Wainwright charts the history and development of Pyongyang, explaining how the architecture and interiors embody the national “Juche” ideology and questioning what the future holds for the architectural ambitions of this enigmatic country. (Amazon, from $60.00)
Looking for real escapism? Switch to Beatriz Williams’ stunning The Summer Wives, a story of cultural exposure and extravagant drama. Part Lady Bird, part The Great Gatsby, William’s writing style is lush and full of precarious but important details of the secrets and lies that haunt and drive the resort island. Set in the 1950s in the posh summer resort, it appears to be a story of haves and have-nots from the point of view of an outsider who is on the verge of being newly-initiated into the society. Miranda Schuyler arrives on elite, secretive Winthrop Island as a schoolgirl, still reeling from the loss of her father in the Second World War (something rich people don’t seem to understand). When her beautiful mother marries Hugh Fisher, whose summer house on Winthrop overlooks the famous lighthouse, Miranda’s catapulted into a heady new world of pedigrees and cocktails, status and swimming pools. Isobel Fisher, Miranda’s new stepsister—all long legs and world-weary bravado, engaged to a wealthy Island scion—is eager to draw Miranda into the arcane customs of Winthrop society. But a story of love and loss (again) shatter any illusions Miranda tries to buy into. (Amazon from $22.23)
For decades, serial entrepreneur James Prince presided over Rap-A-Lot Records, one of the first and most successful independent rap labels, now at the forefront with independent artists winning awards and recognition. This memoir reads as a sophisticated guide to earning respect in the setting of Black business, tapping into principles of heart, loyalty, and commitment, and an unwavering faith in God. It’s an approach that has lead him to defeat many adversaries in his long, luminous career.
Whether battling the systemic cycle of poverty, record label executives, boxing promoters, or corrupt DEA agents, Prince has always emerged victorious. Respect isn’t given, it’s earned. In recounting his compelling life story, Prince analyzes the art and science of earning respect – and giving respect – and how to apply these principles to your own life.
It’s a fascinating story that taps into the world of thoughtful black Americans who are showing their side of the world. (Amazon, from $18.91)
In a fascinating story in the aftermath of the heroic FIFA World Cup which just ended, McCreath’s thoughtful story is more than an athletic drama. It’s a story of realistic proportion: young brothers at the crossroads of life. One is a skilled footballer, the other is a bit of a wandering spirit, unsettled by his lack of calling. Amid exposure to terrorism in their daily life, the communal escape is the sport. Set in lush Argentina, from the plains of the Pampas to the boardrooms, boudoirs, battlefields, locker rooms and seething stadiums, ‘Renaldo’ is a love story unlike any ever written, and novel shockingly relevant to the times we live in.
This is a story for the international thinker and global mind, one sensitive to political implications. The story is fast-paced and accented by McCreath’s striking voice of authority regarding the game: McCreath sets this story in the world of football, not just a coincidental sports game as a plot move. Mildly dense, it’s for the football lover pining for the beautiful game to return on a global scale, and for them to reconsider the meaning of football. (Amazon, from $18.88)