We are in the homestretch of our awards season, so our Staff Picks and Books to Watch feature will be on a sort of hiatus while we buckle down on our deliberations. We are still picking the books we are most excited about for our Books to Watch each week, but we will be using the publisher’s jacket copy instead of writing our own words about the books.
This week, our choices are:
The City of Mist: Stories by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Harper Perennial (GMC)
Return to the mythical Barcelona library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in this posthumous collection of stories from the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow of the Wind and The Labyrinth of the Spirits.
“Ruiz Zafón’s visionary storytelling prowess is a genre unto itself.”—USA Today
Bestselling author Carlos Ruiz Zafón conceived of this collection of stories as an appreciation to the countless readers who joined him on the extraordinary journey that began with The Shadow of the Wind. Comprising eleven stories, most of them never before published in English, The City of Mist offers the reader compelling characters, unique situations, and a gothic atmosphere reminiscent of his beloved Cemetery of Forgotten Books quartet.
The stories are mysterious, imbued with a sense of menace, and told with the warmth, wit, and humor of Zafón's inimitable voice. A boy decides to become a writer when he discovers that his creative gifts capture the attentions of an aloof young beauty who has stolen his heart. A labyrinth maker flees Constantinople to a plague-ridden Barcelona, with plans for building a library impervious to the destruction of time. A strange gentleman tempts Cervantes to write a book like no other, each page of which could prolong the life of the woman he loves. And a brilliant Catalan architect named Antoni Gaudí reluctantly agrees to cross the ocean to New York, a voyage that will determine the fate of an unfinished masterpiece.
Imaginative and beguiling, these and other stories in The City of Mist summon up the mesmerizing magic of their brilliant creator and invite us to come dream along with him.
The Connected Leader: 7 Strategies to Empower Your True Self and Inspire Others by Karen Joy Hardwick, Posthill Press (GMC)
We are not leaders having a leadership crisis. We are leaders having a human being crisis.
Connection is the antidote—yet, many of us don’t know how to connect to ourselves compassionately in order to enhance self-discovery. Without this gift, we cannot connect—in a meaningful way—to a higher purpose or engage with others to ignite inspiration.
With the help of Hardwick’s connection architecture, we can transform. By utilizing her strategies of connection, we can empower workplaces and relationships through the grace and grit, resilience and empathy that occur when our connection wiring is activated in healthy ways.
Hardwick’s willingness to share her story of struggle and triumph—along with anecdotes from the boardroom and family room—help us to awaken, heal, and courageously lead. She synthesizes the emotional, spiritual, and relational, giving us permission to look honestly at how we do damage to ourselves and others while inviting us to live and lead from a place of true well-being.
“The Connected Leader is profoundly important. Karen's written a guide that is at once both practical and actionable while vividly authentic and real. Using her own broken open heart, she shows how each of us is seeking presence and connection and that the best leaders, leading from a connected soul, create the conditions for a lasting sense of belonging.”
—Jerry Colonna, author, Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up
The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back by Donald Cohen & Allen Mikaelian, The New Press (DJJS)
America’s leading defender of the public interest and a bestselling historian show us how to prevent the private takeover of our cherished public resources
“An essential read for those who want to fight the assault on public goods and the commons.” —Naomi Klein
As people reach for social justice and better lives, they create public goods—free education, public health, open parks, clean water, and many others—that must be kept out of the market. When private interests take over, they strip public goods of their power to lift people up, creating instead a tool to diminish democracy, further inequality, and separate us from each other.
The Privatization of Everything, by the founder of In the Public Interest, an organization dedicated to shared prosperity and the common good, chronicles the efforts to turn our public goods into private profit centers. Ever since Ronald Reagan labeled government a dangerous threat, privatization has touched every aspect of our lives, from water and trash collection to the justice system and the military.
However, citizens can, and are, wresting back what is ours. A Montana city took back its water infrastructure after finding that they could do it better and cheaper. Colorado towns fought back well-funded campaigns to preserve telecom monopolies and hamstring public broadband. A motivated lawyer fought all the way to the Supreme Court after the State of Georgia erected privatized paywalls around its legal code.
The Privatization of Everything connects the dots across a broad spectrum of issues and raises larger questions about who controls the public things we all rely on, exposing the hidden crisis of privatization that has been slowly unfolding over the last fifty years and giving us a road map for taking our country back.
These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett, Harper Books (EPP)
The beloved New York Times bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays.
“Any story that starts will also end.” As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart.
At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both.
A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be.
From the enchantments of Kate di Camilo’s children’s books to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.