Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Books I Wish I Had Time to Read - new and upcoming 2016

Am getting lots of information about interesting books these days and cannot get to them all. However, you bright things out there may be able to enjoy them. Below please find the offerings of a few publishers or authors that I wish I had time to read:

Columbia University Press
Published in 2012, this title just won CUP's Distinguished Book Award. From the CUP website description of this book:
"Wael B. Hallaq boldly argues that the 'Islamic state,' judged by any standard definition of what the modern state represents, is both impossible and inherently self-contradictory. Comparing the legal, political, moral, and constitutional histories of premodern Islam and Euro-America, he finds the adoption and practice of the modern state to be highly problematic for modern Muslims. He also critiques more expansively modernity's moral predicament, which renders impossible any project resting solely on ethical foundations.

The modern state not only suffers from serious legal, political, and constitutional issues, Hallaq argues, but also, by its very nature, fashions a subject inconsistent with what it means to be, or to live as, a Muslim. By Islamic standards, the state's technologies of the self are severely lacking in moral substance, and today's Islamic state, as Hallaq shows, has done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine Shari'a governance. The Islamists' constitutional battles in Egypt and Pakistan, the Islamic legal and political failures of the Iranian Revolution, and similar disappointments underscore this fact. Nevertheless, the state remains the favored template of the Islamists and the ulama (Muslim clergymen). Providing Muslims with a path toward realizing the good life, Hallaq turns to the rich moral resources of Isl...(continued on CUP website)"
Knopf Doubleday, a division of Random House
From the promo materials:
In the late 1890s, Mark Twain made the terrible mistake of pouring his and his wife’s life savings into a publishing company. Needless to say, they lost everything. At the peak of his fame, Twain went bankrupt and at risk of losing control of his most beloved masterpieces, such as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, decided to pay the debts quickly by embarking on a round-the-world speaking tour. Along the way, Twain delivered one hundred and twenty-two standup comedy performances — the greatest hits of his career in a ninety-minute one-man show — across the USA in places such as Butte and Spokane, and on to Australia, New Zealand, India, Ceylon and South Africa. The performances were funny, poignant, strangely thought-provoking, and wildly popular. No American author had ever talked his way around the world. And on the cusp of success, his family suffered a horrific tragedy, but Twain survived and returned triumphant to New York City in 1900. [Aside: Richard Zacks sounds a bit of a character, too.]See the website blurb

Penguin Random House
From the promo:
For readers of Lorrie Moore, Jennifer Egan, and Lena Dunham, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL is a dark, hilarious, acutely written collection of vignettes which skewers our body image-obsessed culture while simultaneously delivering a tender, sympathetic portrait of a difficult but unforgettable woman whose lifelong struggle to lose weight comes at a high cost.
Caustic, hilarious, and heartbreaking, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL introduces Mona Awad as a major literary talent. From the website blurb

Other Press
From the promo lit:
This best-selling debut novel from one of France’s most exciting young writers is based on the true story of the 1949 disappearance of Air France’s Lockheed Constellation and its famous passengers. On October 27th, 1949, the newest crown jewel in the Air France fleet, the Constellation welcomed thirty-eight passengers aboard a flight from Paris to New York, including the world famous boxer Marcel Cerdan and virtuoso violinist Ginette Neveu. In his best-selling debut novel CONSTELLATION...Bosc is as a detective trying to solve a crime, drawing a spider web of connections that grows exponentially in spectrum; in telling these stories, Bosc brings us to the Italian-American mafia in pre-revolution Havana, to the private love letters of Édith Piaf, to the quickie divorces of the rich and famous in 1940s Reno, Nevada, to his own correspondence with the son of one of the Constellation’s victims.
Go to the website

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