Best Books of 2017: In These Times Staff and Reader Picks

From Naomi Klein to Roxane Gay, the reads that made 2017 bearable.

In These Times StaffJanuary 9, 2018

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THE DOOMS­DAY MACHINE
Daniel Ellsberg
(Decem­ber 2017)

Ells­berg famous­ly leaked clas­si­fied doc­u­ments about Viet­nam, but per­haps his most explo­sive rev­e­la­tions come from his years as a nuclear war plan­ner. Here he recounts how ordi­nary peo­ple cre­at­ed a sys­tem to kill bil­lions — always a hairs­breadth from going off. It’s ter­ri­fy­ing, espe­cial­ly with Trump’s fin­ger on the button.
—DAY­TON MAR­TIN­DALE, ASSIS­TANT EDITOR

EXTREME CITIES
Ash­ley Dawson
(Octo­ber 2017)

Extreme Cities con­tains a stark­er and more accu­rate account of our cli­mate-changed world than most cli­mate books, plus a few hope­ful alter­na­tives. Daw­son offers a com­pre­hen­sive, page-turn­ing intro­duc­tion to the 21st cen­tu­ry that’s an essen­tial read for left­ists who don’t think of cli­mate as being in their wheelhouse.
—KATE ARONOFF, WRIT­ING FELLOW

HOME­SICK FOR ANOTH­ER WORLD
Ottes­sa Moshfegh
(Jan­u­ary 2017)

I dis­sect­ed a human body once for anato­my class. We watched the cadaver’s vis­cera splay slow­ly open for months, the body at rest on a gurney.
Moshfegh’s sto­ries are as taut, her char­ac­ters as gan­g­ly with life as those formalde­hyde-drenched sinews. They sidle along obliv­ion, repul­sive and full of grace.
—JUSTIN PERKINS, EDI­TO­R­I­AL INTERN

NO IS NOT ENOUGH
Nao­mi Klein
(June 2017)

One imag­ines Klein lock­ing her­self in her office the day Trump wasin­au­gu­rat­ed and bang­ing out this book. Thank god she did. Urgent but hope­ful, it’s the brac­ing guide we need to go beyond resis­tance to the full-throat­ed yes” of left pop­ulism. Read it to stay sane.
—SELECT­ED BY IN THESE TIMES READ­ERS IN AN ONLINE POLL CON­DUCT­ED DEC. 22, 2017 – JAN. 22018

HUNGER
Rox­ane Gay
(June 2017)

Gay’s mem­oir lays bare her deep­est trau­mat­ic expe­ri­ences. As a queer woman of col­or liv­ing in an obese body, Gay makes vis­i­ble all of the indig­ni­ties and microag­gres­sions real­ly fat peo­ple — not just Lane Bryant fat” — must endure in a world that tries to erase them.
—ALLI­SON RICKARD, DEVEL­OP­MENT DIRECTOR

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON
David Grann
(April 2017)

Grann inves­ti­gates a rash of mur­ders of Osage Indi­ans in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry after they strike oil. The rob­beries and betray­als of fron­tierism are revealed as at once sys­temic and shock­ing­ly inti­mate, unfold­ing from the halls of pow­er to the mar­riage bed.
—JES­SI­CA STITES, EXEC­U­TIVE EDITOR

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