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As I did last November, I want to tell you about a handful of books I’m particularly looking forward to in the coming year (books that aren’t likely to be highlighted in the torrent of “Most Anticipated” lists). And two weeks from now in this space, I’ll list my favorite books from 2019.
Wendy Lesser is the founding editor of the long-running Threepenny Review, based in Berkeley. I started reading it around Issue #11, and I have (here in our house) almost every issue since then (the latest is #159). At first I picked it up in bookstores, but I’ve been a subscriber for decades now. Lesser is also a writer, wonderfully various; some of her books haven’t been up my alley, but others have—like her latest, Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery, coming in May from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Lesser focuses on crime fiction from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark over the last several decades, but she isn’t simply writing about the books; she’s exploring the creation of a certain imaginative landscape.
Peter - J - Thuesen - Professor - Studies
Peter J. Thuesen is a professor of religious studies and co-editor of the journal Religion and American Culture. I’ve long admired his work as a scholar; see for example his books In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles Over Translating the Bible and Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine. His new book, due in April from Oxford University Press, is Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather. It argues “that in the tornado, Americans experience something that is at once culturally peculiar (the indigenous storm of the national imagination) and religiously primal (the sense of awe before an unpredictable and mysterious power).” If I were in business as an assigning editor, I’d plan on featuring a prominent review of this one (which, by the way,...
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