We Recommend 2014


Laura Poitras

CITIZENFOUR is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald's encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident

By Howard Zinn,  Introduction by Frances Fox Piven, Edited by Richard Kreitner

Millions of Americans have read and been galvanized by A People's History of the United States. But many years before Howard Zinn published that epic saga of exploitation and resistance, he was organizing civil-rights protests and agitating for an end to the Vietnam War—and writing about those efforts in the pages of The Nation. From the Atlanta campus of Spelman College (where Zinn taught in the early 1960s) to North Vietnam (where he facilitated the release of American POWs), Zinn was not only an astute observer of history. As Frances Fox Piven writes in the introduction to Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident, "These Nation essays remind us that for nearly fifty years Zinn himself was deeply involved in the major twentieth-century struggles for social justice in the United States."

Meursault, contre-enquête

by Kamel Daoud

Un homme, tel un spectre, soliloque dans un bar. Il est le frère de l'Arabe tué par Meursault dans L'Étranger, le fameux roman d'Albert Camus. Il entend relater sa propre version des faits, raconter l'envers du décor, rendre son nom à son frère et donner chair à cette figure niée de la littérature: l' "Arabe ". Iconoclaste, le narrateur est peu sympathique, beau parleur et vaguement affabulateur.



The Politics of Anti-Semitism

by Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair

How did a term, once used accurately to describe the most virulent evil, become a charge flung at the mildest critic of Israel, particularly concerning its atrocious treatment of Palestinians?

Edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, the print and online journal CounterPunch has become a must read for hundreds of thousands a month who no longer believe anything they read in the mainstream press beyond the sports scores. On the subject of Israel and Palestine, the Israeli lobby in the U.S., the current Middle East crisis, and its ramifications at home and abroad, CounterPunch has been unrivaled.

Ce que je crois

de Jacqueline de Romilly

Quelques années après les événements de Mai 1968, où le doute s'était emparé des esprits - crise universitaire, crise sociale, crise des valeurs -, Jacqueline de Romilly a tenu à nous dire, dans un texte bref et plein de fougue, ce que la crise lui avait au contraire révélé, sa foi dans l'homme, son esprit, sa liberté, son goût de la vérité et du bien, bref, ses convictions.

The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins

by Robert B. Baer

What is the definition of assassination? Robert B. Baer's boss at the CIA once told him, "It's a bullet with a man's name on it." Sometimes assassination is the senseless act of a psychotic, a bloodletting without social value. Other times, it can be the sanest and most humane way to change the course of conflict—one bullet, one death, case closed. Assassination has been dramatized by literature and politicized by infamous murders throughout history, and for Robert Baer, one of the most accomplished agents to ever work for the CIA, it's a source of endless fascination, speculation, and intrigue.

Masters of Mankind

Essays and Lectures, 1969-2013

By Noam Chomsky, Foreword by Marcus Raskin

In this collection of essays from 1969-2013, many in book form for the first time, Noam Chomsky exposes the real nature of state power. With unrelenting logic, he holds the arguments of empire up to critical examination and shatters the myths of those who protect the power and privilege of the few against the interests and needs to the many.


Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America

by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney

When President Barack Obama was reelected, some pundits argued that, despite unbridled campaign spending, here was proof that big money couldn't buy elections. The exact opposite was the case. The 2012 election was a quantum leap: it was America's first $10 billion election campaign. And it solidified the power of a new class in American politics: the fabulously wealthy individuals and corporations who are radically redefining our politics in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy. It is the world of Dollarocracy.


My Grandfather's Gallery:  A Family Memoir of Art and War

Anne Sinclair, Translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside

On September 20, 1940, one of the most famous European art dealers disembarked in New York, one of hundreds of Jewish refugees fleeing Vichy France. Leaving behind his beloved Paris gallery, Paul Rosenberg had managed to save his family, but his paintings—modern masterpieces by Cézanne, Monet, Sisley, and others—were not so fortunate. As he fled, dozens of works were seized by Nazi forces and the art dealer's own legacy was eradicated.

More than half a century later, Anne Sinclair uncovered a box filled with letters. "Curious in spite of myself," she writes, "I plunged into these archives, in search of the story of my family. To find out who my mother's father really was . . . a man hailed as a pioneer in the world of modern art, who then became a pariah in his own country during the Second World War. I was overcome with a desire to fit together the pieces of this French story of art and war."


Conversations with Beethoven

Written by Sanford Friedman, Introduction by Richard Howard

Deaf as he was, Beethoven had to be addressed in writing, and he was always accompanied by a notebook in which people could scribble questions and comments. Conversations with Beethoven, in a tour de force of fictional invention, tells the story of the last year of Beethoven's life almost entirely through such notebook entries: Friends, family, students, doctors, and others attend to the volatile Maestro, whose sometimes unpredictable and often very loud replies we infer. A fully fleshed and often very funny portrait of Beethoven emerges. He struggles with his music and with his health; he argues with and insults just about everyone. Most of all, he worries about his wayward—and beloved—nephew Karl. A large cast of Dickensian characters surrounds the great composer at the center of this wonderfully engaging novel, which deepens in the end to make a memorable music of its own.


In Berlin: Day and Night in 1929

by Franz Hessel

These two high-spirited essays present a pedestrian's-eye-view of 1920s Berlin, a city that is simultaneously down-on-its-luck and booming. Francophile writer and translator Franz Hessel brought the role of the flâneur to the streets of Berlin, capturing the rhythm of city life in his perceptive writings, and recording evidence of the seismic shifts shaking German culture. Hessel presents glimpses into the exploits of his bohemian friends, as well as encounters with working people struggling to adjust to the new times. Gently ironic, yet with much affection for his subjects, Hessel's sterling prose is at once classic and fresh. Praised by Walter Benjamin, In Berlin is a dazzlingly complex tapestry of life in the vibrant, turbulent capital of the Weimar Republic.


Romance en París

Franz Hessel

Por las calles de París, ¬´la más carnal de todas las ciudades¬ª, pasean un hombre enigmático y una joven alemana que tendría que mejorar su francés. Lotte, la joven, quiere descubrir la ¬´verdadera vida¬ª de la ciudad, y su acompañante se presta, maravillado, a ayudarla en su iniciación. Corre el año 1912 y París vive un momento de ingenua y arrolladora felicidad: es el paraíso de artistas bohemios, escritores de mil lenguas distintas, mujeres alocadas y sus maridos burgueses (o viceversa). Sin embargo, la Primera Guerra Mundial pondrá muy pronto un fin brutal a esta fiesta, y Lotte y su acompañante parecen intuir ya, entre el champagne y las guirnaldas, las grietas de un tiempo y una vida que se deshacen.


Berlín secreto

Franz Hessel

"Hasta la primavera de 1924 vivió en Berlín un joven cuya presencia agradaba a los hombres y mujeres de su círculo, sin que se interesaran realmente por su persona. Sólo cuando se marchó, algunos de ellos comenzaron a sentir una nostalgia difícil de explicar. Ahora cambian voz y cara cuando hablan de él, lo recuerdan a menudo y lo hacen protagonista de relaciones y destinos que apenas tuvieron que ver con él".

Así comienza una de las novelas más sutiles y elegantes de Franz Hessel, un autor aún demasiado secreto para muchos lectores pero, sin duda, imprescindible. Y pocos textos tan apropiados como éste para entrar en su mundo: veinticuatro horas en la vida bohemia de los años veinte.


The Collected Works of Billy the Kid Paperback

by Michael Ondaatje

Drawing on contemporary accounts, period photographs, dime novels, and his own prodigious fund of empathy and imagination, Michael Ondaatje's visionary novel traces the legendary outlaw's passage across the blasted landscape of 1880 New Mexico and the collective unconscious of his country. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is a virtuoso synthesis of storytelling, history, and myth by a writer who brings us back to our familiar legends with a renewed sense of wonder.


Montreal Stories Paperback

by Mavis Gallant

Mavis Gallant is the modern master of what Henry James called the international story, the fine-grained evocation of the quandaries of people who must make their way in the world without any place to call their own. The complexity of the very idea of home is alive in the stories Gallant has written about Montreal. Montreal Stories, Russell Banks's new selection from Gallant's work demonstrates anew the remarkable reach of this writer's singular art. Among its contents are three previously unpublished stories, as well as the celebrated semi-autobiographical sequence about Linnet Muir – stories that are wise, funny, and full of insight into the perils and promise of growing up and breaking loose.


The Collected Stories of Mavis Gallant

With irony and an unfailing eye for the telling detail, Gallant weaves stories of such intricate simplicity and spare complexity that critics have rightly compared her with Henry James and Anton Chekhov. Readers will discover, or rediscover, the pleasure of reading one of the finest writers of our time.


Ingersoll the Magnificent

Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis (1889-1968) was one of the most active freethinkers of the 20th century. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, the son of a Jewish merchant, he came to New York City during the 1920's. In 1925 he was elected president of the Freethinkers of America, an organization founded in 1915 and incorporated in 1925, and remained president for life. In fact, he virtually WAS the organization. Through his writings, lecturing, and lawsuits, he fought for the complete separation of church and state".


The Problems of Philosophy Paperback

by Bertrand Russell

In Problems of Philosophy Russell attempts to create a brief and accessible guide to the problems of philosophy. He introduces important theories of Plato, Aristotle, René Descartes, David Hume, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Georg Hegel and others to lay the foundation for philosophical inquiry. The Theory of Knowledge occupies a larger space than metaphysics in the present volume, and some topics much discussed by philosophers are treated very briefly, if at all. Still this volume is a must read for anyone wishing a better understanding of philosophy.


Amerigo: A Comedy of Errors in History

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig's Amerigo: A Comedy of Errors in History is the Austrian writer's account of how America got its name. This short, late work describes how Amerigo Vespucci, "a man of medium caliber (who) had never been entrusted with a fleet" gave his name to the New World because "of a combination of circumstances — through error, accident, and misunderstanding."


God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

by Christopher Hitchens

In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry

of the double helix.


All Our Worldly Goods Paperback

by Irene Nemirovsky

In haunting ways, this gorgeous novel prefigures Irène Némirovsky's masterpiece Suite Française. Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author's death, All Our Worldly Goods is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations. This brilliant novel is full of drama, heartbreak, and the telling observations that have made Némirovsky's work so beloved and admired.


A Peculiar People: The Australians in Paraguay

Gavin Souter

In 1893 almost 500 Australians set out by ship to plant a communist utopia in the heart of Paraguay. Led by socialist journalist and activist, William Lane, their aim was to realise the cherished Australian principles of equality and mateship.



Diario de un arqueólogo en la tierra de los maasai


Jordi Serrallonga soñaba con ir a África y emular las gestas de los exploradores del pasado. Tras finalizar los estudios universitarios, tuvo la oportunidad de formar parte de un grupo de arqueólogos y paleontólogos que se dirigían a la región de Peninj, en Tanzania, con la intención de estudiar los orígenes remotos del ser humano. Ahí fue donde entró en contacto con los maasai del lago Natron, y lo que empezó siendo un acercamiento cauto pronto se convirtió en cálida amistad. Los Guardianes del Lago es el testimonio de esta experiencia singular, un diario que es al mismo tiempo un homenaje a una cultura viva y hermosa que tiene el color de la tierra más fértil.

En la orilla

Rafael Chirbes

El hallazgo de un cadáver en el pantano de Olba pone en marcha la narración. Su protagonista, Esteban, se ha visto obligado a cerrar la carpintería de la que era dueño, dejando en el paro a los que trabajaban para él. Mientras se encarga de cuidar a su padre, enfermo en fase terminal, Esteban indaga en los motivos de una ruina que asume en su doble papel de víctima y de verdugo, y entre cuyos escombros encontramos los valores que han regido una sociedad, un mundo  y un tiempo. La novela nos obliga a mirar hacia ese espacio fangoso que siempre estuvo ahí, aunque durante años nadie parecía estar dispuesto a asumirlo, a la vez lugar de uso y abismo donde se han ocultado delitos y se han lavado conciencias privadas y públicas.


Anatomía de un desencuentro

La Cataluña que es y la España que no pudo ser

Germà Bel

El apoyo a la independencia en Cataluña ha crecido aceleradamente en los últimos años. ¿Por qué se ha producido ese cambio? ¿Es sólo coyuntural o ha venido para quedarse?

Para dar respuesta a estas cuestiones, Germà Bel disecciona en este libro los problemas nucleares de la relación entre Cataluña y España.

En particular la dinámica del conflicto entre grupos, sus efectos sobre las relaciones territoriales y las consecuencias que todo ello tiene en el funcionamiento del Estado.


Clases de literatura, Berkeley, 1980

Julio Cortázar

Berkeley, California, otoño de 1980. En la cima de su carrera y después de años de negativas, Julio Cortázar acepta dar un curso universitario de dos meses en los Estados Unidos. Como cabía esperar, no se tratará de conferencias magistrales sino de una serie de charlas sobre literatura, y sobre todo acerca de su experiencia de escritor y la génesis de sus obras.

La supremacía Tolstoi y otros ensayos al tuntún

Casas, Fabián Andrés

Voy a escribir sobre la amistad, sobre la ciencia ficción, sobre la idea de país, sobre los símbolos patrios, sobre un extraño océano compuesto por la materia de nuestros sueños y terrores. Sobre la nostalgia. Voy a escribir acerca de cosas que no tengo en claro.

La pluma más negra

Pablo Jelovina

En estas historias, vibrantes de principio a fin, queda plasmado, con todos sus satélites y constelaciones, con héroes y villanos, con amores y odios, con los mil matices que lo hacen único, el maravilloso Universo de San Lorenzo de Almagro. Todos están invitados, cuervos o no, a este viaje de nostalgia y alegría, de asombro y fascinación, donde desfilan los guiños que muchos sabrán reconocer como propios...


Au café

by Mohammed Dib