There are always new books being published, but not all of them are going to be something worth reading or right for most guys. We have a few standing recommendations for what every guy should read, but we also like to sort through the new stuff to see what might be worth checking out. Here’s what we suggest this time around.


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4 3 2 1

Paul Auster

Available Now

A theory that’s held the public’s collective attention for some time is the theory of the Multiverse. Basically, everything that’s possible has or will happen, and everyone has multiple doppelgangers running around doing stuff. That theory forms a foundation for 4 3 2 1, though we wouldn’t say the book’s going to go into a terrible amount of scientific detail. More likely, we have to accept that there are four different timelines going on in this book and move from there. What we like about it is, 4 3 2 1 promises to explore some sort of constants as well. While each of the four Archibald Isaac Fergusons has a very different life, all of them will fall in some kind of love with Amy Schneiderman. It’s comforting to think, even in multiple universes with infinite possibilities, there are certain people we’ll always meet. $20



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Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman

Available Now

Reading the classics can be a bit dry sometimes. Greek and Roman myths and literature are often a chore to get through, even if the deities in them approach modern sitcom levels of weird. It’s why most of us slog through the textbook in high school, then never pick it up again. Granted, a lot of that can depend on your translation, but no matter how good your translator is, work from that era tends to show its age. It’s one of the reasons we like Norse Mythology. If you’re bilingual enough to understand the names, you’re in for some of the weirdest, most entertaining mythology north of the Alps. For example, Sol and Mani, the sun and moon, ride chariots while being chased by wolves. That’s why we have day and night. During Ragnarok, they’re going to be eaten by the wolves. And if you don’t know what Ragnarok is, it’s a giant war at the end of time that’s then followed by a restarting of the cosmos, where a new pair of humans come and repopulate a newly resurrected Midgard. There’s also a story about Thor dressing up like a woman to fake marry the giant king who stole his hammer, eating all the food at the wedding feast, drinking barrels of mead, then killing everyone at the wedding with his newly reclaimed hammer. $16



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My Not So Perfect Life

Sophie Kinsella

Available Now

An inherent failing of social media is people won’t post when the mundane or shitty is happening to them, so all you end up seeing is a direct and constant feed of all your friends having better lives than you. Objectively, you know that’s not true, but it’s hard to think objectively when you’re plugging away at a spreadsheet and a few acquaintances are tearing up Madrid. That’s the conflict at the core of My Not So Perfect Life, where young professional Katie Brenner compares her life with what she sees of her boss’s life. Obviously, someone who’s just starting out won’t have the material lifestyle of someone who’s been working for a while, but that’s part of that objective thinking no one really does on social media. $19



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Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia

Helen Rappaport

Available Now

Russian history is one of the most complex things you’ll never learn in school. The most complicated it ever got for us was “then Russians decided they like Lenin instead of Czars and dropped out of WWI, so we had to pick up the tab. Also Siberia is cold and has prisons.” And if that made you want to learn more, the only place you could do it was college, where you could prepare for more cognitively dissonant ribbing than most English and Art majors combined. Luckily, the historical creative nonfiction genre is here to save us from the paralyzing dearth of Russian stories. Caught in the Revolution follows foreign nationals trapped in country as the Russian Revolution tore through Petrograd. Helen Rappaport pulls from previously unpublished accounts to bring a little attention to a defining moment of 20th Century Russian history, something that would undoubtedly help us understand the Russia of today. $21



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Washington’s Farewell

John Avlon

Available Now

Take this entry as you will, since we’re some of the last people to make a definitive political statement. That’s not what you come to us for, so we’re not about to start dropping manifestos on you. But we think this book fits, since we’re approaching it from a more historical perspective than a political one. Washington’s Farewell tries to understand the importance of George Washington’s Farewell Address as it was first published and what it meant to a fledgling republic still struggling to find an identity. The Address has popped up over history when someone needed a good quote, but for the most part, it’s lost the mythical quality it once had. John Avlon’s book attempts to restore some of that myth, refreshing Washington’s calls for unity among all citizens, religious pluralism, and education, as well as warning against excessive political partisanship, foreign wars, and national debt. For how much we still revere the Founding Fathers, we sure don’t like to listen to them. $18



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The Evenings: A Winter’s Tale

Gerard Reve

Available Now

There’s no empirical evidence to support this claim, but we feel like the quality of fiction translation has greatly improved in the last few years. Translators used to be as direct as possible, giving to drier, more technical versions than the original was meant to be. Now, translators work to preserve the original’s artistic language, making translated books just as entertaining as anything written in an author’s first language. We say all this because The Evenings is a translation from a Dutch novel first published in 1947. This translation comes to us from Sam Garrett, who, judging by his final product, has as deep an understanding of Dutch as English. The halting, awkward delivery preserves the monotony of young Frits’s life and helps frustrate the reader in the same way Frits must be frustrated. The Evenings is a deeply relatable book for anyone who’s felt stuck and unhappy, and should provide the same sort of catharsis as books like Catcher in the Rye. $20



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The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

Stephen Kinzer

Available Now

For a book so deeply rooted in political debate, Stephen Kinzer does a great job keeping healthy debate in focus, rather than taking a side. The True Flag examines the argument of American intervention, emphasizing the intelligence on both sides of the debate. For example, when you have Mark Twain on one side and Teddy Roosevelt on the other, it’s difficult to demonize either side. Both men were indisputably intelligent and both made extraordinary contributions to American culture and history. Knowing what we know about both of them, you can’t say either one was completely right or completely wrong. Extrapolate that to today’s accusations of bubbles, condescension, and xenophobia, among other things, and it’s easy to see where our political debates fall short. $19



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Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders

February 14th

A common trope in cheesy, hackneyed fiction is to take historical figures and us them as fictional embellishments of themselves. But if anyone can shake those trashy fiction undertones, it’s George Saunders. Lincoln in the Bardo follows Willie Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, just after his death at eleven years old. Willie finds himself in purgatory, called the bardo in Tibetan tradition. The bardo gives Saunders an opportunity to mess with all kinds of historical and imaginary figures, something that Saunders is more than happy to do in his signature way. We should also say, for a man who’s already built as great a reputation as Saunders has, this is fairly late in a career for someone’s first novel. Before Lincoln in the Bardo, Saunders mostly published short stories and novellas. This kind of extended dose of Saunders’ storytelling is unprecedented, so we’re excited to see what he does with the form. $19



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Secret Lives of the US Presidents

Cormac O’Brien

February 14th

This book isn’t so much a new book as it is one that gets reprinted fairly often, but we don’t own it yet, so now’s as good a time to jump on as any other. Every president gets his own section, written as entertaining, longform, slightly tongue-in-cheek essays, with the addition of various subjects relating to the Presidency, including Freemasons and First Ladies. Cormac O’Brien’s books helps humanize an otherwise exalted office, fleshing these historic figures out as men who lived in the real world instead of a few sections of a textbook. Any resource that gives more context to history is welcome too, as it’s often easy to forget that it hasn’t always been the 2010s and people actually had to deal with things we’ve read about. $17



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We Were the Lucky Ones

Georgia Hunter

February 14th

Most of the time, when we talk about the horrors of the Holocaust, we do so with sweeping statements and big picture statistics. We don’t actually dive into the minutiae of what it meant to be one of the Jewish families broken up, scattered, or exterminated. But exploring that minutiae is exactly what We Were the Lucky Ones aims to do. The book follows a single family, the Kurcs, as they struggle to survive Nazi persecution, each sibling finding their own way to deal with a government that has made it explicitly clear what they are trying to do. The Kurcs are putting faces and names to the victims of the Holocaust in a way that a history class or textbook can’t do. $18



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Wildside: The Enchanted Life of Hunters and Gatherers

Gestalten

February 15th

Modern society is so far removed from its hunter-gatherer roots that we wouldn’t be surprised if the world ended if we lost the Internet for a day. Don’t get us wrong, the Internet’s great. It’s pretty much the whole reason anyone working here has a job. But it’s also important to go outside or talk to people with your face. And having some self-preservation and self-sustenance knowledge couldn’t hurt either. If those are things that appeal to you, Wildside might be worth some of your time. It gathers stories, essays, and interviews meant to both inspire and educate you in the ways of a more outdoorsy lifestyle. There’s more of a focus on forested areas, so this isn’t a book that’s going to save your life in the farthest reaches of the Sahara. Luckily, we already have a movie for that. $60