Your summer reading list, from Parliament Magazine and Librebook
Summer’s not over yet, bookworms. Together with the folks behind Librebook, a beloved Brussels bookshop focusing on contemporary European literature and thought, we bring you six reads to carry you through these last weeks of the season.
How did we arrive at this fraught place where authoritarian regimes are so wealthy and emboldened to act unilaterally? In World Politics Since 1989 (Polity, August 2021), professor Jonathan Holslag untangles how the west has undermined its strength over the past three decades (consumerism and complacency both play a role).
Anyone who follows current events (or spends any time online) will tell you that the men are not all right. Journalist Susanne Kaiser documents how right-wing extremists, religious fundamentalists and misogynists have united under the banner of male domination in her book Political Masculinity: How Incels, Fundamentalists and Authoritarians Mobilise for Patriarchy (Polity, May 2022).
Thrust onto the global stage after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, comedian-turned-President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has galvanised Ukrainians and inspired people the world over. Zelensky: A Biography by journalist and political commentator Serhii Rudenko (Polity, June 2022) dives into the astounding story of the Ukrainian leader.
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed numerous institutional and societal weaknesses, but for professor Benjamin Bratton, one of the main takeaways is that governance is literally a matter of life and death. In his book The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-pandemic World (Verso, June 2021), Bratton considers whether the world can organise itself differently and what’s required to address these crises on a planetary scale.
A sprawling, ambitious work, Everybody: A Book About Freedom (Picador, April 2021) by writer, novelist and cultural critic Olivia Laing investigates the struggle for bodily freedom. While focusing mainly on psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, Laing also examines other complicated individuals and weaves in personal vignettes to demonstrate and celebrate the urge to inhabit a body without fear.
There is a good chance you have already read Aldous Huxley’s enduring classic Brave New World, but this new version, adapted and illustrated by Fred Fordham (Vintage Classics, April 2022), gives the dystopian novel the comic treatment, creating a visual feast that you will want to consume in one sitting.
You can order titles from Librebook’s online bookshop or, if you can't find what you're looking for, contact them for custom orders.