Our own Emily Mandel may have been onto something with her “catastrophic” summer reading list; dystopia seems to be all the rage this summer. The WSJ sets Rick Moody’s The Four Fingers of Death in “a dystopian United States that is halfway between Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano and Woody Allen’s Sleeper.” The SF Chron calls Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story “literature’s first dystopian epistolary romantic satire.” And later this year, as we noted this month, will be Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez, which focuses on a cultish community in the dystopian aftermath of a flu pandemic.
UNESCO announced this week that Krakow has been named the seventh City of Literature. The Polish municipality joins Edinburgh, the first UNESCO City of Literature, and Iowa City, Melbourne, Dublin, Reykjavik and Norwich. The city has been home to such notable authors as Nobel Prize winners Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Stanisław Reymont, Czesław Miłosz, and Wisława Szymborska.
Books by Friends, a semi-regular feature at The Atlantic, sees writer James Fallows recommend the works of authors he knows. This week, he praises a book on the history of flight, a prediction for the economy and a jeremiad on American politics by Gary Hart. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on Fallows and American decline.