EletiofeWIRED’s Picks for the 10 Books You Have to...

WIRED’s Picks for the 10 Books You Have to Read This Winter

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Hello, you’ve reached the winter of our discontent. Or, well, the winter wherein we mark the one-year anniversary of Covid-19 lockdowns and, while finding hope in the new vaccines, still must spend quite a bit of time at home, distant from friends and family, unable to go out. One upside to this? It’s the perfect time to catch up on reading. What’s that? You’ve already gone through your quarantine book stash? Fear not, there are tonnes of tomes on the way. Below, you’ll find all of our favorites.

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  • a rainbow going through a ring

    Courtesy of Riverhead Books

    No One Is Talking About This

    by Patricia Lockwood

    Available February 16

    The poet and memoirist Patricia Lockwood conveys what the internet does to the human mind better than any other working writer today. She’s been called “the poet laureate of Twitter,” and in her first novel, she captures both the absurdist joys of living online and the profound limitations of doing so. No One Is Talking About This is an autobiographical novel split into two halves, the second part both building on and repudiating the first as the protagonist turns her attention away from the internet and toward a decidedly offline family crisis. Lockwood is an incredibly funny and insightful writer, so I was expecting No One Is Talking About This to be witty and wise. What I wasn’t expecting was how moving it would be. This is a special book. —Kate Knibbs

  • Courtesy of HMH

    Black Buck

    by Mateo Askaripour

    Available Now

    The polysemic title of Mateo Askaripour’s debut, Black Buck, is meant as an obvious wink to anyone who’s endured the absurdities of corporate culture as The Only Black Employee. Buck is the name of 22-year-old Darren Vender, or rather, the name he assumes after quitting his job at Starbucks and joining Sumwun, a trendy online startup that provides virtual therapy services. Before long, he’s a top sales associate and the envy of coworkers, but success comes at a cost. At work, Darren is Buck, our endlessly confident hero, but he’s also Buck (as in the slang term for money), Buck (as in the racial slur), and occasionally Buck (as in the linguistic sense of the word; to resist and oppose, to go against). Askaripour suggests that to engage racism in the workplace, where it can be especially noxious, one must also engage privilege and the systems of power that prop people up while holding others down. Thematically, the book is kin to Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s We Cast a Shadow and Boots Riley’s acid-trip of a film, Sorry To Bother You—dark comedies about race, exploitation, labor, and the masks Black people wear to survive “the whiteness of it all” (as a friend once eloquently put it to me). Rhapsodic and incisive, Black Buck is a journey into a post-racial dystopia born of tech-fueled greed and racial ignorance. In other words: It’s a doozy. —Jason Parham

  • Courtesy of Tor Books

    The Echo Wife

    by Sarah Gailey

    Available February 16

    Fembot thirst gasps through the science fiction canon. It speaks to a longing some men have to replace human women with yielding woman-shaped constructs. For me, that unexamined yearning for submission has always been a source of simmering unease. It’s a relief that the trope has now come due for subversion. Sarah Gailey’s The Echo Wife is a creepily personal rendition of what happens when a man in your life wishes you were a doll instead. Dr. Evelyn Caldwell, a brilliant scientist, discovers that her husband is having an affair—and then some. He has used her own research to clone her, minus a few key personality traits. Caldwell’s clone, Martine, has been polished over like a ‘50s housewife from a soap commercial: she is family-oriented, simperingly attentive, obedient, and seems totally unlike Caldwell. It’s barely a spoiler to tell you that the confrontation between this strange trio culminates in murder. The real fun, though, is seeing Caldwell and Martine work together to hide the mess, and in learning that, for Caldwell, this grisly grunt work is hardly new. It’s gross, and totally engrossing. —Emma Grey Ellis

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