What to Read When You Want to Avoid the News


Reading the news is particularly awful these days. Between the xenophobia, the protests, the incessant tweeting… It can be overwhelming, to put it mildly. And there is also the fact that oh well, perhaps we did have a lot of foreign involvement with our election and those in power were colluding with Russia. LOL. We are all going to die.

This weekend, take a break. There are a lot of amazing books out right now that won’t leave you with visions of apocalypses dancing in your head. From drugs to celebrities to murder to just plain good writing, here are five books that offer us a brief respite from the onslaught of terrifying news.


Universal Harvester
In John Darnielle’s haunting and unsettling Universal Harvester, once placid Iowa fields and farmhouses turn sinister and become imbued with loss and instability and profound foreboding. The novel will take its protagonist, Jeremy, and those around him, deeper into this landscape than they have ever expected to go. You’ll be drawn in, too, so much so that you might forget for a moment about the impending end of the world.

All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to Be Famous Strangers
Alana Massey’s debut essay collection is a beautiful and sometimes heartrending look at celebrities and women and the sociological powers of pop culture. It’s hard to put down. So, pick it up.

How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir
Anyone who cut their writing teeth on the Internet back when Gawker just talked about NYC media gossip and AOL still had blogs will remember Cat Marnell. Well, her book is finally here. And it’s the lurid, drug-laced tale of privilege, beauty, and bad decisions we were hoping it would be. We found it often completely unrelatable and but always very compelling—and definitely a distraction from all that IRL stuff.

August Snow 
This new release from author Stephen Mack Jones was recommended by crime writer Sarah Weinman, who’s Crime Lady tinyletter is always spot-on. For an easy escape from reality, this book is what you want. It’s the perfect PI-meets-wealthy-lady-and-now-someone-is-dead plot.  The book takes the reader into the depths of Detroit, exploring, race, class and the cities that contain it all.

Difficult Women
What list would be complete without the latest from Roxane Gay? In Difficult Women, Gay tells the stories of women who live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America—and, of course, the writing is phenomenal. Pick this up to be reminded of the real world beyond the latest political crisis.