OR Books 2015 Staff Picks!


My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency by Doug Henwood
AND The My Turn Collection

It turns out you can judge a book by its cover. Doug Henwood’s My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency is just as powerful and compelling as the controversial painting by Sarah Sole that adorns its cover (and which has been debated in prominent places like the Washington Post and New Republic.) It would be unwise to enter the 2016 election year without it. And if the image itself is what grabs you, it can also be acquired on OR’s new tote, on prints, and on a superb Hillary Clinton My Turn calendar, with an extraordinary Hillary portrait by Sarah for every month. Gift shopping and political preparedness solved at a single stroke!


Collected Fictions by Gordon Lish
AND John the Posthumous by Jason Schwartz

Lish. If you're familiar with the literary scene in the U.S. post-1960, you've heard the stories about him—why not now read the stories by him? Gordon Lish has been called America's answer to Beckett and Bernhard, but for my money he's Puck come to life—now past eighty, he remains insouciant, disconcerting, startlingly original and often very, very funny. Try Collected Fictions on for size. A perfect fit for freethinkers everywhere. And once you've heard from the master, as it were, you might also appreciate the work of Jason Schwartz, a Lish acolyte whose little tome John the Posthumous (no relation) has been ferociously praised by those in the know.


What's Yours Is Mine by Tom Slee

Tom Slee’s intention is not to blame you for taking part in the so-called “sharing economy” but rather to present how exploitative and unsustainable it is hiding behind the misleading “sharing” tag. What’s Yours Is Mine demystifies companies like Airbnb and Uber, and the so-called “sharing economy” for everyone, just as you are requesting an Uber ride or as you are posting your room up on Airbnb for the holidays.


Lean Out: The Struggle for Gender Equality in Tech and Start-Up Culture
Edited by Elissa Shevinsky

Even as the notoriously young, white, and male tech giants of Silicon Valley come under increased scrutiny, change in culture, employee populations, and leadership roles is slow to come. But no more! Whether by assimilation, revolt, or recognition of a new kind of tech narrative, the testimonies here refuse to bow to the "brogrammer" archetype. The 19 voices in Lean Out offer a counterpoint to the book’s 2013 namesake, which—as editor Elissa Shevinsky points out—is great, but the feminism it describes is not for everyone. This is the conceit of Lean Out: complex social problems should be talked of in many voices. We hear from women of color, trans women, artists and game-makers, entrepreneurs, the women who fought GamerGate, and women who have worked for some of the most recognizable names in tech. The result is greater than a critique of tech, or of the workplace: it's a techno-feminist manifesto for the real world.


The Gulf: High Culture/Hard Labor
Edited by Andrew Ross for Gulf Labor

In sweltering Abu Dhabi, migrant workers toil in abusive conditions to construct local branches of iconic Western cultural institutions, like the Louvre, the Guggenheim, and the British Museum. For five years, a coalition of artists, architects and writers has engaged in creative direct action to force the cultural world to confront its moral complicity. The Gulf charts and reflects upon this pioneering campaign; it is the perfect end-of-year read, at once sobering and inspiring.


The Dream of Doctor Bantam by Jeanne Thornton

The Dream of Doctor Bantam is a coming of age tale that finds beauty in the garbage of burgeoning adulthood (without trying to convince you there was never any garbage at all). It tenderly explores the collision of people into one another, as its characters channel their damage through sex, love, and reality-altering sci-fi religion-philosophy. Read it this holiday to appreciate your happy, healthy life, or read it to find solace in the dysfunctional.


Blood Splatters Quickly: The Collected Stories of Ed Wood, Jr.

The book you psychos need to buy is Blood Splatters Quickly, by Ed Wood, Jr. It is a bunch of messed-up sex and murder stories, written by America's most wonderful (and possibly worst) filmmaker. He wrote these stories for porn magazines owned by the mob, while drunk. The stories are raw and honest and gory and tasteless and erotic and unbalanced, summoned from the depths by sheer deviltry. These stories are the opposite of precious MFA garbage and will actually make you happy. Perfect for reading aloud on long car trips, for friends in prison, or for reading ostentatiously on the subway if you want people to move away from you.


Eleuthéria: A Play by Samuel Beckett

All of the beautifully designed new editions of Foxrock Books make a wonderful gifts, but, if I had to choose, I would recommend Beckett's Eleuthéria. One of Beckett's early plays, Eleuthéria tells the story of the Kraps, a bourgeois family plagued by their son's refusal to do anything but pace about his squalid apartment. Just the way to relate to that moody millennial on your list.


Beyond Zero And One: Machines, Psychedelics, and Consciousness by Andrew Smart

Can computers trip on acid? If you think this is a nonsense question, I urge you to reconsider. LSD has a notable history in the creation of computer science, and with acid-tripping robots, Andrew Smart takes it one step further in Beyond Zero and One. This holiday season, I recommend this book for your favorite Apple enthusiast or better yet, curl up on the couch with your smart phone in one hand and this book in the other.



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