Blog post

Books You May Have Missed This Year

Prize-winners, critically-acclaimed, and endorsed by some of the best: here are some books you may have missed this year, but should definitely be on your radar!

14 December 2023

Books You May Have Missed This Year

Books loved by Robin D.G. Kelley, Angela Davis Pankaj Mishra, Chris Kraus, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn, and more!

See all our publishing highlights from 2023 here, and our Gift Guide. Get up to 50% off all these books in our End of Year Sale.

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One of the highlights of our fiction publishing this year, Crooked Plow was selected as one of the Best Books of 2023 by the Financial Times:

"[Brazil's] deep-rooted racial and economic injustices are laid bare in one of the most celebrated Brazilian debut novels of recent times."

Itamar Vieira Junior, author of Crooked Plow, was described by the New York Times as "A leading voice among the Black authors who have jolted Brazil’s literary establishment in recent years with imaginative and searing works that have found commercial success and critical acclaim". Crooked Plow also received critically-acclaimed reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Financial Times, Irish Times, and Frieze, described as "compelling" "profound" and "illuminating".

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Through a close reading of the lives and works of some of the greatest intellectuals of recent times, Adam Shatz asks: do writers have an ethical imperative to question injustice? How can one remain a dispassionate thinker when involved in the cut and thrust of politics? And, in an age of horror and crisis, what does it mean to be a committed writer?

"A brilliant collection of political essays by one of our sharpest literary journalists" is how Nathan Thrall described Writers and Missionaries when he selected it for the Observer's round-up of best books to gift this season, following on from this glowing review in the New Yorker:

"These probing essays on writers and artists-such as Richard Wright, Edward Said, Jacques Derrida, and Kamel Daoud-reflect Adam Shatz's abiding interests: the intellectual life of the Francophone and the Arab worlds, leftist politics, and the nature of political art." 

Writers and Missionaries has also been highly-endorsed by Pankaj Mishra:

"For over two decades, Adam Shatz has re-animated the old Anglo-American model of the man of letters, bringing a cosmopolitan flair and moral urgency to de-politicised realms of literary criticism and intellectual journalism. His refusal of conventional pieties is consistently bracing; these selected essays brilliantly showcase his broad and extraordinarily cohesive sensibility."

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Today, liberal antiracism has proven powerless against structural oppression. As Arun Kundnani demonstrates, white liberals can heroically confront their own whiteness all they want, yet these structures remain.

What Is Antiracism?: And Why It Means Anticapitalism is a must-read —outlining why fighting racism means striking at its capitalist roots. Here is what Robin D.G. Kelley had to say:

"Drawing lessons from a long tradition of anticolonial, anti-imperialist, and Marxist intellectuals and movements, Arun Kundnani demonstrates how racism and capitalism are indivisible parts of one global system. And unless we can see the whole, we'll never know how to fight."

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Winner of the 2023 Walkley non-fiction journalism prize.

Shortlisted for the 2023 Moore Prize for Human Rights Writing.

For more than 50 years, occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has given the Israeli state invaluable experience in controlling an "enemy" population, the Palestinians. It's here that they have perfected the architecture of control.

Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein, author of Disaster Capitalism, uncovers this largely hidden world, showing in-depth, how Palestine has become the perfect laboratory for the Israeli military-techno complex.

The Palestine Laboratory has been described as "a must read on a hidden and shocking aspect of the Israeli colonisation of the Palestinians" by Ilan Pappe; "A triumph of investigative journalism" by Avi Shlaim; a "persuasive and timely intervention" by Eyal Weizman, and "a sad and sordid record of how "the light unto the nations" became the purveyor of the means of violence and brutal repression" by Noam Chomsky.

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Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World by Brett Christophers exposes the new villains of our financial system.

Selected as one of the Best Summer Books of 2023 by the Financial Times, and picked by the New Statesman as one of their Best Books of the Year,  Our Lives in Their Portfolios received many great reviews and endorsements:

"[One] of the best analysts of contemporary global capitalism."- Kojo Koram, Times Literary Supplement

"An impressive feat...Christophers does what few other economists are able to convincingly undertake in less than three hundred pages. He has written a book on the creeping financialization of our daily lives that an informed, generalist audience can understand, and told it through engaging and relatable case studies." - Adam Almeid, Jacobin

"When we shop, park, care for our loved ones, pay rent or our utilities bills, you and I are often little more than tiny trickles of income for companies whose names are not on our bills and that we may not even know. How did this happen and what does it say about where power lies? As ever, Brett Christophers makes a lucid, knowledgeable and impressively unimpressable guide to terrain usually fenced off from the public." - Aditya Chakrabortty, Senior economics commentator, The Guardian

"An excellent book that sheds light on the grim reality of modern asset management unfolding at the heart of our society: the homes where we live and the energy infrastructures we depend on... His book is a captivating take on a consequential multitrillion-dollar industry for everyone seeking to understand the configurations of an increasingly unequal and non-transparent economic system." - Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University College London and author of The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy

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Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the HIV/AIDS crisis and a world that white supremacy has built. In this incredible book she reflects on a lifetime of struggle and the future of black, queer, and trans liberation. Thank you to Angela Davis for this brilliant endorsement!

"The extraordinary insights in this book, always punctuated by Miss Major's razor-sharp wit, allow us to understand how liberation movements for trans, queer and other routinely marginalized people can hold the most emancipatory potential for all." - Angela Davis, author of Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

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"We came to Britain in search of better opportunities or to get some of the wealth which had been misappropriated from the Caribbean, but what in reality did we find?" Speak Out brings together the writings of Brixton Black Women's Group for the first time, in a landmark collection. Described by  Bernardine Evaristo as:

"An important testament to the pioneering Black British feminists of the 1970s and '80s who set up groups and centres, and bravely and brilliantly campaigned against discrimination and for social change in the face of extreme opposition. Long ignored and undervalued, their grassroots activism adds unique and essential layers to the recorded histories of the era"

And Lola Olufemi:

"For a new generation of feminist thinkers the relevance of this collection cannot be overstated. Intended for local distribution, the articles are a testament to the continuous theoretical study, fierce discipline, comradeliness and revolutionary love central to resistance against the most violent arms of the state...A balm, an instruction manual a historical object that defies temporality and a response to the forces that seek to depoliticise the history of racialised women's struggle for freedom in Britain."

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Love and Money, Sex and Death by McKenzie Wark is a breathtaking memoir of transition, history, art, and memory, and one of our publishing highlights this year. These two endorsements, from Susan Stryker and Chris Kraus, capture the power and beauty of this book!

"Seeing the world unfold from the perspective of a self is easier than seeing that self as a particular folding-up of the world. MacKenzie Wark's special genius, in this wild ride across the late twentieth century and its aftermath, is to offer both perspectives at once, shimmying and shaking between the two with gleeful and brilliant abandon." - Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History

"McKenzie Wark's account of her life to this point fuses friendship and history, love and ideas. Radically honest and beautifully light, her memoir offers brilliant and challenging ways of understanding how fluidly gender is actually lived by those who dare. Like all of her work, it's really a personal manifesto. I was inspired and energized reading this book."- Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

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This is the first full-scale biography of Osip Mandelstam to combine an analysis of his poetry with a description of his personal life, from his beginnings as a young intellectual in pre-revolutionary Russia to his final fate as a victim of Stalinism.

Described as “compelling” in the Times Literary Supplement and “enlightening” in Literary Review, this biography of Osip Mandelstam was selected as one of the Best Books of the Year in the Financial Times:

"A timely reminder of both the long history of repression in Russia and the powerful role that literature can play. Dutli's rounded portrait of a Russian poet unafraid to speak truth to power brings to life the man and his time."

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Another fiction highlight of the year, Hit Parade of Tears by Izumi Suzuki published to a stream of glowing reviews. Here are some highlights!

"This collection showcases [Suzuki's] unique sensibility, which combined a punk aesthetic with a taste for the absurd. Her work-populated by misfits, loners, and femmes fatales alongside extraterrestrial boyfriends, intergalactic animal traffickers, and murderous teen-agers with E.S.P.-wryly blurs the boundary between earthly delinquency and otherworldly phenomena." - The New Yorker

"The work and messages of Ursula K. Le Guin, the author’s longer-lived contemporary, come to mind. Both Suzuki and Le Guin knew that gender roles are a matter of costume or control, affect or affliction. The terms we use to define humanity are often inhuman" -  Catherine Lacey, New York Times

"Not only still relevant but remarkably fresh ... All these stories are brilliant" - Guardian

"Extraordinary. To use one of her own coolly illuminating formulations, Suzuki is steward of a new anxiety." - China Miéville

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How to Blow Up a Pipeline by Andreas Malm has been a bestseller since its publication in 2021.

In Fighting in a World on Fire: The Next Generation's Guide to Protecting the Climate and Saving Our Future it has been adapted for younger readers. Retaining the same bold call for a more confrontational climate justice movement, this book brings urgent questions to the most important audience of all: those who are growing up in a world on fire.

"I would recommend Fighting in a World on Fire to any young activist looking to learn more about the climate movement. It serves a great purpose as an introductory book into not only the world of the climate movement, but also reading political books in general." - Dylan Williams,  Socialist Worker

"Reading this brilliant book I found myself underlining whole passages, ticking repeatedly in the margins and inwardly cheering. Every school library should buy a copy. Every concerned parent should make sure their children have access to it." - Tom Tolkien, School Reading List

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Natopolitanism takes an in-depth look at the evolution and aggrandizement of NATO since the turn of the 1990s. What purposes does NATO serve in the post-Cold War world? What is the balance sheet of a quarter century of alliance expansion, and what part did it play in the eruption of conflict on Europe’s eastern marches?

Contributors to the volume, including John J. Mearsheimer, Mary Elise Sarotte, Susan Watkins, Wolfgang Streeck, and Volodymyr Ishchenko, revisit this this history as it unfolded.

Endorsements include:

"A bracing critical review of the 'most successful alliance' in history. An essential primer for the new era of Natopolitanism." - Adam Tooze, author of Crashed

"After Donald Trump brazenly doubted NATO's necessity, the Ukraine war reanimated the zombie. This indispensable collection sets sanctimony to one side, gathering diverse reflections on the alliance's functions and trajectory since the Cold War — including in the coming of the Ukraine war itself." - Samuel Moyn, Yale University

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Britain was once the leading economy in Europe; it is now the most unequal. In Shattered Nation, Danny Dorling - leading geographer and author of Inequality and the 1% - shows that we are growing further and further apart. Jeremy Corbyn and David Olusoga are just two of many endorsers who speak to the necessity of this book:

"The self-deception that we are a nation of fairness and justice is systematically exploded by a calm and persistent use of factual observations of the lives of people, spread between the super rich and the increasingly poor and socially left behind, in all parts of the country ... To read this could be depressing and disempowering, but that is not the intention. It is up to us, all of us, to be prepared to argue for a society that really does care for all" -  Jeremy Corbyn, MP

"Sobering, shocking and brilliantly incisive. A snap-shot of a divided nation and a powerful antidote to nostalgic fantasies." - David Olusoga, author of Black and British

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Deadly and Slick: Sexual Modernity and the Making of Race by Sita Balani is a groundbreaking new analysis of the making of modernity, sexuality and race.

Described as an "essential and lucid analysis" by Maya Goodfellow and "smart, lucid and funny - an urgently needed account of the colonial histories and troubling presents that shape the politics of racism and sexuality" by Gargi Bhattacharya, the book also received the following endorsements:

"Through an astounding display of Sita Balani's skill and care with the craft of writing, Deadly and Slick collapses the binary categories of race, gender and sexuality to show how they are co-constitutive of each other. Read this book if you want to break through the myopia of more shallow discussions about how identity interacts with politics and follow Balani into deeper analytical realms." - Kojo Koram, author of Uncommon Wealth

"Balani not only throws a retrospective spotlight on the mercurial fluidity of race, gender, class, sexuality and culture in the colonial project, she digs into the crevices to expose every lethal outcome." - Stella Dadzie, author of A Kick in the Belly

"Deadly and Slick is a coruscating history of marriage, empire, racecraft, the capitalist family, and the rise of 'affective individualism,' distilling the very best of contemporary anti-colonial, queer and marxist theorizing" - Sophie Lewis, author of Abolish the Family and Full Surrogacy Now

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An exploration into the very similar work of selling art and selling sex, from a luminous new voice.

“Between the sex worker and art worker is a tension that defines the contemporary commodification of bodies, genders, time and desires. Working Girl documents Giovannitti's critical and creative interventions into this fraught and fascinating zone. She invites us to be more than voyeurs, and to think with her what is at stake in the art of sex and the sex of art.” McKenzie Wark, author of Capital is Dead

“Filled with clarity and a generous spirit, Sophia Giovannitti's Working Girl is a singular sensation you immediately feel the power of while reading. And later, as you begin to release all your outdated beliefs, you then realize Working Girl completely turned out in the best way possible: you too can be the art object that verbs.” - Tourmaline, artist

"Giovannitti brings a fresh criticality ... when considering how expectations of intimacy and creativity intersect with workers' rights and autonomy within late-stage capitalist anxiety." - Esmé Hogeveen, Frieze

"Magnetic and erudite...[Giovannitti's] intelligence is a kind of beautiful obliteration; her disdain for work and capitalism shimmers, while also proffering the profound devotion she has for art.” - Ayden LeRoux, The Los Angeles Review of Books

“In Giovannitti's informed and elegant analysis, sex and art come soaked in capitalist relations, their potential for holiness no barrier to the all-encompassing reach of commodification.” - Frankie Miren, author of The Service

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On a wintry Delhi evening on 30 January 1948, Nathuram Godse shot Gandhi at point-blank range, forever silencing the man who had delivered independence to his nation.

Dhirendra Jha's deeply researched history places Nathuram Godse's life as the juncture of the dangerous fault lines in contemporary India: the quest for independence and the rise of Hindu nationalism.  Pankaj Mishra describes the book as:

"Dhirendra K. Jha has anatomized, with calm resourcefulness, the politics and psychology of a fanatic. He has also written a secret and sinister history of modern India-the one we need to understand our ruinous present."

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The essential guide to this new landscape of NFTs, Web3, Crypto and DAOs and a warning of the political consequences of what happens when platform capitalism comes for the money in your pocket.

Long-listed for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year.

"Shot through with references to philosophy, credit scores and sociological treatises on the nature of money ... [O'Dwyer] leavens the theory with interviews and stories of people who have been sucked into the digital token economy in different ways." - Brooke Masters,  Financial Times

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Essays on politics, power, and culture from one of America's most eminent critics.

"A gifted critic who restores to authority an idea of the public intellectual as one whose prose itself – lucid, ardent, immensely thoughtful – makes educated citizens of us all." - Vivian Gornick, author of Taking a Long Look

"One of America's best all-round intellects." - James Wood, author of Serious Noticing

"George Scialabba is one of a handful of public intellectuals who are keeping the critical spirit alive in a time of stupefying complacency. His essays are unfailingly fresh, provocative, and pleasurable." - Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation

"I am one of many readers who stay on the lookout for George Scialabba's byline. His reviews and essays are models of moral inquiry. He cuts to the core of the ethical and political dilemmas he discusses. Scialabba reads very widely and very carefully; he is as illuminating about Nietzsche and Ortega as about Orwell and Trilling." - Richard Rorty, author of Pragmatism as Anti-Authoritarianism

Crooked Plow

Crooked Plow

'I heard our grandmother asking what we were doing.'"Say something!" she demanded, threatening to tear out our tongues. Little did she know that one of us was holding her tongue in her hand.'Deep ...
Writers and Missionaries
Through a close reading of the lives and works of some of the greatest intellectuals of recent times, Adam Shatz asks: do writers have an ethical imperative to question injustice? How can one remai...
What Is Antiracism?
Liberals have been arguing for nearly a century that racism is fundamentally an individual problem of extremist beliefs. Responding to Nazism, thinkers like gay rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld and...
Our Lives in Their Portfolios
Banks have taken a backseat since the global financial crisis over a decade ago. Today, our new financial masters are asset managers, like Blackstone and BlackRock. And they don't just own financia...
Miss Major Speaks
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the H...
Speak Out!

Speak Out!

"We came to Britain in search of better opportunities or to get some of the wealth which had been misappropriated from the Caribbean, but what in reality did we find?"Speak Out brings together the ...
Love and Money, Sex and Death
After a successful career, a twenty-year marriage, and two kids, McKenzie Wark has an acute midlife crisis: coming out as a trans woman. Changing both social role and bodily form recasts her relati...
Osip Mandelstam
This is the first full-scale biography of Osip Mandelstam to combine an analysis of his poetry with a description of his personal life, from his beginnings as a young intellectual in pre-revolution...
Hit Parade of Tears

Hit Parade of Tears

A new collection of stories from the cult author of Terminal Boredom.Izumi Suzuki had ideas about doing things differently, ideas that paid little attention to the laws of physics, or the laws of t...
Fighting in a World on Fire
Young people are inheriting a world of climate catastrophe. Young people are also one of the strongest forces leading movements for climate justice, and to halt the fossil fuel emissions that are m...
Natopolitanism
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the fortunes of NATO - pronounced "braindead" only a few years prior - have been miraculously revived. The alliance, buoyed by surging European military b...
Shattered Nation
Britain was once the leading economy in Europe; it is now the most unequal. In Shattered Nation, leading geographer and author of Inequality and the 1% shows that we are growing further and further...
Deadly and Slick
If race is increasingly understood to be socially constructed, why does it continue to seem like a physiological reality? The trickery of race, Sita Balani argues, comes down to how it is embedded ...
Gandhi's Assassin
Dhirendra Jha's deeply researched history places Nathuram Godse's life as the juncture of the dangerous fault lines in contemporary India: the quest for independence and the rise of Hindu nationali...
Tokens
Longlisted for the FT Schroders Business Book of the Year Award 2023 - A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: GQ, Los Angeles Times, WiredWherever you look, money is being re- placed by tokens. Digital platforms...
The Palestine Laboratory
WINNER OF THE 2023 WALKLEY NON-FICTION JOURNALISM PRIZEShortlisted for the 2023 Moore Prize for Human Rights WritingA BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New Republic, WiredIsrael's military industrial com...
Only a Voice
In Only a Voice, George Scialabba examines the chasm between modernity's promise of progress and the sobering reality of our present day through studies of the most influential public intellectuals...
Working Girl
Sex and art, we're told, are sacred, two spheres that ought to be kept separate from the ravages of the marketplace. Yet both prop up two incredibly lucrative industries, built on the commodificati...

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