We asked a range of authors and creative types to name books that bring solace or understanding in this age of rancor. More than two dozen responded. Here’s what the culture-critic Reza Farazmand, creator of the twisted and hilarious cult comic Poorly Drawn Lines (also a best-selling book) came up with.
Latest book: Poorly Drawn Lines
Also known for: Trash Bird (web comic)
Recommended reading: Somehow, Cat’s Cradle still manages to present a fictional political setting stranger than the one we’re in now. I can reread Kurt Vonnegut’s absurd parody of Cold War politics and think, “Well, at least things aren’t this weird yet.” Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, by Hunter S. Thompson, is an essential guide to campaigns, politicians, and the creative obscenities needed to describe them. Thompson transmits unfiltered insights on American politics and media from a different era, lending some recent historical perspective to the landscape we see today.
The complete series: Daniel Alarcón, Kwame Alexander, Margaret Atwood, W. Kamau Bell, Ana Castillo, Jeff Chang, T Cooper, Michael Eric Dyson, Dave Eggers, Reza Farazmand, William Gibson, Mohsin Hamid, Piper Kerman, Phil Klay, Alex Kotlowitz, Bill McKibben, Rabbi Jack Moline, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Peggy Orenstein, Wendy C. Ortiz, Darryl Pinckney, Joe Romm, Karen Russell, George Saunders, Tracy K. Smith, Ayelet Waldman, Jesmyn Ward, and Gene Luen Yang.