Blake Eskin | Books

The Observer Decameron—Sixth Day

book cover Addiction by Design
Natasha Dow Schull
A cautionary tale about human-computer interaction and a subtle polemic against techno-libertarianism. Who knew the book of the decade would be a work of anthropology?

book cover A Muse and a Maze
Peter Turchi
A followup to Maps of the Imagination, which compared writing and cartography. This one looks at fiction as a form of puzzle or game.

book cover Things: A Story of the 60s
Georges Perec
An early, less playful work by the French Jewish writer who figures prominently in A Muse and a Maze.

book cover People in Glass Houses
Shirley Hazzard
More stories of the 60s, also early and less distinctive, inspired by the author’s wasted years at the United Nations.

book cover Brain of the Firm
Stafford Beer
Tough going, and I confess I could not finish, yet cybernetics finally made some sense (I think) from his detailed parallels between how people and corporations know what to do.

book cover Rogue Male
Geoffrey Household
“It’s easy to make a man confess the lies he tells to himself; it’s far harder to make him confess the truth.”

book cover Light Years
James Salter
Finally got around to this writer’s writer’s writer’s writer, who died in June. A dated sensibility but beautiful prose.

book cover The Wallcreeper
Nell Zink
Adultery and birds and clever sentences, yet not at all like James Salter.

book cover Syllabus
Lynda Barry
Notes from the cartoonist’s writing workshop for nonwriters and nonartists. Even more helpful than an adult coloring book.

book cover Henny Wampum Had a Really Big Head
Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
Another odd treat from the husband-and-wife team behind children’s indie Bobbledy Books. Actually published in 2015.

See all the Top Ten Books from our contributors here

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Jobs | July 24