10 New Books We Recommend This Week
THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR THE COLLEGE: A whole new roadmap for the biggest financial decision your family will ever make, by Ron Lieber. (Harper / HarperCollins, $ 27.99.) Lieber’s book is a comprehensive guide to trying to pay for higher education. It explains in detail how to save money, seek help, and negotiate with colleges while carefully acknowledging the sometimes conflicting perspectives of the parties involved. “Understood as a self-help book,” The Price You Pay for College “is an extraordinary achievement,” wrote Daniel Markovits in his review. “It’s comprehensive and detailed without being boring, practical without being banal, impeccably well judged and unusually strict. However, the main title suggests a sensitivity that goes deeper than friendly advice. “
ORDESA, by Manuel Vilas. Translated by Andrea Rosenberg. (Riverhead, $ 28.) This midlife meditation on longing and loneliness consists of many other things: auto-fiction, something between novel and poetry, a collage of memories and ancestors, a treatise on a changing land. Spanish writer Vilas explores emotional depths, but with a light touch. “Despite the melancholy in the heart, this is ultimately a book of light – the sunlight streaming through Manuel’s haunted apartment, the magical summer vacation in a place called Ordesa at the foot of the Pyrenees, his parents’ lost paradise in the blush of youth,” writes Anderson Tepper in his review. “‘Ordesa’ does feel hideous and fragmentary, and that’s part of its charm too.”
THIS OLD COUNTRY MUSIC: Stories, by Kevin Barry. (Doubleday, $ 23.95.) Optimism and sadness anchor the stories in this collection, where relationships take unexpected turns and characters confuse themselves and themselves. Barry’s writing sparkles as always and moves quickly between pathos and humor with great effect. “The first two stories in the book show Barry’s most emotional interests: longing, hope, self-loathing, other aversion, maybe just a shot more hope, heartbreak, resignation,” writes John Williams in his review. “It’s a classically Irish palette that balances the lawn and the moon.”
Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, by Benjamin M. Friedman. (Knopf, $ 37.50.) In this amazingly researched and insightful book, Friedman argues that in order to understand the American capitalist system and modern economy we must look for its roots in early Protestant theology. Alan Wolfe praises the depth of Friedman’s analysis: “It covers not only the major thinkers in both business and theology, but also the lesser-known who have shaped their thinking. He can credibly discuss the philosophy of John Locke and the science of Isaac Newton. As you read Friedman, words like “Magisterial”, “Masterpiece” and “Magnificent” floated through my mind. “
BEGINNER: The joy and transformative power of lifelong learning, by Tom Vanderbilt. (Button, $ 26.95.) Vanderbilt is jealous of all the new skills his child is learning and decides to see what he can learn as an adult. Trying to learn chess, singing, surfing, juggling and drawing teaches him a lot about the process of acquiring new knowledge when your brain is no longer as flexible. “As we’ve spent most of 2020 becoming increasingly cut off from the outside world, we’ve turned more and more to simply redirecting the digital to compensate for the ongoing loss of some kind of primer for resumption of life,” writes Cal Newport in his review.