ICM Partners Applauds Nine Clients on Time’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 List.
2019 was yet another banner year for the printed word, and that was celebrated recently in Time’s annual list of Must-Read Books for the year. ICM Partners is proud that the fantastic work from nine of our clients was included in the prestigious list. The following are excerpts from TIME.
Congratulations to all who were recognized.
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations
Just months before the literary luminary and Nobel laureate died this year, Toni Morrison published a collection of 43 works of short nonfiction from the past four decades. Through the course of these essays, lectures, and eulogies, Morrison trains her attention on an array of subjects: those killed during 9/11; Martin Luther King, Jr., and James Baldwin; blackness and whiteness; womanhood; art; language; migration; discrimination; and imagination. The anthology, organized by theme, offers its owners everlasting entry into the supreme observations of one of our most transcendent minds.
The Topeka School
As many of his contemporaries in both fiction and nonfiction have attempted to unfurl the intermingled roots and expressions of “toxic masculinity,” BEN LERNER’S The Topeka School stands apart. At its core, the novel examines how white men turn emotion (often, rage) into language. Adam, who readers met as a poet in LERNER’S first novel, is reintroduced as a younger man, a Kansas high school debate state champion. Through Adam, his therapist parents and a school outcast, LERNER analyzes male fury and how rhetoric can help it metastasize.
The Memory Police
YOKO OGAWA, trans. Stephen Snyder
Decorated Japanese novelist YOKO OGAWA’S latest work translated to English is a haunting dystopia about a nameless society where objects disappear (perfume, roses, food) and memories are erased, all enforced by a terrifying police force. Narrated by a novelist who tries to take a stand by protecting a man who retains his memories, The Memory Police, though first published in Japanese in 1994, is eerily prescient in the era of big data, dissipating privacy and the surveillance state.
The Dutch House
Danny and Maeve had a mother, but she left shortly after they moved into the Dutch house. And they had a father, but he stopped talking to them much after their mother left. And eventually, they no longer have the Dutch house or any of the money that went with it. All they have is each other, and Maeve is going to make sure that’s enough—if not for both of them, then at least for Danny. ANN PATCHETT’S latest is a polished jewel of a novel about family, wealth and the corrosive effect each has on the other—unless someone, usually female, takes a stand.
Magical Negro: Poems
In her latest collection, poet MORGAN PARKER drops this unforgettable line: “My body is an argument I did not start.” Positioned as a counter to the problematic “magical negro” trope so prevalent in film, wherein a black character is used to help or save a white character’s soul, MORGAN instead finds magic in the daily existence of black people. She mines the nuanced joys and injustices inherent to black life, dismantling long-held stereotypes in the process.
Fleishman Is In Trouble
The co-parenting efforts of a recently separated couple hit a major snag when Toby Fleishman’s ex unexpectedly drops off the kids and never returns. Toby’s new life as a single man in New York City is disrupted as he’s faced with an urgent and resentment-fueled question: Where is his Rachel? Packed with details illuminating a certain type of life in the city (workout tops touting ridiculous mantras, the dating-app habits of bored 40-somethings and more), Fleishman Is in Trouble doesn’t stop at dissecting a marriage—it tears one apart to revel in the wildly uncomfortable, hilarious and raw challenges of long-term monogamy.
Billed as the “black Bridget Jones,” Queenie secured its 25-year-old author a six-figure deal, soared to number two on the U.K.’s Sunday Times bestseller list and is being adapted for television. CANDICE CARTY-WILLIAMS’S debut novel follows Queenie Jenkins, a young British Jamaican woman working at a newspaper in London, whose life starts to unravel when she splits up with her long-term boyfriend. Queenie’s troubled friendships and romantic misadventures can be hilarious, but the comparison to Bridget Jones’s Diary understates the depths of Queenie’s difficulties. CARTY-WILLIAMS deftly depicts a woman struggling through depression and self-destruction and offers an astute commentary on prejudice in Britain today.
At first glance, JOANNE RAMOS’ The Farm may seem like a predictable thriller about pregnancy. Two of the novel’s narrators—paid surrogates who live under lock and key at a well-appointed “gestational retreat” called Golden Oaks—are carrying babies of unknown parentage, unable to access their lives outside “the farm.” But instead of relying on easy villains in a story that quickly turns sinister, Ramos turns to three of the issues that divide America: race, class, and immigration. Nuanced characters and a fast-paced narrative elevate a story that might otherwise feel weighed down by its themes.
The title of journalist LISA TADDEO’S bestselling first book is direct: She tells the stories of a trio of women in an effort to understand the nature of modern female desire. But what TADDEO found over the course of eight years of reporting is anything but straightforward. Through the stories of a young woman in North Dakota who had an affair with her teacher at age 17, a housewife in Indiana and an East Coast wife playing out her husband’s fantasies (sometimes with other people’s spouses) readers witness mistakes, moral confusion and more than one bad man. Her often fraught depiction, though limited by the diversity of its subjects, adds another dimension to the current cultural interrogation of desire—and the profound differences between what men and women do and don’t want.
For the full list of TIME’S picks, click here.