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Recent events have resulted in a ream of non-fiction and fiction titles trying to explain the world in which we find ourselves.

Prepare for an onslaught of titles dealing with Donald Trump and the fallout of his presidency.

There are collections of essays, memoirs, letters and notebooks to explain, shed a light on and explore racial divisions, on how far the female liberation movement still has to go, on how space and place is important and fluid and how we still need to challenge the status quo. There seems to “a nostalgia for the future” as Terry Pratchett once said.

Here are 15 books to add to your must-read list:


1) Letters to a Young Muslim | Omar Saif Ghobash

The author encourages his son, in a series of personal letters, to face the issues and struggles that Muslim people face around the globe.

2) Age of Anger: A History of the Present |  Pankaj Mishra

Mishra explores the reasons why young people from the West are joining extremist organisations like ISIS and why we are seeing the rise of aggressive right-wing politics.

“I wrote Age of Anger out of the conviction that history, far from ending, took a dangerous turn in the age of globalisation. We have to re-examine the modern world, this time from the perspective of those who in the previous two centuries came late to it, and felt, like so many do now, left, or pushed, behind,” Mishra says.

3) One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter | Scaachi Koul

This Buzzfeed writer relates in essays about how growing up in Canada as a daughter of immigrant Indians was about being an outsider. She scathingly takes on huge themes of identity, sexism and the mortifying moments in life..

4) Hunger: A Memoir | Roxane Gay

Gay is the bestselling author of Bad Feminist. In her latest, her personal and emotional experience of eating is a jumping point for our shared anxieties over food and pleasure, what we consume and how this affects our self-image and health.

5 & 6) South and West: From a Notebook | Joan Didion
and Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) | David Sedaris

These are both collections you should place on your pre-order list now.

Didion’s is a collection of her notebooks and observations that takes us through California during the Patty Hearst trial in 1976.

Sedaris offers us a peek into his diaries which will no doubt be as pithy, self deprecating and hilarious as his other works.

7) Being Chris Hani’s Daughter | Lindiwe Hani

MF Books Joburg is releasing Being Chris Hani’s Daughter written by Lindiwe Hani and Melinda Ferguson in March. It’s an intimate memoir: 36-year-old Lindiwe remembers the years she shared with her loving father, and how the devastation of his death impacted her family.

Lindiwe became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. In a turnaround of her life, she describes how through searching for the truth of her father’s assassination led her to make peace with herself and her father’s legacy.

When it comes to novels there is a sense of the what if. In Paul Auster’s first novel in seven years, 4321, his character Archibald Isaac Ferguson lives four different parallel lives – all enfolded within a sense of history and pitfalls of mid twentieth century America.


8) 4321 | Paul Auster

In Paul Auster's first novel in seven years, 4321, his character Archibald Isaac Ferguson lives four different parallel lives - enfolded within a sense of history and dealing with the pitfalls of the mid-20th century US.

9) Dancing the Death Drill | Fred Khumalo

This is a fictional tale of the SS Mendi that sank in February 1917 – the book’s release is timed to mark the centenary of the ship’s sinking. Through telling the story Pitso, a war volunteer who found himself on the ship, Khumalo untangles a political tale that transcends history.

10) The Inside Out Man | Fred Strydom

Fred Strydom’s second novel, The Inside Out Man, is about a pianist named Bent who is offered a Faustian proposition by a rich old man. Strydom weaves the themes of consumption, power and privilege into an edgy and gripping tale.

11 - 15) And for lovers of escapism ...

• Neil Gaiman is there to talk about North Mythology;

• Haruki Murakami is bringing out Men Without Women;

• The Girl on the Train’s Paula Hawkins has her second suspense novel, Into the Water, coming soon;

• There’s another Jo Nesbø Harry Hole thriller and

• Dan Brown is back with a new Robert Langdon opus called Origin.

This article was originally published in The Times.

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