Finding a way to navigate the pandemic through the cold winter months doesn’t have to be as challenging as digging the car out in the morning after a winter’s night snowfall fall. The Northeast is currently battling a massive winter storm, indoor dining won’t reopen until later this month, returning to work will be… who knows?
As Americans patiently wait to become eligible for one of the coronavirus vaccines, there isn’t a better time to read and stay socially distanced and away from the cold. While normalcy remains a ways away, perhaps a book can get you through the next month.
Whether you’re looking for stories about Ireland’s dark side, or hoping to understand where it all went wrong for WeWork and former CEO Adam Neumann, there’s always a way to get out of whatever is on your mind with something fresh to read.
Here are three books that can help you get through February.
The rise and fall of WeWork
The fall of real estate startup WeWork was well documented in 2019. After the company announced its blockbuster IPO, issues amounted from every wrong way, from the company being valued inaccurately to the shady, “frat-boy culture” that took place behind the scenes. It all centered around the company’s co-founder and then-CEO Adam Neumann, who went from being a visionary for the modern workspace to tailspinning himself and the company into, well, losers.
In a stunning detailed account of WeWork’s fall, journalist Reeves Wiedeman captures the wackiness and mishaps of the company in “Billion Dollar Loser,” which details how WeWork grew to stunning heights before crashing down in a thrilling page-turner for anyone interested in startup culture or one of the biggest rollercoaster American business rides of the 21st century.
That old Irish magic
Care for a getaway to western Ireland? In “That Old Country Music,” Kevin Barry once again finds ways to humanize and romanticize parts of Ireland off the map that make you realize that unexpected turns come in all forms of life. The collection’s opening story, “The Coast of Leitrim,” follows a middle-aged man’s romance with a cafe worker, starting from the budding beginnings of stalking an Instagram account to the unravelling of second-guessing of Barry, the story’s protagonist.
Barry’s stories explore love, sex, the ugly, heartbreak, and just about every emotion that makes reading worth reading, to teach ourselves something that we didn’t know before. In “Saint Catherine of the Fields,” a recently single musicologist who works with sean-nós music tracks down a man in a nursing home to sing a song about a woman’s affair with a herdsman, which speaks to the narrator who was once betrayed.
The beauty in Barry’s stories is there always seems to be a sprinkle of nostalgia packed in a modern lens that retains the beauty of what was once explored, and what will soon be discovered.
Better than Karl Ove Knausgaard
A poet and pioneer of Danish literature, Tove Ditlevsen’s memoirs find life once again. “The Copenhagen Trilogy,” originally published between 1969 and 1971, come separately — Childhood, Youth, Dependency — or packed together in one volume. Regardless of how you decide to read them, Ditlevsen’s autobiographical trilogy is a confessional journey starting from youth to adulthood, exploring experiences like sex, work, and drug addiction that give a new meaning to confessional writing. “The Copenhagen Trilogy” takes the reader through the mind of a once-dismissed writer finally getting their due in a harrowingly-detailed example of autofiction.