6 Exciting New Books for Winter

6 Excellent New Books for Winter


Social Media, Freedom of Speech, and the Future of Our Democracy

Edited by Lee C. Bollinger ’71LAW, ’02HON and Geoffrey R. Stone 

When radio and television first emerged, the federal government created an agency to oversee the new methods of communication. But social media has no such governing body, and questions about free speech, hate speech, and the spreading of misinformation have risen to the forefront of public conversation. In their timely new essay collection, First Amendment scholars Lee C. Bollinger and Geoffrey R. Stone have assembled a formidable group of more than thirty contributors — including Hillary Clinton, Apple general counsel Katherine Adams, and journalist Emily Bazelon — to tackle this critical issue.


Map of Hope and Sorrow 

By Helen Benedict and Eyad Awwadawnan 

For hundreds of thousands of refugees from Africa and the Middle East, Greece has been a beacon, the gateway to Europe and the promise of a better life. But today, many find themselves in limbo — trapped there for years in what are arguably Europe’s worst refugee camps. Columbia journalism professor Helen Benedict teamed up with Syrian writer and refugee Eyad Awwadawnan to tell five of their stories. The profiles are compelling and empathetic — Awwadawnan was himself a resident of a Greek refugee camp — and together form a harrowing depiction of an urgent humanitarian crisis.


Come Back in September 

By Darryl Pinckney ’88CC 

In her creative-writing seminar at Barnard College, Elizabeth Hardwick liked to tell students that the only reasons to write were “desperation or revenge.” But neither seem to be present in Darryl Pinckney’s new book, a beautifully rendered look at his life-altering friendship with Hardwick, which began when he was a student in that seminar in 1973. Hardwick was an unlikely mentor for Pinckney. But, Pinckney writes, “I was pretty sure there was no other writer like her.” Part portrait and part coming-of-age memoir, it’s an ode not just to Hardwick but to the vibrant intellectual world she folded Pinckney into.


Brotherless Night

By V. V. Ganeshananthan ’07JRN 

The Hippocratic Oath says that doctors should do no harm. But what does that mean during war? For Sashi, the protagonist of V. V. Ganeshananthan’s stunning second novel, it’s a complex question. When the book opens, Sashi is a teenager  hoping to study medicine. Her dreams are derailed by Sri Lanka’s escalating civil war, so Sashi decides to join a family friend and become a medic for the militant Tamil Tigers. But with atrocities happening all around her, she struggles to find a way forward. “I want you to understand,” Sashi says. That’s an impossible order, but thanks to Ganeshananthan’s vivid, heart-wrenching prose, we get a sense of the tragic decade-long conflict and of its profound human toll.



By Lynn Steger Strong ’14SOA 

It’s the first Christmas since their mother died, and adult siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin are convening with their families at Henry’s new upstate New York house. But everyone has their mind on another home — the one their mother has just left behind in Florida, with no instructions for the future. Lynn Steger Strong, also the author of the acclaimed novels Want and Hold Still, is an astute chronicler of family dynamics, particularly when financial interests collide. She showcases that skill again here, creating a cast of lived-in characters and pitting them against one another in unpredictable ways.



By Beverly Gage ’04GSAS 

It’s nearly impossible to overstate the impact that J. Edgar Hoover had on twentieth-century American history during his almost fifty-year tenure as director of the FBI. In her revelatory new biography — named one of the Washington Post’s top ten books of 2022 — historian Beverly Gage delves deep into the life and career of this monumental figure. This is Gage’s first biography, but she has already proved herself a master of the form, giving us a riveting, impeccably researched portrait not just of this complicated man but also of the changing world around him.