6 New Books We Recommend This Week

From punk to poetry to politics, we’ve got you covered this week: Our recommended books include Kathleen Hanna’s memoir of life as a groundbreaking figure in music’s riot grrrl movement, Andrea Cohen’s latest collection of sly and engaging poems, and Isaac Arnsdorf’s deeply reported look at the grass roots loyalists who have sustained MAGA as a political force.

Also up, a biography of Sigmund Freud’s most famous patient and, in fiction, two noteworthy debut novels. Happy reading. — Gregory Cowles

There have been several books about the Trumpification of Republican elites, but Arnsdorf focuses instead on the MAGA grass roots — the “faces in the crowd” who continue to insist that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and are determined to never let such an outrage happen again.

After years of drinking himself into “increasingly dire circumstances,” the narrator of Deagler’s debut novel quits the bottle and tries living at his parents’ suburban house, where sympathy and moral support are in short supply. He ends up couch-surfing in Philadelphia just months into his sobriety, challenged at every turn by the hazards and lures of the city.

Astra House | $26

You may know her as “Anna O.,” Freud’s famous case study of a “hysteric” cured by the nascent practice of psychoanalysis. In real life, as Brownstein relates, she was Bertha Pappenheim, a young Viennese woman who did indeed suffer from a range of mysterious symptoms. But she was not in fact cured, and spent many years in a mental hospital before finding some measure of relief. Brownstein intercuts this biography with an account of his own troubles and a discussion of functional neurological disorder, which he sees as a modern analog to hysteria.

PublicAffairs | $32

Though Hanna’s name is synonymous with the riot grrrl movement in music, her disarming memoir encompasses far more than her time fronting the formative indie bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Tales of an upbringing and young adulthood marked by rampant emotional and sexual abuse are leavened here by a ferocious wit and undimmable creative spirit.

A Taiwanese American human rights lawyer by day, Chung imbues her debut novel — based in part on memories shared by her grandmother — with spitfire flair and real-life specificity. Her colorful portrait of a young girl’s harrowing journey across China in the wake of the Communist revolution comes alive with villains, twists and unlikely triumphs over adversity.

Berkley | $28

Cohen is a poet who finds the romance in wit; in this collection, her eighth, her signature maneuver is a kind of twist or flourish that shifts a poem away from the (usually sentimental) ending that seems to be coming.

Four Way Books | Paperback, $17.95

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