Jane Austen, Isaac Asimov, Barbara Cooney: Books Briefing

A writer who is good for you

“No other author goes with such casual intimacy as [Austen] … into the vulnerable spot where society touches the root of self. And few authors are at the same time so quietly fearsome and so intensely consoling.”

📚 Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

📚 Emma, by Jane Austen

📚 Jane Austen: A Life, by Claire Tomalin

📚 Jane Austen: A Life, by David Nokes

📚 “The Janeites,” by Rudyard Kipling

The sprawling, empathetic adventure of Saga

Saga relies on a stable of heroes, antiheroes, and villains who span the spectra of age, class, gender, race, and sexual orientation … [The series] stands out as a profane, glorious ode to compassion and equality.”

📚 Saga, by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

Isaac Asimov’s throwback vision of the future

“So many popular science-fiction or speculative-fiction stories that have been given new life today are dystopian … Asimov is perhaps most useful as a counterpoint, a writer whose work resonates because it is out of step with the kind of future that readers have become so used to imagining.”

📚 I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
📚 Foundation, by Isaac Asimov

📚 The End of Eternity, by Isaac Asimov

The humanist message amid the violence of One Thousand and One Nights

“The women in these stories in fact do find their own way—again and again, we watch as the powerless become powerful, and the strong become weak.”

📚 One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling, by Hanan al-Shaykh

Barbara Cooney’s picture-book lessons in moral courage

“Her singular vision of young Americans and her unique ideas about how to write for them make her books more relevant to Americans today—and perhaps more necessary—than ever before.”

📚 Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

📚 Island Boy, by Barbara Cooney

📚 Eleanor, by Barbara Cooney

About us: This week’s newsletter is written by Rosa Inocencio Smith. Her current comfort book is Persuasion, by Jane Austen.

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Rosa Inocencio Smith is a former assistant editor at The Atlantic.

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