Feeling overwhelmed by the news? Authors recommend books to read as we enter a new decade

Bertholt [sic] Brecht once asked if there would be singing in the dark times and he concluded that yes there would be singing, because we would have to sing about the dark times. I think it is one of the primary jobs of literature to excavate the heartbreak of the world around us. In the course of that excavation we, as readers, try to find some beauty in the rubble. We sift through and find consolation, sometimes in the smallest, most unlikely moments. I find this music in just about every book I read. At this moment I am reading Ariel Dorfman’s extraordinary new novel, “Cautivos.” Even though it is set in the final years of the 16th century, in the world of Cervantes, it is a novel about today and the discovery of song in the dark times. Great books open up the lungs of the world for us. We are never the same when we read the right words put down in the correct order. I constantly turn to writers like Michael Ondaatje, John Berger, Louise Erdrich and so many others. Literature is where I find my faith.

— Colum McCann, author of “Apeirogon”

Read the full list of recommendations here.

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