When an unarmed black teenager, Kahlil, is shot and killed by police during a traffic stop, his childhood best friend, Starr, is the only witness to his death, aside from the cop who killed him. After Khalil’s death, Starr is thrown into a world in which hashtags bring recognition but not justice. She is forced to confront the reactions and inactions of white society and the reality of the injustice that plagues black life in this country. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this fictional story is a poignant and necessary exploration of police brutality and racism in today’s America.
When a media-celebrity-turned-tyrant ascends to prominence, he brings about the apocalyptic destruction of our world. Only an elite class of the human race is able to escape the catastrophic effects on our planet, fleeing to a pseudo-life on a space-station, where their individuality and sexuality are strictly regulated by the fascist regime. Within this societal pressure, a movement is born in which heroes burn and bodies become the ultimate artistic canvas. Lidia Yuknavitch depicts a world that is both uniquely alien and terrifyingly close to home in this phenomenal re-imagining of the Joan of Arc story.
In a poor Jamaican community, Delores peddles souvenirs to tourists at the market while her eldest daughter, Margot, works at the nearby resort, peddling paradise to men with money and burying her own desires. Margot’s younger sister, Thandi, carries the weight of the family’s hopes for a brighter future, yet she sees salvation not in the elite school her family can barely afford, but in the skin-whitening remedies that promise a new life. Dennis-Benn’s brilliant debut novel illuminates the sexism, racism, and classism of the region while blazing with lyrical and narrative profundity.
As the internet becomes an increasingly integral part of our daily lives, there is an unprecedented ability to collect and examine large swaths of data about how we think, act, and portray ourselves, both on and off-line. Rudder, one of the founders of the dating site OkCupid, deftly parses through the mass amounts of data that is regularly collected by our online actions to demonstrate how we perceive ourselves and others, how disparate our actions are from our words, and what big data can tell us about human nature.