In 1972, a couple of young enthusiastic Americans came to Amsterdam, the city where anybody, anything and everything goes, and decided to open a store with American erotic magazines and book remainders bought for 10 cents a pound dry weight. Today the American Book Center has grown into one of the biggest, maybe even the biggest source of American (and British) English-language books and magazine on continental Europe. For general information about the store and their stock, visit www.abc.nl
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus by Douglas Rushkoff
This exposé by an influential media theorist asks why the explosive growth of companies like Amazon and Uber has not delivered more wealth for everyone. Rushkoff argues that the wanton expansion of digital commerce is a form of capitalism on steroids that threatens both industry and society. Covering big data, robots, the gig economy and more, he shows how we can abandon the monopolist attitudes prevalent in the digital economy to create a more distributed prosperity, not just for businesses, but for people too.
In Europe’s Shadow by Robert D. Kaplan
Kaplan has had a lifelong fascination for Romania and its tragic history of domination by great powers from without, like Stalin and Hitler, and from within by the likes of Ceausescu. In his latest book, he travels the country, interviewing government officials, intellectuals and journalists, and admiring its monuments and landscapes. This intriguing and informative account details the identity, culture, complex past and uncertain future of one of Europe’s frontier countries.
The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Seymour Hersh
Hersh has a reputation for uncovering stories Washington would prefer to keep hidden, from the role Kissinger played in Nixon’s government, to torture at Abu Ghraib prison. Now he turns his attention to the story put forward by the White House about the mission to eliminate Bin Laden. The evidence of what really happened is hidden, and American and Pakistani government accounts contradict themselves and each other. Hersh controversially suggests that the Navy SEALS mission to storm Bin Laden’s enclosure was not, as claimed, an all-American affair, but a joint operation between US and Pakistani military intelligence. Whether you believe them or not, Hersh puts forward his arguments clearly and passionately, making this a compelling and fascinating read.
World’s Best Street Food Mini Edition by Lonely Planet
This little book is full of the best junk food on the planet, and not just from the usual places like India and Thailand: there are examples from places like Senegal, Ghana, the Bahamas and Bolivia too. Packed with mouth-watering photos, it gives the history and cultural context of each dish, where to find the very best examples of it, and, even how to cook it at home. From classic hotdogs to exotic pastries, you can bring a taste of the globe to your own kitchen.
Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
A former advisor to Hillary Clinton surveys the technologies that will change our world, including genomics, robotics, cybersecurity, cyberwarfare and big data. The next decade will bring exciting developments like suits enabling paraplegics to walk, drugs to cure cancers, nanorobots that diagnose and treat diseases, and droids to care for an aging population. In plain language, Ross explores the threats posed by these new technologies as well as the benefits to the economy, and provides a thought-provoking road map with which to navigate it all.
At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
It is generally accepted that no one can accurately define existentialism, a philosophy concerned with man’s free will and purpose, but Bakewell attempts to do so in this dazzling book that brings to life some of its major thinkers. The story begins with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir dreaming up existentialism over cocktails in a bar in France, and shows how it went on to enchant Paris and the world, influencing the liberation movements of the ’50s and ’60s. History, philosophy and biography combine beautifully in this well-researched and enjoyable look at complex minds in a unique time and place.
Zero K by Don DeLillo
DeLillo’s 17th novel is a spare, poetic and hauntingly realistic rumination on life and death in the future. Jeffrey and his billionaire father have come to a cryogenic preservation facility in Russia where his stepmother is to be preserved until a cure can be found for her illness. The story follows his sometimes disorganised thoughts as he loses the people dearest to him. They wish to wake up in a new world; he wishes to truly experience this one. But how to do that when we increasingly lose ourselves in circuits and video clips? When our ‘choices’ are made in a world we cannot control? Surprising, funny and brilliantly observed, this is a wonderful existentialist exploration of the beauty and humanity of everyday life.
Pier Falls and Other Stories by Mark Haddon
A fresh collection of imaginative, unsparing short stories from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time about natural disaster, loneliness, conflict and unlovable people in difficult situations. A princess is abandoned in the middle of a war, a man’s life is marked by a gun, and a band of aristocrats sets off looking for adventure only to discover the greatest dangers lurk within themselves. Rich with cinematic detail and memorable characters, each story carries an emotional punch that will linger even as you read your next book.
Ten Days by Gillian Slovo
Inspired by Slovo’s research into the 2011 London riots following the police shooting of Mark Duggan, Ten Days traces a riot from its beginning to the aftermath a year later. The dead man in this story becomes a weapon in political games, used in attempts to depose a Police Commissioner, unseat a Prime Minister and tear families apart. It’s rare to find such a perfectly paced page-turning thriller that is so culturally significant. A thought-provoking portrayal of power and disenfranchisement, greed and ambition, secrets and love.
Meternity by Meghann Foye
In this entertaining chick-lit romance, child-free Liz Buckley is an editor at a glossy parenting magazine. She’s stalled at work and in life, frazzled and running on caffeine and cupcakes. When her bosses assume that her stress-induced nausea is morning sickness, Liz decides to take full advantage. Rocking a fake belly, she takes maternity leave and runs with it, ditching the bump for wild nights out. Her fake due date approaching, Liz unravels as she tries to hide the truth from everyone, including the man who might just be the one.
Far from True by Linwood Barclay
The troubled town of Promise Falls is the scene of a mysterious and deadly explosion at a drive-in, and two linked murders featuring a similar and distinctive wound. Detective Barry Duckworth and private investigator Cal Weaver navigate the intricate subplots involving a basement sex lair, an attempted kidnapping, a missing wife, an arrogant politician and the violent head of security at a local college. When yet another murder takes place, they must pursue their investigations right to the dark heart of this New York town. Vivid characterisation, black humour and a compelling plot make this an unputdownable read.
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The fourth instalment of her popular Victorian fantasy and comedy of errors series sees Dragon naturalist Lady Trent recall her time at a military research programme in the bleak desert of Akhia. Foreign saboteurs threaten both her work and her well-being, as she deals with sexism, faith, romance, social status and propriety, not to mention assassination attempts and her terrible propensity for getting herself into trouble. A wonderfully original formula, a captivating narrator and plenty of smarts and laughs make this a delightful series to lose yourself in.