Alix Nathan’s debut short story collection follows a variety of characters and their lives during 18th century England, a time when the country is shrouded in the atmosphere of revolution and reaching the height of the Enlightenment.
Within the first few pages of If Cats Disappeared From the World, the narrator learns of his imminent death. He returns to his apartment, where he lives alone with little contact with his family following his mother’s death, and seeks solace in the fur of his beloved cat, Cabbage. Before he can truly come to terms with his prognosis, he encounters the Devil, a Hawaiian-shirt-clad version of himself who informs him that he has just a day to live. But the Devil offers him a deal: in exchange for removing one thing from the world, the narrator will be granted an additional day of life. What follows is an unusual week of decisions, in which our narrator learns what really matters to him and what he’s willing to lose in order to live.
David Wallace-Wells expands his viral article of the same name into a terrifying full-length examination of the consequences of unchecked climate change. By examining a multiplicity of effects of global warming, such as the increase in powerful natural disasters to economic depression like nothing we’ve ever seen, Wallace-Wells paints a stark picture of our future world and implores us to act.
House of Impossible Beauties charts the lives of the drags queens that formed the beginning of legendary Latino drag house, the House of Xtravaganza. In 1980s New York City, Angel is seventeen and finally coming into her own. When her mother rejects her, she looks for a new family in the ball scene, where she meets Hector. They fall in love and decide to create their own all-Latino house, with Angel as the ruling mother, and Hector beside her as house father. When Hector dies from AIDs-related causes, Angel must mother her drag children alone. Venus, Juanito and Daniel all lean on each other and their mother Angel, as they learn how to navigate the ballroom scene, along with sex work, drug addiction, and society’s rejection of their true selves.
In a not-so-distant future, abortion is once again illegal in America. Red Clocks explores the impact of these laws on five women living in a rural Oregon fishing town: The Biographer, The Explorer, The Daughter, The Mender, and The Wife.
When Nell Stevens is given a fellowship grant to spend three months where ever she wants to write, she chooses one of the most remote places she can. Wanting a sabbatical from distractions, Nell travels to Bleaker, a small island in the Falklands with only sheep, penguins, and a copy of Dickens’ Bleak House to keep her company. Bleaker House chronicles her short time on the island and the writing process of her novel.
Zlata’s Diary begins as the daily musings of a typical 11-year-old girl, who loves music and her friends. Soon after she starts her diary, war breaks out and Sarajevo becomes a battleground that changes Zlata’s life forever. With no more school or music lessons, the highlights of Zlata’s days are birthdays celebrated with canned food rations, whilst her worst days find her saying goodbye to escaping family and grieving for lost friends.
Lavinia has everything that Louise is missing, so when the two become unlikely best friends, Louise’s life is turned upside down. The parties get wilder, the bills get bigger, and Louise begins to question how far she’ll go keep this up, to have a life like Lavinia’s, or Lavinia’s life itself.
The Flower Girls follows Hazel’s life as an adult, given a new identity as a child after her and her sister committed a brutal act against another child. Hazel, too young to understand, was given a new identity and went on to lead a relatively normal life, whilst her sister, Laurel, has spent her life since in prison. But when a young child goes missing at the same hotel that Hazel and her boyfriend are staying, Hazel’s past begins to rear it’s head, and threatens to ruin everything.
This book of quotes compiled into one of Penguin’s Little Black Classics collects Wilde’s musings on money, science, marraige, and literature, amongst an array of other topics.