As the election countdown begins, a flood of books look backward. Two investigate intraparty conflict: Jonathan Karl traces Trump’s reascension to Republican front-runner in Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party (Dutton), while in Where Have All the Democrats Gone? The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes (Holt), which name-checks the former prez 304 times, Ruy Teixeira and John B. Judis argue for centrist ideals in the face of lefty “radicalism.” There are takes on Trump’s media footprint, including VF special correspondent Brian Stelter’s Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump, and the Battle for American Democracy (Atria/One Signal) and Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and the Washington Post (Flatiron) by former editor Martin Baron.
Other books make the political personal, as in McKay Coppins’s authorized biography Romney: A Reckoning and Liz Cheney’s Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning. And in Tracy K. Smith’s standout To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul (Knopf), the former poet laureate revisits a family history of enslavement to interrogate what being of this country really means. “Can we yet train ourselves,” she writes, “to admit the past more fully and honestly?”
Inventive novels explore love and loss—without clichés
Calida Rawles’s daughters are her muses in the LA-based painter’s “A Certain Oblivion,” a meditation on resilience opening this month at Lehmann Maupin, New York. Here, she shares more inspirations.
RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé, 2022
The album is “on repeat in the studio,” says Rawles. “It gives me energy. Fire. Life.”
FORREST GUMP, 1994
The film, starring Tom Hanks, “is my stranded-island movie” for how it shows “the little things a person can do that can make a major impact in the world. And his ability to stay focused was his key to success. It seems simple but we all know how hard that is.”
SEA OF TRANQUILITY by Emily St. John Mandel, 2022
The novel “has recently been added to my list of favorites,” Rawles says. “It plays with time, perception, and reality; subjects I’ve always been interested in.”