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Bound & Flogged

This week's best in new books from Beck's sheet music to Nancy Fraser on feminist movements

MUSIC BOOK OF THE WEEK: Song Reader by Beck Hansen (Faber & Faber)

It’s here, the book-slash-innovative-music-venture we’ve all been waiting for: a whole album by one of the world’s most treasured song-givers, Beck, released in the form of sheet music and stagnant ‘til you, the reader, give it the good gift of life. Read his conversation with composer Philip Glass from our October issue here. Gone are the days of passive consumption; all hail a new era of interactive musical output!

SCIENCE BOOK OF THE WEEK: The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age by Nathan D. Wolfe

The world’s going to hell in a handbasket and Nathan D. Wolfe is here to tell us how. Ladbrokes have got ‘meteorite’ on at 2:1 for causes of imminent earth-ending, but after reading this, you’d be wise to put your money on ‘global pandemic’. That’s because Wolfe has travelled the globe to consider how modern lifestyles are particularly conducive to carrying viruses. Woo-hoo!

PHILOSOPHY BOOK OF THE WEEK: Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Penguin)

Anyone ever told you to toughen up? Grow a thicker skin? Well Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s latest theory holds that not being hardened to disaster and chaos might just be a good thing. Speaking last night at the Union Chapel, Islington, the charismatic author explained that this latest book is all about reacting creatively and relishing the disorder of life’s more disastrous moments.

FEMINIST BOOK OF THE WEEK: Feminism's Movements: From Women's Liberation to Identity Politics to Anti-Capitalism by Nancy Fraser (Verso)

Feminism’s never not existed really, but it’s had its ebbs and flows. Thanks to the likes of Pussy Riot and Femen, attention seems to have shifted back from the skeletal frame of our malnourished prospective queen (congrats on bagging a price, and all) to the real issues facing women across the world today. This wonderful book by one of our fave social commentators, puts all of that into the context of money and explains feminism’s journey over the past forty years.

NOVEL OF THE WEEK: The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín (Viking)

It’s almost Christmas so why not read up (in an albeit, fictional sense) on mother and miracle worker, Mary “The Virgin” of Nazareth. This devastatingly realistic portrait of the second most mythologized figure in all of religious writing, shows Tóibín at his most witty and most accessible to anyone of any age, Irish or not. Get it for yourself, for your mom or your nan, who cares, just read it.