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Anthem by Noah Hawley. Brand new, just out this week – this is a truly epic story set in the US post Covid where there’s an epidemic of anxiety plaguing the younger generation and young Simon Oliver is packed off by his very wealthy parents (made their fortune in something similar to OxyContin), to an expensive Anxiety Treatment clinic near Chicago where he meets a group of similarly affected young people and they set out on an epic road trip across America, with plan to try and make their future – and the future of all American kids – better than it currently is. I loved it. Just FYI I also loved Noah Hawley’s previous books, especially After the Fall and he wrote the screenplay for the TV series Fargo.
Vanderbilt by Anderson Cooper with Katherine Howe. He is of course a very well-known US broadcaster but is also Gloria Vanderbilt’s son and he’s written their family history which is brilliant. Their wealth started in the early 19th century when 11-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt was very entrepreneurial and went on to make a fortune in shipping and on railroads; then his son doubled the family fortune. They had rivers of money – oceans of the stuff – and later generations went on to squander it in some very creative and interesting ways, so that by the time Anderson came along there was none left. It’s wonderful family history but in some ways also the history of America during that time. Highly readable and engaging.
Joan MacKenzie joined Francesca Rudkin to discuss the current recommended reads.