I read fiction addictively to get as far out of this flat and blighted "real world" as I can. When a friend recommended Ian McDonald's River of Gods, I was dubious; 600 pages, including a glossary of Hindi terms? But it worked, levitating me out of boarding areas and dentists' waiting rooms into India in 2047, where man-made beings artificial intelligences are running amuck, alternative universes pop into existence, and there's a war going on over water.
There aren't many literary sci-fi thrillers that deliver a mind-expanding metaphysical punch, and this one ended all too soon. But in the afterglow of McDonald's lushly blooming imagination, even the real world is looking better.
Ehrenreich's This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation came out in June