Most people consider Donald Trump to be a gratuitous self-promoter, a somewhat charismatic actor, a clown, a demagogue, a misogynist, or a racist. But what everyone needs to understand about him is that what he considers himself, first and foremost, is a builder. In his latest book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again—the third book that he has written as a politician, after The America We Deserve (2000) and Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again (2011)—he repeats the same gesture that he also makes in the other two, namely that he constantly cites his building accomplishments as qualifications that make him better suited than any career politician imaginable to be President of the United States.
Umberto Eco’s first new novel in five years, Numero Zero, weighs in at 192 pages, versus 400+ for his previous efforts. I’m pretty Eco-friendly—The Name of the Rose was a lot of fun, if a bit overlong—so I was looking forward to something like Rose or Foucault’s Pendulum, except shorter, tighter, and brighter. Instead, readers of Numero Zero will find a little mystery, a bit of fantasy, some humor, and a lot of explanation: for better or for worse, this is a change of pace for Eco.
In a recent review for Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, Guus Valk examined three books—The Sellout, Between the World and Me, and Loving Day—that confront race relations in America. The piece, which was accompanied by an illustration of a man in blackface, featured a headline that read: “Nigger, are you crazy?”