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It's spring and soon will be summer. Five new and forthcoming books are already on our reading list. Let us know what's on yours.

1. Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero, by Tyler Cowen (out today)

  • Cowen's productivity astonishes, starting with his must-read blog Marginal Revolution. An economics professor at George Mason, Cowen again goes against the grain with a spirited defense of big business.

2. The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, by Andrea Wulf (out April 2)

  • Wulf follows up her gorgeous The Invention of Nature, a page-turner on Humboldt and the conceptual invention of a living Earth, with a graphic work on the 19th century explorer's life.

3. Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, by Jared Diamond (out May 7)

  • At a time of intense anxiety over our multiple simultaneous crises, Diamond — the Pulitzer-winning geographer-historian — documents how societies through time have overcome theirs, and then assesses our current predicaments.

4. Dignity: Seeking Respect in Backrow America, by Chris Arnade (out June 4)

  • Several years ago, Arnade quit his job on Wall Street to wander U.S. backwaters — especially McDonald's — and deliver his findings and photos on his must-read Twitter feed. Now, he delivers his work at book-length.

5. The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation, by Carl Frey (out June 18)

  • In 2013, Frey and Oxford collaborator Michael Osborne created automation studies as we know them today with a paper asserting that 47% of U.S. jobs are vulnerable to robots. Now, he argues that — if the new age of automation turns out as "well" as prior tech cycles, as optimists predict — we should be truly worried.

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Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

9 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.