Books of The Times: The Story of Appalachia, With Plenty of Villains

Steven Stoll’s “Ramp Hollow” is a powerful and outrage-making analysis of the forces, over centuries, that have shaped the region.
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Books of The Times: In Joe Biden’s Memoir, Private Grief and Its Effect on a Public Life

People who have lost someone will take comfort from what Biden has to say about losing his son Beau to brain cancer in “Promise Me, Dad.”
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Books of The Times: Shades of Atwood and Vonnegut in Louise Erdrich’s Dystopian Novel

“Future Home of the Living God,” in the form of a 26-year-old woman’s diary, depicts a future when glitches in evolution are joined by widespread social deterioration.
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Books of The Times: Tina Brown’s ‘Vanity Fair Diaries’ Recall a Glossier Time

Brown’s new book is an edited version of the diaries she kept while presiding over the high-powered magazine at a time when editors still had time and money to burn.
NYT > Books

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Editors’ Choice: 9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.
NYT > Books

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Bohemian Décor Is Trending: These Books Really Show Why

A passel of new titles with different takes on bohemian style—the worldly eclecticism persistently trending in interior design.
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Children’s Books: The Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017

Here are the winners of The New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Awards for 2017.
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Nonfiction: World War II Seen by a Classicist, and Other New Books About Conflict

Thomas E. Ricks surveys 12 new books of military history.
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Books of The Times: A Gentler Jack Reacher Emerges in Lee Child’s Latest Novel

“The Midnight Line” has “more emotional heft than anything Child has written before.”
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Books of The Times: In Alan Bennett’s Diaries, Life’s Pleasures Alongside Civic Outrage

“Keeping On Keeping On” collects the British playwright’s diaries from 2005 to 20015, which include his thoughts on everything from pigeons to politics.
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Books of The Times: A Frisky Debate Between Friends About Growing Old

In “Aging Thoughtfully,” Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore discuss the merits of planned retirement communities, cosmetic surgical procedures and more.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: A Frisky Debate Between Friends About Growing Old

In “Aging Thoughtfully,” Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore discuss the merits of planned retirement communities, cosmetic surgical procedures and more.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: A Frisky Debate Between Friends About Growing Old

In “Aging Thoughtfully,” Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore discuss the merits of planned retirement communities, cosmetic surgical procedures and more.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Walter Isaacson’s ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ Is the Portrait of a Real Renaissance Man

Isaacson’s latest biography of a celebrated visionary captures the perfectionist, misser of deadlines and remarkably prescient genius.
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Books of The Times: ‘Poet in Spain’ Offers New Translations of Lorca’s Soulful Work

The translator Sarah Arvio bypasses Federico García Lorca’s New York poems, focusing instead on what she calls his “moonlit earthbound Spanish poems.”
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Books of The Times: John Grisham Prosecutes For-Profit Law Schools in ‘The Rooster Bar’

Grisham’s new novel translates the ethical and economic issues raised by student-entrapping practices into the high drama of a swift legal thriller.
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Books of The Times: ‘The State of Affairs’ Examines Our Cheating Hearts

The sex and relationship guru Esther Perel’s new book is about the variety of reasons that people stray, and about the paradox of reconciling the erotic and the domestic.
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Books of The Times: ‘Sticky Fingers’ Captures Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner and the Culture He Helped Create

The biographer Joe Hagan understands why a rock magazine editor matters to the history of the 20th century.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Righteous,’ a Stand-Up Sleuth Investigates His Brother’s Murder

Joe Ide’s follow-up to his award-winning debut novel, “IQ,” begins in the exact spot that story left off: in a junkyard with a car full of evidence.
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Books of The Times: A Graphic Novelist’s Passionate Anatomy of New York

Julia Wertz’s majestic portrait of the city is a collection of dramatic streetscapes and hidden histories.
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Books of The Times: The Life of Oriana Fallaci, Guerrilla Journalist

Fallaci, whose interviews got the better of famous figures from Henry Kissinger to Muammar el-Qaddafi, is the subject of a new biography.
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28 New Fiction Books To Add To Your Must-Read List This Fall

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Books of The Times: In Ron Chernow’s ‘Grant,’ an American Giant’s Makeover Continues

Chernow is out to find undiscovered nobility in Ulysses S. Grant’s story, and he succeeds.
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Books of The Times: Sylvia Plath’s Letters Reveal a Writer Split in Two

The massive first volume of Plath’s letters dispels the notion that Plath wasn’t aware of her contradictions or in (some) control of them.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick’ Gives Off a Bright Light

Hardwick scrutinized the work of American writers ranging from Melville and Wharton to Capote and Didion, as well as topics like the civil rights movement and feminism.
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In A World That’s Stranger Than Fiction, Are Americans Still Reading Books?

Publishers claim Trump is affecting book sales. The reality might more complicated.
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Books News: Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

The British author’s best sellers include “The Remains of the Day” and “Never Let Me Go.”
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Books of The Times: Fairy Tales About the Fears Within

The eight fables in Carmen Maria Machado’s “Her Body and Other Parties,” a finalist for the National Book Award, all depict women on the verge.
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Books of The Times: Jeffrey Eugenides’s Short Stories Salvage Wit From Life’s Grind

The stories in “Fresh Complaint” are interested in failure and misbehavior, but they are also threaded with a strong moral sensibility.
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Books of The Times: Through the Lens of the Obama Years, Ta-Nehisi Coates Reckons With Race, Identity and Trump

“We Were Eight Years in Power” is a selection of Coates’s most influential pieces from The Atlantic, with new material about what he was thinking and feeling when he wrote them.
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Books of The Times: Jennifer Egan Updates the Old-Fashioned Page-Turner in ‘Manhattan Beach’

Egan’s fifth novel is about a young woman working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during World War II, and about the mystery of why her father disappeared.
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Shop.org 2017: Kobe Bryant Talks Career Transition, Books, Oscars Chatter

Kobe Bryant used to dream of winning basketball championships and now may be fulfilling what so many in Hollywood often fantasize about, with buzz building around a potential Oscar nomination.
The retired Los Angeles Laker’s short animated film “Dear Basketball” has been chatted up as a possible Oscar nominee in what he said was meant to be “my retirement letter to the game.”
“To sit here right now, to even hear you say that the film is even being considered for an Oscar nom, that’s crazy. I’m winning championships. That’s what I dream of. That’s beyond any realm of any dream whatsoever,” he said.
Bryant, chief executive officer of Kobe Inc. and a general partner at Bryant Stibel, closed out the National Retail Federation’s annual Shop.org conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center Wednesday talking about the transformation he’s undergone via projects taken up since his move away from professional basketball.
Chief among those is Granity Studios, which he said he’s focused on building. The company’s name is a fusion of the words “greater than infinity,” with the bold vision of creating a media company that tells stories withstanding the test of time. The athlete said he’s working on eight different novels, something he said

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Books of The Times: With a Friend Like Him, They Didn’t Need Enemies

In “Difficult Women,” David Plante writes about his friendships with the novelist Jean Rhys, the feminist writer Germaine Greer and Sonia Orwell, George’s widow.
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Books of The Times: Stephen King and Son Team Up for a Novel About Women Whose Sleep Should Not Be Disturbed

In “Sleeping Beauties,” by Stephen King and his son Owen, women who fall asleep don’t wake up, and grow tendrils that are best left alone.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘The Far Away Brothers’ Breathes Vivid Life Into Immigration Issues

Lauren Markham’s impeccably timed and intimately reported book follows twin teenage brothers on their journey from El Salvador to California.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: On the Road With the Casualties of the Great Recession

To write “Nomadland,” Jessica Bruder spent three years traveling and working alongside grandparents and others living in school buses and vans seeking seasonal work.
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Books of The Times: A Father and Son Sail Through Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ Together

In “An Odyssey,” Daniel Mendelsohn recounts what happened when his 81-year-old father enrolled in one of his classes at Bard College.
NYT > Books

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Books News: Looking for Buddhist Wisdom in ‘The Princess Bride’

In a new book, Ethan Nichtern divines lessons about love, family and Buddhism from the cult classic. Just don’t expect Inigo Montoya to find enlightenment.
NYT > Books

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The 10 Incendiary Nonfiction Books Up For A National Book Award

This is a politically timely array of histories, investigations, and polemics you won’t want to miss.
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Books of The Times: The Gloom, Doom and Occasional Joy of the Writing Life

“Draft No. 4,” John McPhee’s 32nd book, collects the writing advice of the longtime New Yorker staff writer and Princeton professor.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Liner Notes,’ Loudon Wainwright Looks Squarely at His Flaws and His Musical Family Tree

The folk singer — ex-husband of Kate McGarrigle and father of Rufus Wainwright, among his other connections — does not go easy on himself in this memoir.
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Books of The Times: Hillary Clinton Opens Up About ‘What Happened,’ With Candor, Defiance and Dark Humor

Clinton’s account of the 2016 election is part post-mortem, part feminist manifesto and part score-settling jubilee.
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Books News: Ian Buruma on a New Era at The New York Review of Books

Buruma has officially begun his tenure at the intellectual magazine, taking over from Robert Silvers, who died in March after having edited it since 1963.
NYT > Books

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Oh Sweet Joy, The ‘Sweet Valley High’ Books Are Getting A Movie Adaptation

Time to revisit your favorite identical twins with aquamarine eyes.
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Thriller ‘Marlina the Murderer’ Books North America Release Deals Ahead of Toronto Bow

Indonesian thriller “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” has been sold to the U.S. and Canada  ahead of its North American premiere at the Toronto festival on Sept. 12. According to Asian Shadows, which handles international sales of the film helmed by Mouly Surya, the film was picked up by Northern Banner, Raven Banner’s specialty… Read more »

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Books of The Times: ‘Ranger Games’ Investigates a Crime and a Soldier’s Mind

Ben Blum tries to get to the bottom of his cousin’s participation in an armed bank robbery.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Faulkner and Other Ghosts Sing Through Jesmyn Ward’s New Novel

Ward’s third novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” follows a tender teenager and his drug-addicted mother on a road trip.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Salman Rushdie’s Prose Joins the Circus in ‘The Golden House’

Rushdie’s 13th novel is exhausting, but it’s a treat when focused on a villain who resembles Donald Trump.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘Cuz’ Mourns a Loss and Denounces a System

Danielle Allen’s new book is about her cousin’s troubled life and death, and his experience in and out of the California criminal justice system.
NYT > Books

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Crushing blow for Pratchett’s unfinished books

One of Sir Terry Pratchett’s final wishes has been fulfilled – with the help of a steamroller.
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Books of The Times: A Heroine in the Mold of Huck and Scout

In Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel, a remarkably self-sufficient 14-year-old girl must try to survive her survivalist father.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: George Smiley and Other Old Friends Return in John le Carré’s ‘A Legacy of Spies’

In le Carré’s new novel, the children of some of his best-known characters have grown up and demand justice.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘The Bettencourt Affair,’ a Buffet for Scandal Aficionados

Tom Sancton’s book recounts the implications and intrigue that surrounded the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s relationship with a younger man.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Autumn,’ Karl Ove Knausgaard Shows His Sweet Side

Knausgaard’s latest book, the first in a planned quartet, closely describes the material world for his daughter.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Burning Girl,’ About Intense Pre-Teenage Friendship, Never Catches Fire

In her new novel, Claire Messud writes about “secret sisters,” “umbilically linked and inseparable,” and about how their bond dissolves.
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24 Books That Will Help You Understand America

Buckle up for a literary road trip through the nation’s heartland.
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Books of The Times: A Personal, Breezy Tour of Classic Children’s Books

In “Wild Things,” Bruce Handy curates passages from his favorite books for kids, allowing readers both literary pleasure and a kind of time travel.
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Books of The Times: ‘New People’ Riffs on Race and Love, With a Twist

Danzy Senna’s new novel follows a woman’s love triangle (of sorts) with two men.
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Books of The Times: An Artist’s Childhood, Etched in Trauma and Abandonment

In her epistolary memoir, “The Book of Emma Reyes,” the Colombian painter recounts her childhood in Bogotá, made vivid by the horrors of the workhouse.
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Books News: A Wealthy Family’s Battle With Drugs Laid Bare, but to What End?

Sigrid Rausing’s coming book raises questions of whether the lines between memoir and voyeurism, family catharsis and score-settling, have been blurred.
NYT > Books

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Reader’s Notebook: Books and the ‘Boredom Boom’

Quietly asserting itself in a spate of recent books, the subject of boredom is experiencing a literary moment. Why? One reader explores the world of boredom studies for answers.
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Books of The Times: Dina Nayeri’s ‘Refuge’ Follows the Reinvention of an Exile

In this novel, a woman who left Iran as a child strains to remake her life and hold on to a connection with her father.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Home Fire,’ Lives Touched by Immigration, Jihad and Family Love

Three British siblings of Pakistani descent are at the center of Kamila Shamsie’s ingenious new novel, which builds to a stunning conclusion.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘Emma in the Night,’ a Thriller That Keeps Readers Guessing

Wendy Walker’s latest novel revolves around the mysterious disappearance of two teenage sisters.
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Books of The Times: Review: ‘The Dark Dark,’ Beguiling Tales of Women in Metamorphosis

In this short-story collection by Samantha Hunt, dreamlike images operate in service to feminist themes and earthbound ideas.
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Books of The Times: Boom, Bust and a Berkshires Interloper in ‘The Locals’

Jonathan Dee’s novel follows a family from post-9/11 Manhattan to small-town Massachusetts. Class antagonism follows.
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Books of The Times: Republican Senator Jeff Flake Rails Against Trump, but to What End?

In “Conscience of a Conservative,” Jeff Flake of Arizona crosses a rhetorical Rubicon to excoriate the president — and the lawmakers who support him.
NYT > Books

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38 Years on Books: The Essential Michiko Kakutani Reader

“Beloved.” “Infinite Jest.” “White Teeth.” “Team of Rivals.” Four decades of signature reviews and essays by The Times’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic.
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Books of The Times: ‘Dying: A Memoir’ Is a Bracing Illumination of Terminal Illness

This lucid, graceful book by Cory Taylor addresses her struggles with cancer after a diagnosis of melanoma. She died in July 2016 at 61.
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Books of The Times: Russian Women Speak Up About the Front Lines and the Home Front

Svetlana Alexievich’s “The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II” unearths a mostly buried aspect of Russian history.
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Books of The Times: Portrait of a Nigerian Marriage in a Heartbreaking Debut Novel

Ayobami Adebayo’s “Stay With Me,” like great works by Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, explores the pull between tradition and modernity in Nigeria.
NYT > Books

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Books News: Is Everyone in Politics Writing a Tell-All? Yes

From Hillary Clinton to a White House stenographer, readers will hear almost everyone’s point of view in coming books.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Hunted at the Zoo in ‘Fierce Kingdom’

When a mundane setting turns lethal, a mother and her 4-year-old son find themselves becoming prey in Gin Phillips’s new thriller.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: A Dive Into the Abyss in the Anonymous ‘Incest Diary’

In a disturbing new memoir, an unidentified writer tells the story of being raped by her father, starting when she was 3.
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Books of The Times: ‘Ants Among Elephants,’ a Memoir About the Persistence of Caste

Sujatha Gidla, who was born an untouchable in India but moved to the United States at 26, recounts how ancient prejudices persist today.
NYT > Books

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Editors’ Choice: 10 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: An Arsonist and His Femme Fatale Fiancée in ‘American Fire’

Monica Hesse’s new book, about a string of fires in Virginia, has all the elements of a lively crime procedural.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘To the New Owners,’ About a Summer Place (Too) Well Loved

The journalist and author Madeleine Blais writes of having to sell a family home on Martha’s Vineyard and swallowing hard.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Michael Connelly’s New Detective Makes Harry Bosch Look Like a Slouch

“The Late Show” is a breathlessly-paced novel that introduces Renée Ballard, a tireless detective who has been banished to the night shift.
NYT > Books

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Editors’ Choice: 12 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.
NYT > Books

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Movies And Books That Inspired ‘A Ghost Story’

Director David Lowery cites the works that influenced his masterpiece.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Sisters Chase,’ They’re Starting Over After Mom Dies

In Sarah Healy’s cunning thriller, a charming, deceitful 18-year-old woman takes her 4-year-old sister under her wing after the death of their mother.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: A Brief but Potent Scare in ‘You Should Have Left’

Daniel Kehlmann’s new novella concerns a screenwriter whose working vacation with his family turns into a nightmare.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Keeping Up With New Delhi’s 1 Percent in ‘The Windfall’

In Diksha Basu’s debut novel, set in a wealthy enclave of New Delhi, characters with old and new money feel status anxiety.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Review: Francis Spufford’s First Novel Is a Swashbuckling Tale

“Golden Hill” follows the misadventures of a handsome young stranger who arrives in New York from London, hoping to cash in on a fortune.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Edwidge Danticat Wrestles With Death, in Life and in Art

“The Art of Death” chronicles the death of the author’s mother, as well as the ways other writers, from Tolstoy to Didion, have treated the end of life.
NYT > Books

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Why ‘Philosopher’ Became ‘Sorcerer’ In The American ‘Harry Potter’ Books

Scholastic needed “a title that said ‘magic’ more overtly,” apparently.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Memory’s Last Breath,’ Remembering Life, Before It’s Too Late

Gerda Saunders tries to analyze her dementia as dispassionately as possible in her new book.
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Books of The Times: Sex, Drugs and Marxism in ‘Class’

Francesco Pacifico’s second novel is about young, amoral Italian hipsters in Manhattan and Brooklyn circa 2010.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Changeling,’ the Dark Fears of Parents, Memorably Etched

Victor LaValle’s latest hybrid of the supernatural and the literary is rooted in the anxiety families feel over the safety of their children.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Retreat of Western Liberalism,’ How Democracy Is Defeating Itself

The Financial Times columnist Edward Luce finds that Trumpism and other nationalist movements are symptoms, not causes, of larger trends threatening democratic collapse.
NYT > Books

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Children’s Books: In Philip Pullman’s First Graphic Novel, a Ghost Ship Travels Through Time

In “The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship,” a battered vessel becomes unstuck in time after an experiment goes awry.
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Reign Series Finale Brings Mary’s Journey to an End: Did The CW Follow the History Books?

Adelaide Kane, ReignQueen Mary’s reign has come to an end.
After four seasons, Reign aired its series finale on The CW on Friday night, bringing Mary’s (Adelaide Kane) story to an end. We’d say…

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Books of The Times: Review: A Corrupt Cop Is Up Against the Wall in Don Winslow’s ‘The Force’

A police task force leader and his crew aren’t much better than the criminals they pursue in this gritty thriller, set in New York.
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Books of The Times: A Spirited Widow and a Monstrous Serpent Propel a Lush Novel

Sarah Perry’s “The Essex Serpent” is part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Soft Children Confront a Hard World in Maile Meloy’s New Novel

In “Do Not Become Alarmed,” six children vanish while on vacation with their parents in Central America.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Arundhati Roy’s Long-Awaited Novel Is an Ambitious Look at Turmoil in India

“The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” comes 20 years after Roy’s celebrated debut novel, “The God of Small Things.”
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Books of The Times: ‘The Long Haul’ Is a Trucker’s Slangy Tour of the Road

Finn Murphy opines about the transcendent pointlessness of material possessions, among other topics, in this memoir.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Answers’ Runs Down the Rabbit Hole of Love

Catherine Lacey’s second novel is a meditation on fame and art as well as affection.
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Books of The Times: A Former F.B.I. Agent on Terrorism Since the Death of Bin Laden

In “Anatomy of Terror,” Ali Soufan writes about how Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have evolved in recent years.
NYT > Books

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Summer Pages: Books to Breeze Through This Summer

It’s a weird new world for readers, and here is a list for navigating it: 16 books to look out for, in no particular order.
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Books of The Times: ‘Aliens’ Asks: If the Universe Is So Vast, Where Is Everybody?

In this eccentric collection of essays, edited by the theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, scientists consider our search for extraterrestrial life.
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Books of The Times: Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent of Man’: Deconstructing the Masculine Mystique

Perry’s book has its own failure built into it. The men who need it most are unlikely to take advice from him.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: In ‘Grief Cottage,’ a Ghost and Other Things That Haunt Us

Gail Godwin’s latest novel follows a young boy sent to live with a great-aunt after his mother’s death.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘The End of Eddy’ Captures a Savage Childhood and a Global Movement

Édouard Louis’s deeply autobiographical novel recounts growing up gay among the white underclass in rural France.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: ‘Shake It Up’ Aims to Put Rock Writing in the Pantheon

This collection of rock criticism includes thoughts on hazing, lyrics, death and so much more.
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Books of The Times: Digging to the Roots of Maurice Sendak’s Vision

In “There’s a Mystery There,” Jonathan Cott — with help from the playwright Tony Kushner, psychoanalysts and art historians — examines the influences and ideas in Sendak’s children’s books.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Richard Russo’s Latest Cast Includes Average Men and One Big Star

The four stories in Russo’s new book, “Trajectory,” take on themes that include the follies of academia and the disappointment of midlife.
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Books of The Times: ‘My Soul Looks Back’ Warmly Recalls New York’s Black Elite in the 1970s

Jessica B. Harris traces her development and education as she made a place for herself among New York City’s black intelligentsia.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: In Dennis Lehane’s ‘Since We Fell,’ a Troubled Woman Seeks Answers

The book is packed with signs that Lehane sold this story to the movies, which he did, and that he loves the Hitchcock classics that prey on mistrust.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: A Long, Long Look at Obama’s Life, Mostly Before the White House

David J. Garrow’s door-stopper of a biography contains a cascade of details that, our critic says, “never connect to form an illuminating portrait.”
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Having Trouble Having It All? Ivanka Alone Can Fix It

In “Women Who Work,” Ivanka Trump offers advice to inspire you and “your team.”
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Books News: American Poets, Refusing to Go Gentle, Rage Against the Right

Like virtually everything else in the Trump era, poetry has gotten sharply political these days.
NYT > Books

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Books of The Times: Elizabeth Strout’s Lovely New Novel Is a Requiem for Small-Town Pain

In “Anything Is Possible,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Olive Kitteridge” writes with a frank, unapologetic emphasis on forbidden desire.
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Books of The Times: An Artist Fears She’s a Fraud in ‘A Line Made by Walking’

Sara Baume’s second novel follows a 25-year-old Irishwoman (one who cries all day) down the rabbit hole of elegiac distress.
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Books of The Times: Paula Hawkins’s ‘Into the Water’ Dives Into Murky Skulduggery

This new novel by the author of the 2015 monster hit “The Girl on the Train” features many ways for women to die in a rural British town.
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The 13 Books You’re Most Likely to Have Lied About Reading

No ‘War And Peace,’ surprisingly.

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Books of The Times: In ‘Janesville,’ When the G.M. Plant Closed, Havoc Followed

Amy Goldstein chronicles in vivid, sophisticated detail the evisceration of life in a Wisconsin town after the loss of its major employer.
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Books of The Times: ‘The New Book of Snobs’ Updates the Shifting Science of Social Cues

D.J. Taylor’s clever and timely work contends that the world would be a poorer place without a bit of insolence and ostentation.
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Books of The Times: ‘Shattered’ Charts Hillary Clinton’s Course Into the Iceberg

Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s account of the 2016 presidential election depicts a dysfunctional Clinton campaign and the many mistakes it made.
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Nonfiction: Power and Punishment: Two New Books About Race and Crime

James Forman Jr.’s “Locking Up Our Own” and Chris Hayes’s “A Colony in a Nation” compel readers to wrestle with very tough questions about racism, inequality and punishment.
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Books of The Times: The Osage Indians Struck It Rich, Then Paid the Price

“Killers of the Flower Moon,” David Grann’s new book, recalls how Indians were killed by whites who coveted the oil under their land in 1920s Oklahoma.
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Books of The Times: ‘Locking Up Our Own,’ What Led to Mass Incarceration of Black Men

James Forman Jr. examines how people, acting with the best intentions, could create a problem even more devastating than the one they were trying to solve.
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Books of The Times: In ‘Nevertheless,’ Alec Baldwin Charts His Course From Long Island to Bumpy Fame

Mr. Baldwin’s unexpectedly moving new memoir reflects on topics ranging from a directionless childhood to Harrison Ford’s looks.
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A Partisan Books Editor Places a Bet on Balance

Adam Bellow, a conservative editor responsible for some of the right’s most controversial books, says his roster needs liberal writers, too.
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Books of The Times: Visions of Snowflakes Dance in Bill O’Reilly’s Head in ‘Old School’

The Fox commentator’s new book, written with Bruce Feirstein, deploys “snowflake” as an insult for anything from spinelessness to political correctness.
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Books of The Times: ‘Unwanted Advances’ Tackles Sexual Politics in Academia

In this new book by Laura Kipnis, the author addresses her dismay over the intersection between free speech and sensitivity issues at universities.
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Books of The Times: Stories of Wonder, Fear and Kindness From the Moth

The storytelling movement has led to a book, which gathers 45 tales that attest to the startling variety and travails of human experience.
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Now Batting: 14 New Baseball Books

Publishers have filled out this spring’s lineup of biographies, team histories and other scholarship about the national pastime.
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Books of The Times: ‘Richard Nixon,’ Portrait of a Thin-Skinned, Media-Hating President

This elegant and sympathetic biography by John A. Farrell arrives as a current president makes comparisons unavoidable.
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Books of The Times: A Florida of Sun, Sky, Sea and Mind

“Sunshine State,” Sarah Gerard’s essay collection, and “Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” Jack E. Davis’s environmental history, each explore the terrain of an unmoored state.
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Books of The Times: A Haunting Debut Looks Ahead to a Second American Civil War

The details of “American War,” Omar El Akkad’s dystopian novel about an unraveling United States, makes his fictional future feel alarmingly real.
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Books of The Times: From Camille Paglia, ‘Free Women, Free Men’ and No Sacred Cows

This essay collection finds a firebrand author railing against modern feminism and groupthink at American universities.
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Books of The Times: ‘Cork Dork’ Sniffs, Swills and Spits Through the World of Wine Experts

A journalist sets her sights on becoming a sommelier, and learns that the training can be grueling for these “masochistic hedonists.”
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Books of The Times: ‘The Death of Expertise’ Explores How Ignorance Became a Virtue

Tom Nichols examines how the information age has helped fuel a resistance to authoritative knowledge and a disdain for experts.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Stranger in the Woods’ for 27 Years: Maine’s ‘North Pond Hermit’

Michael Finkel’s new book investigates the account of a man who says he escaped civilization. How did he do it? And why would he want to?
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Books of The Times: Beautiful Poems About a House of Horrors

Molly McCully Brown’s first book of poems, about a government-run hospital, is part history lesson, part séance, part ode to dread.
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Books of The Times: When Marilyn Took Manhattan

Elizabeth Winder’s new book takes a close look at a year Marilyn Monroe spent in New York, trying to escape the movie industry.
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Books of The Times: Meet an Intergalactic Spider in ‘Spaceman of Bohemia’

Space oddities abound in Jaroslav Kalfar’s debut novel, as a Czech astronaut is sent to a mysterious cloud of dust swept in from a neighboring galaxy.
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Books of The Times: Past, Present and Future Collide in Joan Didion’s ‘South and West’

Containing two excerpts from her notebooks dating to the 1970s, this book uncannily sheds light on some of the divisions splintering America today.
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10 New Books By Women Writers Of Color To Add To Your Must-Read List

Glory Edim just wanted to talk about books with her friends.

At least, that’s how her book club, Well-Read Black Girl, got started. She began posting about new books she looked forward to reading on Instagram, and decided to do an in-person discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. That meeting was transformative for Edim and the other women in attendance. “Some people were crying, people just really got into what made the book emotional for them,” she told The Huffington Post in an interview.

It was an intimate gathering of 10 or so avid readers; now, two years later, the group has ballooned to over 40, not counting the growing online community Edim has garnered, or the book lovers who turned out to her recent events at the Brooklyn Museum or The Strand. In the future, Edim wants to open satellite chapters in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and anywhere else there’s interest.

But for now, she’s just excited to spotlight authors, both established and forthcoming. Below, she raves about some of her favorites. 

How did your book club come about?

Originally, it was something that I had started with the intent of just making new friends and having it be a small thing I was doing with friends from college. My boyfriend, for my birthday, had made me this shirt that said “well-read black girl” ― I’ve always been a little bit of a bibliophile, books everywhere. So when people would see this shirt, they’d inquire about it and want to know, “Oh, where did you get it?” So I was like, oh, this is a catchy name, this is something I could use for the book club.

I work in marketing, so it was my natural inclination to end up using Instagram to spark conversation. I noticed that other people started following along, asking for suggestions or my book recommendations, so I started to do a newsletter dedicated to this idea of paying tribute to black women writers and to amplify their voices. So that’s how it got started, from a T-shirt to an Instagram to this whole movement two years later. For lack of a better word, it was kind of a selfish idea. I just love books.

So it started online, and then you started meeting in person.

One book that I was reading at the time was The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson. The Ta-Nehisi Coates book was kind of a test run, but then with Naomi’s book, I ended up meeting her […] and asking her to participate. When I made that ask, I didn’t anticipate that she would say yes. And she decided that she would come and talk to us about the book. That was the first Well-Read Black Girl event. She read a passage from the book, and she told us about her creative process, and even what happened when she had the book as a draft. I give so much credit to Naomi, because without her encouragement I probably wouldn’t have gone full-fledged and continued so adamantly about inviting people and building a community. And her friend Natalie Diaz joined her at the discussion, so it was like, two-for-one.

So Naomi was like, you should talk to Angela Flournoy, she has her new book The Turner House coming out. So then that became our next book and we invited her to come speak. So it kind of snowballed, gaining momentum slowly.

It wasn’t this massive group of people. It was very intimate. It felt like you could ask questions that were just in context. Some of the questions weren’t about Naomi’s book, it was like, how did you feel when you were a 13-year-old girl? It became a larger discussion about mental illness, and how you define black girlhood. All these things started to emerge from the book club. It was very affirming to have other women nodding, saying, “Yes, I felt the same way when I read this paragraph.” Clearly you want to talk about the book, but it’s also a great space to be like, “Hey, girl, what’s happening in your world? We support you and help you through whatever you’re going through.”

It sounds like an intimate space. How do you maintain that as the book club grows?

It’s 35 or 40 people ― it’s a lot larger. This year we kicked off a partnership with New Women’s Space, a community center, almost. They host workshops and do panels. It kind of runs the gamut. We changed the schedule so we meet the last Saturday of every month. Our first meeting there was in January, when we did Brit Bennett’s book The Mothers. And we’re reading Zadie Smith’s book Swing Time right now.

When I think about the intimacy, it is harder to maintain when it compares to the 10 women I started with. But those 10 women are still part of the group. They help facilitate the conversation. It’s very democratic, so we rotate who moderates. I’m very into fluid conversation. We break into groups to have conversations one-on-one, then come together to have a group dialogue. We go to the movies together, go to concerts together, do other things outside of the book club. Friendships are forming.

It’s also very intergenerational. I’ve had moments when moms and daughters come, too. Last summer we were reading the book We Love You, Charlie Freeman, and this girl came with her mom. Like, oh, this is so cool.

Is there any way for readers who aren’t in New York to participate?

One thing I’m testing out this year that I’m really excited about is using Facebook Live more, live streaming in order to share the experience. I’m also hoping to spread more chapters throughout the U.S. I’m going to be in LA in April, and I’m planning to host a book club and a few events up there. The same idea for D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. I’m laying the groundwork for it and finding people that are ambassadors. 

How do you choose the books you read?

Initially, it was a little bit of the Oprah’s Book Club mentality. But now I’m fielding requests from different people, especially members of the book club, if they have suggestions around genres we should read. I tend to really love historical fiction and contemporary fiction, but there are so many genres ― mysteries, sci-fi, romance novels ― so I am trying to be more democratic about the process and how I select books. I don’t have a precise way, I just read a book and if I enjoy it, I want to share it.

The two primary things are emerging authors, so people who have debut books. I am looking to build space for authors who may not get a lot of mainstream press and publicity. It’s kind of tied with popularity, what does everyone want to read right now? So everyone was excited about Swing Time. Zadie Smith will not be at the book club tomorrow [laughs], but it was such a popular book last year.

Have you ever considered working classics into the fold, or do you want to focus more on new books?

Well, this month, because it’s Black History Month, I’ve been doing additional events, because not everyone can come to the book club, and I do want us to be a space where everyone can participate. So I did something at the Brooklyn Museum, and we read Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider. We had a massive turnout. It happened right after the Women’s March, so there were a lot of great conversations about, what were the benefits, and how can we be more mindful of including everyone’s voice when it comes to activism and protest. We used Lorde’s essay, “The Uses of Anger,” as a blueprint, looking at how to approach things when you’re frustrated and angry.

I am looking more at more academic presses, and what they’re publishing, especially post-election. It’s paramount for us to be aware of how to shape our activism. So I had a discussion with Dorothy E. Roberts at Strand last week ― it was the 20th anniversary of her book Killing the Black Body, a much heavier, more academic book. It really tied in well with everything that’s happening right now around reproductive justice. So I am being very conscious about the books and the conversations in the context of our larger political landscape, which originally was not a goal of mine. It was more of a leisurely entertainment space. But like most people, after November I saw a shift in my consciousness and what I wanted to put out publicly.

What are some of the forthcoming titles you’re excited to read?

Let me think. Oh ― oh, I mean: Roxane Gay. Come on. Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, I’m absolutely obsessed with. I just started it. I just love her work, as an author, an activist, and just being so bold and outspoken. I haven’t had an opportunity to meet her, but just reading from Bad Feminist to Untamed State, her work is incredible. That’s something that’s on our horizon for the book club.

There’s also a book that I’ve talked about a couple of times, but it’s just so beautifully written. It’s called Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins. She actually passed away several years ago, at around age 40. Her daughter found her journals and old writing samples, and pulled it together and made this book on behalf of her mother, and it’s absolutely riveting. Kathleen was also a filmmaker, so her stories are these really tight scenes, and you can visualize everything she’s writing. That’s also a book that we’re planning to read.

There’s a book called The Woman Next Door, by Yewande Omotoso. I just got that book, and it looks really good. The epigraph is this whole statement about walls, and if that is not timely, I don’t know what is.

Both of my parents are Nigerian and I’m first generation, so I have a fondness for Nigerian writers. There’s an author, Ayobami Adebayo, her book is called Stay With Me, and this is her debut book. It’s about the political turbulence in the 1980s in Nigeria. Both of my parents were in this war ― it was our Civil War; Chimamanda Adichie has written about it. Jesmyn Ward is coming out with a new book in September, Sing, Unburied, Sing. She’s amazing ― Salvage the Bones, what? She’s on my dream list of people to meet and interview.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Books of The Times: ‘Wild Nights’ Offers a History of Sleep (and Sleeplessness)

Benjamin Reiss’s historical overview of mankind’s slumber habits (or lack thereof) trace a shift from a daylight-based pattern to clock-ruled routine.
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Books of The Times: Review: Elif Batuman’s ‘The Idiot’ Sets a Romantic Crush on Simmer

In this first novel, set in 1995, Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, falls for an older student from Hungary during her freshman year at Harvard.
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Books of The Times: Review: In ‘Exit West,’ Mohsin Hamid Mixes Global Trouble With a Bit of Magic

When their country descends into civil war, two migrants find a way to escape their besieged city.
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Get Turned On The Old Venetian Way With These Sexy Flap Books

Move along, nothing to see here ― right? Just an elegant lady enjoying a leisurely gondola ride with her elderly female chaperone, a depiction of a proper young woman going about daily life in 16th-century Venice.

But wait, let’s look again:

Oh my! A lifted flap reveals a far more scandalous scene; instead of a chaperone, the lady is accompanied by a dashing gentleman who appears to be feeling her up. 

This erotic interactive flap book, currently on view at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman building, was illustrated by Donato Bertelli in the late 16th century. The book is part of “Venice in Love,” an exhibition featuring the NYPL’s collections of erotic and romantic artifacts from the Republic of Venice, which existed as an independent state from the 13th to 18th centuries.

In her description of the exhibition, curator Madeleine Viljoen notes that Venice, a relatively liberated secular state, was “famed for its high-end courtesans and low-end prostitutes,” as well as the beauty and elaborate grooming of its women. Throughout its lifetime, the state became “a prime destination for lovers and pleasure seekers,” along with art-lovers ― and the exhibition puts on display the union between Venice’s artistic proclivities and its erotic ones.

As for Bertelli’s peekaboo love scene, why hide the romantic embrace behind another drawing? Viljoen, also the NYPL prints curator, told The Huffington Post in an email that the purpose of the interactive flap book was clearly sexual. “The Venetian flap books,” she said, “were designed with the titillation of the viewer in mind.”

Another flap book leans even more explicitly softcore, allowing readers to enact a pre-photographic version of an upskirt shot:

Viljoen’s description of the exhibition calls attention to the young woman’s “underwear and platform shoes, known as chopines” ― a sexy getup for the time.

These two flap books aren’t just eye-grabbing; they’re highly unusual. “There has been much interest in recent years in so-called interactive prints,” Viljoen told HuffPost. However, “[t]hese were usually didactic and included items like paper astrolabes or anatomical studies … except for the books shown in the Library’s collection, I cannot think of any other examples of specifically erotic flap books.”

The sensuous images found in the NYPL’s Venetian prints don’t look much like modern day erotica ― in olden days, after all, a glimpse of stocking was looked upon as something shocking ― but boast the same twinkle of subversive playfulness that still titillates frisson-seekers today. “The act of lifting the curtain from the young lovers or of raising the courtesan’s skirt seems quintessentially voyeuristic,” Viljoen told HuffPost.

When it comes to the erotic, some things never change.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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