This Week's Best New Books

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The Water Cure

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The Water Cure

by Sophie Mackintosh

The Water Cure

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The Water Cure is a dream-like study of sisterhood, patriarchal norms and what it means to be a woman. Three sisters live in an island compound protected by barbed wire and traps, forced to undergo bizarre acts of self-punishment and denial by their parents in the name of staying healthy. But when their father disappears and three strange men arrive at their door, the small world constructed for the women begins to burst open. Sophie Mackintosh's debut is built like one of the family's traps, ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 25
Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

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Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

by Jane Brox

Silence: A Social History of One of the Least Understood Elements of Our Lives

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For some of us, silence is a state we strive to reach--an escape from the noise of the modern world and an opportunity for contemplation. For others, silence is something we avoid, preferring activity and distraction to being alone with our thoughts. Both are manifestations of how silence has been viewed through history: either a way to achieve enlightenment or a means to instill punishment.

In Silence, Jane Brox (Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light) considers how silence and solitude can ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 25
We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

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We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

by Susan Kuklin, editor

We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

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Susan Kuklin set out to give voice to the silent in We Are Here to Stay. Nine young adults registered in the United States' Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program narrate the book; the idea for the work was to have them come out of the immigration shadows as flesh-and-blood individuals, rather than statistics or ambiguous generalizations. However, the book's original planned publication date collided with the federal government's repeal of DACA, and its existence became a threat to ... [ Read More » ]

5 of 25
Dragon Pearl

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Dragon Pearl

by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon Pearl

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A fox spirit ("gumiho") masquerading as a human, 13-year-old Min has a dismal life on Jinju, a poor, half-finished planet in the Thousand Worlds league. Her mom and aunties bog her down with mundane chores, and it's unsafe for her to practice her fox magic openly--her ancestors used their shape-shifting abilities to "lure lonely travelers" and "suck out their lives," so people aren't too keen on fox spirits. The only thought getting her through this life is that in two years she can take the entrance ... [ Read More » ]

6 of 25
Joy Enough

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Joy Enough

by Sarah McColl

Joy Enough

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"I loved my mother, and she died. Is that a story?" Essayist Sarah McColl begins her memoir Joy Enough with that question. In a spare, nonlinear narrative, McColl explores the intertwined narratives of her own life story and that of her mother, Allison. She charts the passionate romances that led them both to unhappy marriages, shares anecdotes of the four boisterous children Allison raised and highlights their shared commitment to seeking out everyday pleasures. For McColl, her mother's example ... [ Read More » ]

7 of 25
Into the Night

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Into the Night

by Sarah Bailey

Into the Night

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Into the Night, Sarah Bailey's follow-up to her debut novel, The Dark Lake, rejoins Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock after her life has fallen apart. She's divorced, and her son lives with her ex, so she has moved to Melbourne, where she is now a small fish in a big pond. Her new partner, Nick Fleet, has little charm or professionalism, and her new boss doesn't yet trust her instincts or abilities. When rising star Sterling Wade is murdered on a film set, however, Gemma is sucked into another life-consuming ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 25
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

by Dani Shapiro

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

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Through nine books, Dani Shapiro has mined her own experiences, trying to find meaning in events that have shaped her life. Shapiro's ongoing literary narrative continues with Inheritance, an unflinching, deeply personal account of how a DNA ancestry test irrevocably altered her life and the familiarity therein. The shocking results forced Shapiro to question her identity and everything she believed about herself and her family history over 54 years of living.

Shapiro grew up an observant Orthodox ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 25
The Enlightened Army

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The Enlightened Army

by David Toscana, trans. by David William Foster

The Enlightened Army

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Early in Mexican author David Toscana's The Enlightened Army, a friend of the protagonist Ignacio Matus asks him to "just promise me that this adventure is for the fatherland, and not revenge for the medal the gringos stole from you." Matus, a history teacher, still grieves the outcome of the Mexican-American War--in 1848--and his "adventure" is to lead a group of pubescent students from Mexico into Texas to reconquer the Alamo. The medal refers to an Olympic bronze that Matus believes he deserved--he ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 25
Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers

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Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers

by Preston Lauterbach

Bluff City: The Secret Life of Photographer Ernest Withers

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Delving into the life of Memphis photographer Ernest Withers, popular historian Preston Lauterbach (Beale Street Dynasty) offers readers a new vantage point on a pivotal time in United States history. Withers began his informal training in photography as a teenager. In the army, he received a formal education in the art and its related technology as part of his basic training. And when he deployed to the South Pacific during World War II, Withers picked up a side gig taking pictures for soldiers ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 25
The Blood

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The Blood

by E.S. Thomson

The Blood

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The Blood, the third in E.S. Thomson's Jem Flockhart mystery series (Beloved Poison, Dark Asylum), rejoins Jem and her begrudgingly platonic companion, Will, as they investigate a seaborne hospital colloquially called The Blood. Drawn there by a desperate letter from an old friend, Jem can immediately tell something onboard the ship is amiss. But after both her friend's body and the body of a local sex worker are discovered nearby, the duo must determine which of the ambitious, cruel doctors aboard ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 25
Annelies

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Annelies

by David R. Gillham

Annelies

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What if Anne Frank had survived the camps? The world knows her as the bright, curious young girl whose diary gave voice to the experience of Jews in hiding during World War II. But if Anne had lived beyond the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, her story would necessarily be more complicated. With compassion and rich historical detail, David R. Gillham (City of Women) imagines Anne's next chapter in his second novel, Annelies.

Gillham opens his narrative in 1942, as the Franks prepare to go into hiding. ... [ Read More » ]

14 of 25
When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon

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When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon

by Joshua D. Mezrich

When Death Becomes Life: Notes from a Transplant Surgeon

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In When Death Becomes Life, transplant surgeon Joshua D. Mezrich explains the background of organ transplant through the lens of his own experience. Part memoir, part narrative history, the book looks at the major players in transplant medicine with notable contextual details. For example, Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel was inspired to study vascular surgery by the 1894 assassination of the French president, but his groundbreaking transplant research is largely overshadowed by the popular notion that ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 25
An Orchestra of Minorities

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An Orchestra of Minorities

by Chigozie Obioma

An Orchestra of Minorities

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An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma (The Fishermen) is a tragic look at how binding oneself to a singular purpose can both give life new meaning and destroy it. Narrated by the chi (guardian spirit) of a young man living in Nigeria, the novel is a sprawling look at the country's past and present.

It's a love story between Chinonso and Ndali, a woman far above him in caste and learning. The two meet by chance when he sees her preparing to jump off a bridge to her death. He succeeds ... [ Read More » ]

16 of 25
No Exit

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No Exit

by Taylor Adams

No Exit

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"There's a child locked inside this van." The realization sends a shot of fear through Darby Thorne's body, as she peers through the back window of a vehicle parked at a snowed-in rest stop located in the middle of nowhere Colorado. There are four others there to sit out the blizzard: two young men and a middle-aged couple. But which is responsible for the young girl locked inside the van?

That's only the first question that Darby must answer in Taylor Adams's heart-thumping thriller, No Exit. A ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 25
Murder at the Mill

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Murder at the Mill

by M.B. Shaw

Murder at the Mill

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M.B. Shaw is the pen name of British writer Tilly Bagshawe, who has written several contemporary romance novels (Scandalous), as well as thrillers for the literary estate of Sidney Sheldon (Sidney Sheldon's The Tides of Memory). Murder at the Mill is the first installment of her smart, lively mystery series; in it Shaw probes the secrets of an idyllic Hampshire village.

The book opens in December. Iris Grey--a 41-year-old portrait painter--has fled her home in Clapham and her estranged husband, Ian ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 25
Late in the Day

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Late in the Day

by Tessa Hadley

Late in the Day

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More than 30 years of love and friendship--and the loyalty and betrayals therein--are central to Late in the Day, a psychologically astute novel by Tessa Hadley. The story launches with a death that disrupts the lives of two British couples bonded inextricably since their college years.

Zachary Samuels, one of the four, dies suddenly from a heart incident. The death of this middle-aged gallery owner overwhelms his needy, helpless wife, Lydia. And this tragic news also shocks the lives of Lydia and ... [ Read More » ]

19 of 25
What Is Given from the Heart

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What Is Given from the Heart

by Patricia C. McKissack, illus. by April Harrison

What Is Given from the Heart

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The late Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Patricia McKissack (Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance Spin & Turn It Out!) joins with celebrated folk artist and illustrator April Harrison to capture the joy of giving in What Is Given from the Heart.

After his father's death, James Otis and his mother lose their farm and move to the Bottoms. There, the African American family of two try to rebuild their lives despite a lack of resources and continuous hardships. After ... [ Read More » ]

20 of 25
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

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The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

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Norris Kaplan is about to start his junior year at a new school in Austin, Tex., where his Haitian/Canadian mother recently got a job. He's heard Austin has a "unique flavor" and, upon arrival, he discovers that "none of this flavor... [is] hospitable to your average Canadian. No, to your average Canadian--black French Canadian no less--Austin, Texas, [blows] baby chunks."

Generally pessimistic and especially sour about moving to "the surface of the sun," Norris is determined to hate everything. ... [ Read More » ]

21 of 25
Katz or Cats: Or, How Jesus Became My Rival in Love

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Katz or Cats: Or, How Jesus Became My Rival in Love

by Curt Leviant

Katz or Cats: Or, How Jesus Became My Rival in Love

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If one threaded Vladimir Nabokov's obsessive eros through an exploration of religious devotion, it might look something like Curt Leviant's superbly entertaining Katz or Cats: Or, How Jesus Became My Rival in Love.

Like Russian nesting dolls, the novel is relayed as a novel within a novel. John, a book editor, meets the land surveyor Katz on a New Jersey train. Katz shares with John a manuscript his brother wrote about falling in love with a religious woman named Maria. Leviant has tremendous fun ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 25
Help Me!: One Woman's Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Your Life

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Help Me!: One Woman's Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Your Life

by Marianne Power

Help Me!: One Woman's Quest to Find Out if Self-Help Really Can Change Your Life

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Self-help is big business. Each year, consumers spend millions of dollars on books, courses and other tools that promise to make them thin, rich, irresistible or wildly successful. But does self-help actually help? British journalist Marianne Power decided to find out, by reading and following one self-help book per month for a year. After 12 months, she'd surely become--if not perfect--at least a better version of herself. Right?

Taking the form of a "stunt" memoir while also poking fun at it, Power's ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 25
Hark

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Hark

by Sam Lipsyte

Hark

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Teeming with its share of dubious gurus and generating nearly $10 billion in annual revenue in the United States, the self-help industry offers an inviting target for mockery. It seems inevitable, then, that a satirist with the gifts of Sam Lipsyte (The Ask) would take on the challenge. Hark, his fourth novel, is the irreverent story of a reluctant apostle and his motley band of acolytes. They make efforts to spread the gospel of a pseudo-mindfulness technique that's about as substantial as ... [ Read More » ]

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The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

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The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

by Dahr Jamail

The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption

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The End of Ice is a series of reports from the front lines of climate disruption. Dahr Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq) bears witness to shrinking glaciers in Alaska, coral bleaching off the Rock Islands of Palau and much more. Instead of "climate change," Jamail prefers the term "anthropogenic (human-caused) climate disruption" to emphasize humans' responsibility for altering planetary climate systems. The End of Ice references catastrophic ... [ Read More » ]

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