This Week's Best New Books

1 of 26
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

by Stuart Turton

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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Nineteen years ago, a young boy was murdered on his family's estate. On the anniversary of the tragedy, his parents are hosting a masquerade, inviting all the people who had been present then. That Lord Peter and Lady Helena Hardcastle are strangely elusive during their party is just one of the mysteries in Stuart Turton's mesmerizing debut novel, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

A man wakes up in a forest, wind howling, rain pouring; his mind is a blank. He hears a woman scream. A stranger ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 26
The Story of H

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The Story of H

by Marina Perezagua, trans. by Valerie Miles

The Story of H

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When the atomic bomb was detonated over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the narrator--an intersex individual known as H--was 13. All of a sudden, H's life was turned upside down, her family among the 200,000 victims annihilated, and her body transformed by the blast. Years later, in New York, she meets and falls in love with an American, Jim, who served in World War II, and their stories are intertwined with the search for a Japanese baby Jim cared for during the first five years of the child's life.
... [ Read More » ]

3 of 26
Small Fry

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Small Fry

by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Small Fry

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Lisa Brennan-Jobs, daughter of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and artist Chrisann Brennan, was born when her (unmarried) parents were just 23 years old. Jobs publicly denied his paternity until a DNA test proved otherwise. When Lisa was two, her mother sued Jobs for child support and, after months of resisting, he hurriedly agreed to pay $500 a month. Four days later, Apple stock went public and Jobs was worth $200 million. Steve Jobs may have been many things, but paternal wasn't one
... [ Read More » ]

4 of 26
Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

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Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

by Eli Saslow

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

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With raw, uncomfortable frankness, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eli Saslow dissects the ideological transformation of a man once considered the "Great White Hope," the heir to the White Nationalist movement. Derek Roland Black grew up engulfed in white nationalism. His father, Don Black, was a prominent Klansman and founder of the racist Internet community Stormfront. His godfather is David Duke, the notorious Grand Wizard of the KKK. And his half-sisters are Duke's daughters--Derek's mother,
... [ Read More » ]

5 of 26
Red, White, Blue

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Red, White, Blue

by Lea Carpenter

Red, White, Blue

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In her intriguing second novel, Red, White, Blue, Lea Carpenter (Eleven Days) tackles the enigmatic world of the CIA through the intertwined stories of two narrators.
 
Anna is recently married but also still mourning the death of her father, Noel, in a Swiss avalanche while skiing. She remembers him as a brilliant businessman and a devoted father who took care of her after her mother left. The two were very close, and his death, on the eve of her wedding day, was devastating.
 
On a delayed
... [ Read More » ]

6 of 26
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

by Soraya Chemaly

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

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Most people are rightfully peeved when a scowling woman is prodded to smile; looking constantly pretty isn't expected of men, so they aren't routinely asked to turn that frown upside down. In Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger, media critic Soraya Chemaly champions a second reason to resent this double standard: a woman encouraged to smile is implicitly discouraged from showing anger. And anger, Chemaly argues, is a positive force for change.
 
"Anger remains the emotion that is least
... [ Read More » ]

7 of 26
Let Me Be Like Water

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Let Me Be Like Water

by S.K. Perry

Let Me Be Like Water

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Let Me Be Like Water is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of young love and young loss. A meditation on grief and what could have been, S.K. Perry's debut offers glimpses of the sometimes magical ways the world works when life is shattered and we're left with nothing but the pieces.
 
Months after the sudden and unexpected death of her boyfriend, Holly leaves London, a city filled with memories of her lover, Sam, "our residue on pavements and seats of buses," for the seaside town of Brighton.
... [ Read More » ]

8 of 26
Leadership: In Turbulent Times

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Leadership: In Turbulent Times

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Leadership: In Turbulent Times

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Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism) is a popular historian who has spent much of her 50-year career on biographies of U.S. presidents. In Leadership: In Turbulent Times she examines the titular quality through four interwoven case studies of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.
 
"They differed widely in temperament, appearance, and physical ability.
... [ Read More » ]

9 of 26
And the Ocean Was Our Sky

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And the Ocean Was Our Sky

by Patrick Ness, illus. by Rovina Cai

And the Ocean Was Our Sky

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Patrick Ness follows up his conceptual 2017 young adult novel, Release, with the esoteric, artful And the Ocean Was Our Sky, a (literal) upside-down retelling of Moby Dick. "Call me Bathsheba," Ness's narrator begins, here to tell her tale of "the final hunt that ever was. The hunt for a legend, a myth, a devil."
 
When she was 16, Bathsheba was a hunter, a "lowly but eager Third Apprentice" to Captain Alexandra, "the best hunter in the sea." The Captain had a "short, rusted end of a man's harpoon...
... [ Read More » ]

10 of 26
Dactyl Hill Squad

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Dactyl Hill Squad

by Daniel José Older

Dactyl Hill Squad

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Daniel José Older makes his middle-grade debut with Dactyl Hill Squad, a Civil War-era historical fantasy--with dinosaurs.
 
Twelve-year-old Magdalys Roca lives in the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City. On this July 1863 evening, Magdalys and her fellow orphans Two Step, Mapper, Little Sabeen and Amaya head out on the orphanage's "huge old triceratops," Varney, to see a performance at the "only all-black Shakespearean company in New York." When the group is stopped mid-trip by the
... [ Read More » ]

11 of 26
The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire

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The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire

by Frank Tallis

The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire

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British clinical psychologist Frank Tallis (Lovesick: Love as a Mental Illness) explores the intersection between love and mental health with a compassionate look at some of the most challenging and interesting cases of his career.
 
In an instant, a meek, conventional woman becomes passionately obsessed with her dentist, and no power on earth can convince her that he does not reciprocate her feelings of almost spiritual connection. A wealthy married man spends his fortune romancing more than
... [ Read More » ]

12 of 26
The Fifth Woman

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The Fifth Woman

by Nona Caspers

The Fifth Woman

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There's a particularly surreal quality to the lives of those in mourning. Along with pain and sorrow is the muscle memory of sleeping beside someone, seeing them in the morning, living in a shared world with the person who died. The Fifth Woman by Nona Caspers inhabits that surreal quality, showing how it informs, and is informed by, a felt grief. Spread out into 23 connected short stories, the book plots the shaky, sometimes strange, road to recovery.
 
After the death of her lover, Michelle,
... [ Read More » ]

13 of 26
Evolution

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Evolution

by Eileen Myles

Evolution

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Readers either relish Eileen Myles's outrage and outrageously out-there writing or think the poet is a bit of a kook. Myles's inventive work and over-the-top persona don't allow for much in-between. Rich in vernacular and innovative line breaks, the poems in Evolution ask to be read out loud--like these lines from "St. Joseph Father of Whales": "I heard your/ Joseph Josephy/ songs in the whales/ last night/ giant round giggly organs/ tickling and mooing/ and diving calves, you're/ the oldest &
... [ Read More » ]

14 of 26
Tales from La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology

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Tales from La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology

by Frederick Luis Aldama, editor

Tales from La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology

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More than 70 Latinx artists present their views in a variety of comics styles as they recall significant moments in their lives in the U.S. They address subjects such as being unable to speak Spanish, although they may have a Latinx last name or darker skin, and confronting the expectation of fluency despite being raised in the U.S.
 
In "One Time, One Night," the narrator takes pride in being brown after hearing the band Los Lobos play. In "ElChupaSoyMilk," the author explores the myth of the
... [ Read More » ]

15 of 26
Sweet Little Lies

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Sweet Little Lies

by Caz Frear

Sweet Little Lies

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Cat Kinsella was eight when 17-year-old Maryanne Doyle went missing in 1998. Cat had been in the car when her father picked up a hitchhiking Maryanne only days before the teen's disappearance, but when the police came around asking questions, Cat's dad denied knowing Maryanne at all. Cat knew he was lying but told no one.
 
Eighteen years later, Cat is a detective constable with London's Metropolitan Police. She catches a case involving a woman murdered and dumped not far from the pub above
... [ Read More » ]

16 of 26
The Sky Is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism

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The Sky Is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism

by Peter Biskind

The Sky Is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism

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Vanity Fair contributing editor Peter Biskind has written juicy exposés on the birth of new Hollywood in the 1970s (Easy Riders, Raging Bulls) and the rise of indie filmmakers in the 1990s (Down and Dirty Pictures). He now turns his sights on how extremism in politics has affected 21st-century films and TV shows. Abandoning the oral history format of his previous books, The Sky Is Falling is a dizzying ideological treatise on how extremist politics has changed films and TV shows. It has "normalized
... [ Read More » ]

17 of 26
A River of Stars

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A River of Stars

by Vanessa Hua

A River of Stars

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Early in Vanessa Hua's moving debut, she describes how "long ago, two lovers--a humble cow herder and a weaver girl, a fairy in disguise--were torn apart when the Goddess of Heaven, the fairy's mother, scratched her hairpin onto the night sky, welling up a river of stars to separate them." In the following pages, two pregnant Chinese women arrive in the United States and go on the run after being betrayed and exiled by their lovers.
 
Scarlett Chen is a 30-something woman sent by Boss Yeung,
... [ Read More » ]

18 of 26
Dreamers

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Dreamers

by Yuyi Morales

Dreamers

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Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Yuyi Morales's (Viva Frida) newest book, Dreamers, begins with the lines, "I dreamed of you, then you appeared. Together we became Amor--Love--Amor. Resplendent life, you and I." A double-page spread shows a woman and baby, both with outstretched arms, reaching for each other across the textured paper's blank space.
 
"One day we bundled gifts in our backpack, and crossed a bridge outstretched like the universe." The mother dons the pack and carries the baby
... [ Read More » ]

19 of 26
There's a Hole in My Garden

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There's a Hole in My Garden

by James Stewart

There's a Hole in My Garden

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In January, a child finds a hole in his garden that's "not a very big hole." But since "it's just the right size for [his] best marble," the unnamed boy drops the marble in and hopes a tree will grow from it. When February rolls around, there's no marble tree (because "[m]arble trees don't grow overnight"), but since the hole is "a little bigger now," he drops in some candy, hoping for "a candy tree." Of course, March comes and "[t]he candy tree isn't growing either." But the hole is even bigger
... [ Read More » ]

20 of 26
Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story

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Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story

by Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illus. by John Holyfield

Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story

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William "Bill" Lewis was born on a plantation in Winchester, Tenn., sometime between 1810 and 1815. The black biological son of Colonel James Lewis, Bill was enslaved alongside his mother and siblings. "As soon as Bill was old enough to grip a hammer, Colonel Lewis decided that the young boy should be a blacksmith." Bill started by putting away tools, sweeping ashes and hauling coal and water; as he grew, he learned more about the trade and increased his skills. "Bill had not asked to become a blacksmith,
... [ Read More » ]

21 of 26
In the Shadow of King Saul

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In the Shadow of King Saul

by Jerome Charyn

In the Shadow of King Saul

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Writer of more than 50 works of fiction and nonfiction, Charyn has worn many hats and mastered many styles. With In the Shadow of King Saul, Charyn (Jerzy, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson) offers a powerful, sprawling collection of autobiographical essays.
 
He communicates in staccato sentences, building mosaics of meditations on love and loss. He profiles writers known and forgotten, politicians, stars of the silver screen and his own family: essays chronicle a day with New York City mayor
... [ Read More » ]

22 of 26
If You Leave Me

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If You Leave Me

by Crystal Hana Kim

If You Leave Me

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Departures and abandonment, deaths and divorces: leavings of one kind or another sprinkle the pages of Crystal Hana Kim's If You Leave Me, a novel set in the later years and aftermath of the Korean War. Young Haemi Lee lives with her widowed mother and sickly brother, refugees of the war in a rundown camp miles from their hometown. Haemi spends her free time with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan, but she is promised to his cousin Jisoo in marriage, giving her an impossible choice: the boy she's loved
... [ Read More » ]

23 of 26
Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment

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Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment

by Francis Fukuyama

Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment

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After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, geopolitical expert Francis Fukuyama famously argued the triumph of liberal democracy signaled "the end of history." In Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Fukuyama revisits his old thesis and argues that in the 21st century, liberal democracy is under threat from myopic identity politics on both the political right and left.
 
Fukuyama's thesis is compelling. He traces the evolution of democracy, from Ancient Greece
... [ Read More » ]

24 of 26
His Favorites

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His Favorites

by Kate Walbert

His Favorites

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Kate Walbert's His Favorites begins with a drunken joy ride in the 1970s, in which Jo kills her best friend. To avoid the judgment of her community, Jo enrolls in a prestigious boarding school, only to find that her guilt still makes her an outcast. A charming English teacher, Master, recognizes Jo's vulnerabilities and selects her as one of his favorites, a group of girls he both lauds and taunts in class. Outside class, the students become pawns in his games of sexual and emotional manipulation.
... [ Read More » ]

25 of 26
Gravesend

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Gravesend

by William Boyle

Gravesend

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Like the vintage fiction of George V. Higgins, Gravesend is a crime novel where the crime itself takes a back seat to character, corner tap argot and local streets and alleys. It's set in the Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood that's still as the borough was before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and the hipsters invaded. Crowded with parish schools and dive taverns like Ralphie's ("a clammy sports bar full of fat cops and smooth Italian boys stinking of cologne"), it's an Italian Catholic place where
... [ Read More » ]

26 of 26
The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn

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The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn

by Tanella Boni, trans. by Todd Fredson

The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn

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Ivorian poet and writer Tanella Boni has been celebrated for decades, but The Future Has an Appointment with the Dawn is her first book of poems to be translated into English. It is broken into two large sections, each laying out a provocative, imagistic narrative that speaks to the Ivory Coast's recent, brutal history. These sections are further broken into nameless, smaller poems.
 
Boni's writing, translated from the French by Todd Fredson, does not pause for punctuation, making sentences
... [ Read More » ]

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