Looking for a good book to binge over on a weekend? Or something you can bring while you gallivant around but hoping to catch some downtown in between or while having tea? Check out the follow selection of summaries from The New York Times Book Review:
SECOND PLACE, by Rachel Cusk. (Picador, 192 pp) Cusk’s first novel since her acclaimed “Outline” trilogy shares similarities to her previous work — a sharply observant narrator, meditations on themes of art, beauty and the “tyranny” of parenthood — but it is also a departure. Times critic Dwight Garner wrote that this book has “a swirling hothouse quality that’s new” and that it “pushes its needles into the red.”
STANDOFF: Race, Policing, and a Deadly Assault That Gripped a Nation, by Jamie Thompson (Holt, 320 pp) Reviewer RJ Young called this book a “ticktock, scene-driven account” of the night of July 7, 2016, mere days after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were killed by police, when a gunman in Dallas shot multiple officers, killing five and wounding several more.
NO HEAVEN FOR GOOD BOYS, by Keisha Bush. (Random House, 336 pp) After being sent to Dakar to study the Quran under a strict instructor, 6-year-old Ibrahimah is dispatched by his teacher to beg for money and food or suffer beatings and abuse. Reviewer Jean Kwok wrote that “in elegant, understated prose, Bush highlights the poignancy of Ibrahimah’s loss of innocence.”
FATAL DISCORD: Erasmus, Luther and the Fight for the Western Mind, by Michael Massing. (Harper Perennial, 1,008 pp) Massing’s 2018 book on Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus widens the scope on the Protestant Reformation and vividly describes how the rivalry between the two men set the course for much of Western civilization. This can make for a sprawling account, but the story line is clean and coherent.
LADY BIRD JOHNSON: Hiding in Plain Sight, by Julia Sweig. (Random House, 560 pp) According to reviewer Mimi Swartz, this biography sets Lady Bird Johnson up as “the perfect bridge to the modern first lady,” chronicling her policy initiatives and support for working women. It’s a book “in the Caro mold, using Lady Bird, along with tapes and transcripts of her entire White House diary, to tell the history of America during the Johnson years.”
THINGS WE LOST TO THE WATER, by Eric Nguyen. (Vintage, 304 pp) A family of four quickly becomes three when a Vietnamese mother migrates with her two sons to New Orleans in 1978, leaving her husband behind forever. “It’s a rare novel that conveys the vertigo of a journey without demystifying its individual turns,” reviewer Bryan Washington wrote.