Books

New in Paperback: ‘Crudo’ and ‘How Long ’til Black Future Month?’

CRUDO, by Olivia Laing. (Norton, $14.95.) Kathy, the central character of this slim, gutsy debut novel, is Laing herself, but also Kathy Acker, the iconoclastic writer who died in 1997. Dropping in quotes from Acker and others as she tells the story of a London-based woman’s anxious adjustment to marriage and to momentous Trump- and Brexit-era political change, Laing writes with “bristling intelligence,” our reviewer, Katie Kitamura, said.

HOW LONG ’TIL BLACK FUTURE MONTH? by N. K. Jemisin. (Orbit, $16.99.) Some of these short stories by Jemisin, the Book Review’s former Otherworldly columnist, are set in the worlds of previous books; others are one-off visits to new uncanny realms. Our reviewer, Laura Miller, praised many of the collection’s cyberpunk thrillers, alien tales and “good old-fashioned science-fiction yarns shot from new angles.”

AUTOMATING INEQUALITY: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, by Virginia Eubanks. (Picador, $18.) Poverty, Eubanks argues, has become increasingly criminalized by the government’s use of data surveillance to harass people who are economically struggling and to deny them social and medical services, relegating them to the “digital poorhouse.” Our reviewer, Liza Featherstone, called the book “riveting (an accomplishment for a book on technology and policy).”

PIRANHAS: The Boy Bosses of Naples, by Roberto Saviano, translated by Antony Shugaar. (Picador, $18.) The author of “Gomorrah,” a journalistic account of the Neapolitan Mafia, turns to fiction to portray another corner of that world through the story of a vicious teenage gang whose members aspire to be Mafia bosses. Saviano “knows how to keep his narrative hurtling forward like the scooters his young hoodlums ride at life-endangering speeds,” our reviewer, John Hooper, wrote.

THE CHOSEN WARS: How Judaism Became an American Religion, by Steven R. Weisman. (Simon & Schuster, $18.) Focusing on leaders of what became the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox branches, this history of Judaism in the United States foregrounds the tensions between tradition and adaptation that emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Our reviewer, Gal Beckerman, called the book “thorough and fascinating.”

A LIFE OF MY OWN, by Claire Tomalin. (Penguin, $17.) Tomalin, a longtime literary editor and the renowned biographer of Thomas Hardy and Samuel Pepys, tells her own story in this eventful, sometimes tragic memoir written at age 84. “There is genuine appeal in watching this indomitable woman continue to chase the next draft of herself,” The Times’s Dwight Garner wrote.

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