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New & Noteworthy, From Netflix to Writers’ Writers


THE WRITER’S LIBRARY: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives, by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager. (HarperOne, $27.99.) Interviews with almost two dozen noted authors about the books that have meant the most to them over the years.

WORKED OVER: How Round-the-Clock Work Is Killing the American Dream, by Jamie K. McCallum. (Basic, $28.) This well-written study by a sociologist at Middlebury College explores the reasons that Americans’ work hours have been growing since the 1970s, including the gig economy and the moribund labor movement.

SAVAGE KISS, by Roberto Saviano. Translated by Antony Shugaar. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.) After chronicling the Naples mob in his acclaimed nonfiction account “Gomorrah,” Saviano has mined the same vein in fiction; this novel (a sequel to “The Piranhas”) opens with a gunfight in a maternity ward.

NO RULES RULES: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer (Penguin Press, $28.) A Netflix co-founder and a business professor outline the ways a DVD subscription company adjusted to life in the video streaming era.

THE OXFORD ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE BOOK, edited by James Raven. (Oxford University, $39.95.) Fourteen scholars trace books’ origins and evolution, from clay tablet to digital text, showing the form’s versatility and durability.

I picked up MATING because it’s long. I’d been craving something immersive, to draw me in and force me to sit still. Norman Rush’s unnamed narrator — an American anthropologist in Botswana, whose failed thesis propels her to a series of romantic encounters — provides it. Witty and incisive, she drops Latin at every turn, and examines the practice of mating with precision. Nelson Denoon, an acclaimed intellectual forming a utopia in the Kalahari, is the object of many of her observations: someone who challenges and excites her already impressive mind. “What beguiles you toward intellectual love,” she tells us, “is the feeling of observing a mental searchlight lazily turning here and there and lighting up certain parts of the landscape you thought might be dubious or fraudulent but lacked the time or energy to investigate.” Is it too much to say I’m in intellectual love with a novel? “The searchlight confirms you,” Rush writes. And I am feeling confirmed.

—Noor Qasim, Books editing fellow



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