11 New Books We Recommend This Week

This week’s recommended titles include starkly different accounts of complicated parent-daughter relationships, from Lynne Tillman’s cleareyed description of caring for a remote and often critical mother in declining health to Mary Rodgers’s rollicking memoir of life as Broadway royalty, growing up with parents who were likewise remote and critical: the composer Richard Rodgers and (especially) the writer and entrepreneur Dorothy Rodgers, who was such a piece of work that one chapter of this book is titled “I Dismember Mama.” On the fiction side, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan’s debut novel follows an overweight 8-year-old girl whose parents bring their own body issues to raising her.

Also recommended: a couple of romance novels, a look at Josephine Baker’s work with the French Resistance, a history of alcohol as medicine and a book about yoga (among other things) by the French writer Emmanuel Carrère. There’s also a debut collection of personal essays, a journalistic account of a rape case that went viral in the early days of social media, and a Washington reporter’s examination of the ways an initially reluctant Republican establishment came to embrace Donald Trump and his politics. Happy reading.

—Gregory Cowles

Tillman, a novelist and critic, writes unsentimentally in this book about the 11 years she spent attending to her mother’s failing health. It is mostly composed of personal recollections, but Tillman occasionally offers some explicit words of guidance for anyone who might be in a similar situation.

With “Yoga,” translated from the French by John Lambert, Carrère set out to write “an upbeat, subtle little book” about the practice. Instead, he’s produced a characteristically self-analyzing assembly of messy and forceful tangents that cover a friend’s murder, an emotional crisis and his receiving a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Intentionally and unintentionally funny, full of extreme candor, “Yoga” has all the Carrère traits that charm and entrance some readers and repel others.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux | $28

Behind the scenes on Broadway: This jaw-droppingly candid memoir is by the daughter of Richard Rodgers (she was also the confidante of Stephen Sondheim and the composer of “Once Upon a Mattress”). A posthumous treasure, written with The Times’s chief theater critic.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux | $35

Set amid the dazzle and drama of belle epoque Paris, this fresh, smart marriage-of-convenience romance novel stars a Scottish whisky maker and a Dominican heiress who’s also a rum distiller.

HQN | Paper, $12.99

A blackmail letter from a thief to a duchess kicks off a brief epistolary flirtation, and next thing you know our leads are on the lam together. The series’ first book, “The Queer Principles of Kit Webb,” set up the characters’ rejection of inherited wealth and title, and this book carries it forward into full-blown anarchy.

From fermented rice drinks in ancient China to gin and tonics sipped by the British in 19th-century India, alcoholic beverages consumed for their curative properties are a tradition spanning centuries and cultures, this jaunty history says. Recipes included.

Penguin Books | Paper, $18

Josephine Baker is primarily known as a shining star of the Paris cabaret stage, but according to this book, the American-born triple threat was far more: not just an active member of the French Resistance, but a daring double agent. She leveraged her own status as a celebrity — and a person who fit in nowhere and everywhere — as cover.

In this achingly beautiful coming-of-age debut novel, set in 1980s Harlem, 8-year-old Malaya contends with society’s — and her parents’ — expectations for what her body should look like.

Liveright | $27

Sometimes a viral essay is just a viral essay. Other times, as with Hauser’s story of breaking off her engagement (written for The Paris Review), a piece that spoke to millions will lead to something bigger — in this case, an absorbing memoir in essays.

In this group portrait, Leibovich describes the twisted and tormented souls in the Republican establishment who may have known better but “made Trump possible.”

Penguin Press | $29

This meticulous account of the “first rape case ever to go viral in the United States” conveys the brutal banality of sexual assault, and calls for a broader reckoning with American masculinity in the internet age.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/11/books/review/11-new-books-we-recommend-this-week.html