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The Week in Books – The New York Times

We take the weekend to highlight recent books coverage in The Times:

The highly-anticipated “Catch and Kill” comes out next week, building off Farrow’s investigative reporting into the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his predatory behavior toward women. (The Times and The New Yorker shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in public service for exposing wealthy and powerful sexual predators, including Weinstein, in articles by Farrow, the Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, and others.)

Many of the book’s most explosive claims have already been shared. Among other big revelations, the book contends that Matt Lauer, the former NBC anchor, raped a colleague, which Lauer has forcefully denied. Farrow also goes after executives at the network, claiming they repeatedly blocked his investigation of Weinstein. (NBC has pushed back against those allegations.)

“The behavior documented in ‘Catch and Kill’ is obviously and profoundly distressing,” our critic, Jennifer Szalai, writes in her review of the book. “But there are some hopeful threads, too.”

Last year’s award was postponed over a scandal involving a husband of an academy member, so two authors were honored this year: Olga Tokarczuk of Poland and Peter Handke of Austria.

The choice of Handke soon prompted a backlash: He is a right-leaning writer who delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslavian leader who was tried for war crimes. The literary organization PEN America took the extraordinary step of rebuking the Nobel committee, saying, “We are dumbfounded by the selection of a writer who has used his public voice to undercut historical truth and offer public succor to perpetrators of genocide.”

Tokarczuk is beloved by readers and critics, and many in the literary world celebrated her win. Our critic Parul Sehgal had high praise for her earlier book, “Flights”; and Tokarczuk’s novel “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead,” which was released in the United States in August, was also a critical success.

In other literary prize news, the finalists for the National Book Award were announced last week, and the winner of the Man Booker Prize will be named tomorrow.

Our cover review this week is of Maaza Mengiste’s sweeping historical novel “The Shadow King.” The story unfolds during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War as seen through the eyes of a young Ethiopian woman named Hirut.

Steven Greenhouse was until recently the longtime labor reporter for The Times. His new (and timely) book, “Beaten Down, Worked Up,” is reviewed this week by Zephyr Teachout, a former candidate for attorney general and for governor of New York. Greenhouse joins us on this week’s podcast.

It was a busy week for our nonfiction critic, Jennifer Szalai. In addition to her review of “Catch and Kill,” she wrote about Andrew Marantz’s new book, “Antisocial,” about his experience reporting on the alt-right. She also reviewed two new memoirs by former Cambridge Analytica employees, which detail how the company harvested data from millions of Facebook users and attempted to influence voting behaviors.

And Janet Maslin wrote about “Me,” a new memoir by Elton John, which traces his path from suburban homebody to superstardom and beyond.

John le Carré takes aim at Boris Johnson, Brexit and today’s political “sleepwalk,” as he puts it, in his new book, “Agent Running in the Field,” due out next week. The novel is his 25th, and even though he’s closing in on age 88, le Carré shows few signs of slowing down: “I have no real leisure activity,” he said. “I am dismayed when I’m not writing, completely content when I am.”

The comedian’s new essay collection, “Dear Girls,” is even more personal and raunchy than some of her stand-up. “I don’t know how people are going to react and it’s scary,” she said. “I hope my siblings don’t get pissed at me.”

Here are 10 new books we recommend this week, and 18 books we’re watching for in October.

Follow New York Times Books on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up for our newsletter or our literary calendar. And listen to us on the Book Review podcast.




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