New in Paperback: ‘A Children’s Bible’ and ‘The Education of an Idealist’

THE EDUCATION OF AN IDEALIST: A Memoir, by Samantha Power. (Dey Street, 592 pp., $18.99.) In these pages, Thomas L. Friedman called the former U.N. ambassador’s third book a “combination of autobiography, diplomatic history, moral argument and manual” on balancing human rights work with parenting. Also balanced gracefully, he said, are the author’s “superidealistic” side and that of the “sober policymaker.”

BOYS & SEX: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent and Navigating the New Masculinity, by Peggy Orenstein. (Harper, 304 pp., $17.99.) In her interviews with young men for the follow-up to “Girls and Sex” (2016), Orenstein “takes the same eagle-eyed approach to jock culture, rape culture, L.G.B.T.Q. kids and porn,” our reviewer, Lauren Smith Brody, said. “Oh my God, the porn.”

AMERICAN POISON: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise, by Eduardo Porter. (Vintage, 272 pp., $16.) “A tough read,” our reviewer, Michael Ignatieff, said, because of its implications for American liberalism, its indictment of “our faith in our own empathy.” Its difficulty makes it all the more important: “It is a learned, well-written but relentless survey of social science studies on racial polarization, animosity and social fragmentation of American life.”

WE RIDE UPON STICKS, by Quan Barry. (Vintage, 384 pp., $16.95.) In the 1980s in northeastern Massachusetts, a group of virgin girls form a field hockey team inspired by the legacy of the 1692 witch trials. In her review, Marcy Dermansky called the poet’s second novel a “singular story of female sexuality, friendship, racial identity, witchcraft and transformation.”

A CHILDREN’S BIBLE, by Lydia Millet. (Norton, 240 pp., $15.95.) A National Book Award finalist and one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2020, Millet’s latest novel witnesses impending doom — on a summer getaway in the wilderness — from an adolescent’s perspective. In this modern parable “as in the Bible,” our reviewer, Jonathan Dee, wrote, “every disaster story is also an origin story.”

WRITERS & LOVERS, by Lily King. (Grove, 352 pp., $17.) It’s 1997 and a 31-year-old would-be novelist is waiting tables in Harvard Square and mourning the recent death of her mother. In his Times review, John Williams pointed out the resonances of this plot in King’s own autobiography — her mother died soon after the publication of her previous novel, “Euphoria.” “The emotional force,” Williams wrote, “is considerable.”

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