Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare’s Globe by Andrew Dickson. (St. Martin’s Griffin) Dickson’s travelogue takes him to far-flung corners of the world – New Delhi, Beijing and Johannesburg, among other destinations – where Shakespeare’s work has flourished, resulting in a study of how the fitting of his plays to local idiom can reveal new insights about the work.
The Gold Eaters by Ronald Wright. (Riverhead) In the 16th century in what is today Peru, a young Inca boy, Waman, is forced to be Francisco Pizarro’s translator, journeying with the conquistadors as they press deeper into the region. As Waman is conscripted into the colonial project, Wright “captures the flavor of Peru in this period of its history,” Times’ reviewer Sara Wheeler wrote.
Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives Of Young Women Who Are Transforming The Arab World by Katherine Zoepf. (Penguin) For more than a decade, Zoepf worked as a journalist for publications including The New York Times in countries across the Middle East. Her account stitches together stories told by hundreds of women she has interviewed, from wealthy Saudi teenagers celebrating an arranged marriage to activists leading social change in Egypt, challenging familiar, inert depictions of Arab femininity.
Mothering Sunday: A Romance by Graham Swift. (Vintage) Jane – a successful writer in her 90s and the heroine of Swift’s novel – recalls the events of a single day from decades earlier that had lifelong ramifications. In 1924, when she worked as a maid, she met for a last tryst with her longtime lover, a wealthy heir preparing to marry a woman more compatible with his own social status.
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Kill ’em And Leave: Searching For James Brown And The American Soul by James McBride. (Spiegel & Grau) McBride, borrowing the book’s title from Brown’s attitude toward his fans, investigates the famously private musician’s life. Today’s “tendency in which black writers lay claim to the discourse of black music – this increasing tendency – is a much needed development for anyone who cares about modern music,” Rick Moody wrote in The Times.
Ways To Disappear by Idra Novey. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) When a once-beloved Brazilian novelist goes missing, her American translator, Emma, hops on a plane to help unravel the mystery. Tipped off by a mysterious acquaintance of the author, Emma embarks on a quest that leads her to loan sharks and secret addictions, while the story explores how a disappearance can help bring someone into fuller view.
Republic Of Spin: An Inside History Of The American Presidency by David Greenberg. (Norton) Greenberg offers a narrative history of politicians and the architects of their personas – including speechwriters, public relations advisers and other image crafters – and the American public’s distaste for the political spin machine.
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