Intellectual pursuits, criminal pursuits, carnal pursuits: the thrill of the pursuit runs through this week’s recommended titles, from John Walsh’s ‘Circus of Dreams’, about 1980s literary London, to Frank Close’s ‘Elusive’, about the physicist Peter Higgs and his search for a subatomic particle, to Lina Wolff’s novel “Carnality,” in which the intellectual, the criminal and the carnal come together for a noisy brawl.
Other pursuits include longtime New York writer Alec Wilkinson trying to learn math late in life, Niven Govinden’s new novel follows a director’s quest for his next project and “How You Get Famous” by Nicole Pasulka explores Brooklyn’s search for fame and creative freedom. thriving drag scene.
We also recommend a few books on sex crimes and their aftermath – Ken Auletta’s account of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall and John Wood Sweet’s story of a 1793 New York rape trial – as well as a collection of stories set on the Penobscot Indian Nation reservation, a history of textiles and their uses, and Eleanor Brown’s novel about an unconventional extended family. Finally, two books on geopolitics and international relations: “Indelible City” by Louisa Lim looks back on Hong Kong’s efforts to challenge colonialism, and “A Matter of Trust” by Meenakshi Ahamed traces the long and complicated dynamic between India and the United States. Good reading.
In this mix of memoir and literary history, Walsh, the former literary editor of the Sunday Times of London, writes about book life in that city when Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson and their generation were increasingly under the limelight. In Walsh’s memory, book launch parties, which were upgraded in the ’80s, were particularly resplendent; he recalls them as “gilded, Gatsby-esque extravaganzas”.
constable | $36.99
Translated by Frank Perry
Bennedith, a 45-year-old Swedish writer, is going to Madrid on an artist’s grant. There she meets a stranger named Mercuro who begs her to hide him “for a few days”. Bennedith invites her to stay at his apartment. Each of them yearns for a transformative event to jump-start life.
Other Press | Paper, $17.99
Auletta’s latest book is a cradle-to-prison biography of Harvey Weinstein, the movie mogul convicted of third-degree rape and another sex crime in New York City and awaiting trial on other charges in California. Auletta frames the story in the long shadow of “Citizen Kane.” The author is, of course, Jerry Thompson, the journalist looking for his anti-hero’s rosebud: the mysterious missing object or influence that will explain his personality.
Penguin Press | $30
Wilkinson begins this memoir by admitting that he passed math in high school only because he cheated. “A Divine Language” recounts the year he spent, not so long ago, well into his sixties, trying to learn the algebra, geometry and calculus that had baffled decades before. As he got older, he wanted to see if his teenage confusion reflected a lack of math skills or a lack of discipline.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux | $29
THE STORY OF THE SEWING GIRL:
A story of crime and consequences in revolutionary America
John Wood sweet
This story tells the fascinating and unusual story of a 1793 New York City rape trial, when the young victim bravely confronted her much wealthier abuser in court with repercussions that are still felt today.
holt | $29.99
Govinden’s elegant novel about the creative process follows a film maker who is in Italy for the premiere of his latest work but is already eyeing up the sequel. A chance meeting with a writer – and later, his out-of-print novel – leads to a few ideas, though the gap between vision and real life may prove too difficult to bridge.
Deep Vellum | $25.95
In this collection of brash and irreverent stories, Talty illuminates life and death on the Penobscot Indian Nation reservation by following David, a Penobscot boy, through adventures and turmoil that evoke loss, intergenerational trauma and more.
Tin house | Paper, $16.95
This book about the Scottish physicist and the boson that bears his name, sometimes called the ‘God Particle’, is a clear and vivid account of a major scientific breakthrough, taking the reader through much of the history of particle physics while introducing key players and ideas. along the way.
Basic | $30
A former journalist dismantles conventional wisdom about Hong Kong’s history and replaces it with an engaging and thoroughly researched account of his long struggle for sovereignty from China and – at least as importantly – Britain.
Ahamed’s exquisitely written, painstakingly researched and insightful tale traces the difficult and complicated relationship of two huge democracies that need each other as allies but can’t quite be friends. .
HarperCollins | Paper, $18.99
In this entertaining and thought-provoking novel, three adoptive families embark on an ambitious vacation that goes awry after an announcement from their children’s birth mother. Brown raises serious questions about how families are formed and how they endure.
In her expansive and personal story-memoir-travelogue, Finlay explores the often complex and always fascinating histories of textiles like linen, cotton, wool, silk and synthetics.
Pegasus | $32
This story of the Brooklyn drag scene follows a handful of influential queens who shaped the field, drawing on a hundred interviews and many years of reporting to explore larger issues.
Simon & Schuster | $27.99