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New in paperback: “The Devil You Know” and “The Lying Lives of Adults”

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MAGIC COURSE, by Alice Hoffmann. (Simon & Schuster, 416 pages, $ 17.) “Hoffman’s book took me to a time when I needed it most,” wrote our reviewer Edan Lepucki of the third installment (and second prequel) to the fantasy series Practical Magic. While the plot here is darker than in the other novels, the storytelling, Lepucki enthuses, is “(forgive me) spellbinding.”

BARRY SONNENFELD, CALL YOUR MOTHER: Memoirs of a Neurotic Filmmaker, by Barry Sonnenfeld. (Hachette, 368 pages, $ 18.99.) A director known for “making cool, very commercial films about weirdos, eccentrics and strangers” in the words of our critic Dave Itzkoff, explores why he “gravitates around these kinds of characters.” Along the way, he serves as “the ideal tour guide through the vagaries and hypocrisies of the entertainment industry.”

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: A Black Power Manifesto, by Charles M. Blow. (Harper Vivace, 256 pages, $ 17.99.) While questioning the historical foundations of Blow’s argument that the best bet for African Americans to dismantle white supremacy is to migrate southward upside down, our critic Tanisha C. Ford called his a “useful introduction” book to the heated debates over voting rights.

THE LIE LIFE OF ADULTS, by Elena Ferrante. Translated by Ann Goldstein. (Europa Editions, 324 p., $ 18.) “What a relief when an author who has written a masterpiece returns to prove the gift intact,” Dayna Tortorici began her review of the first novel by the pseudonymous Italian writer since her Neapolitan quartet. Placing her last young heroine in the 1990s, Ferrante “slyly asks how decades of feminism have changed the world.”

WAGNERISM: Art and politics in the shadow of music, by Alex Ross. (Picador, 784 pages, $ 23.) Rather than focusing on Wagner’s music itself, noted our critic John Adams, Ross sees the composer as a “source-ur from which sprang a multitude of artistic, social and political movements.” Exposing “its own ‘Wagnerian’ weight”, this work of “enormous intellectual scope” is “nothing less than a story of ideas”.

IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, by Jill Lepore. (Liveright, 432 pages, $ 17.95.) This “fascinating but imperfect” book by Harvard history professor and New Yorker writer, about a “campaign strategist robot” (aka the “People Machine”) that came to light after John F. Kennedy in 1960, has a story to tell, according to our critic, Seth Mnookin.


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