New & Noteworthy – The New York Times

New & Noteworthy – The New York Times


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New this week:

FAITH FOX By Jane Gardam. (Europa, $18.) Originally published in Great Britian in 1996, this is the story of a motherless girl raised by a bevy of eccentrics — the latest novel to appear in the United States from the beloved British author. USING LIFE By Ahmed Naji. Illustrated by Ayman Al Zorkany. (University of Texas, $21.95.) This fantastical Egyptian work imagines a secret society responsible for all that has shaped Cairo, from its politics to its architecture. A sensation when it was first published, its author, Naji, was charged with “violating public modesty” and sentenced to two years in prison. DON’T SAVE ANYTHING By James Salter. (Counterpoint, $26.) A collection of Salter’s writing that gathers his thoughts on everything from Aspen winters to American military life, revealing, according to Salter’s widow, “some of the breadth and depth of Jim’s endless interest in the world and the people in it.” AN APPEAL TO THE WORLD By the Dalai Lama. (William Morrow, $14.99.) His Holiness makes the case for unity in a world rife with divisions. Expressing his trademark optimism, the Dalai Lama argues for a universal ethic that transcends religion and could bind us together. DEBRIEFING By Susan Sontag. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.) Though much better known for her essays, Sontag spent most of her life also writing fiction, and these short works — which span from veiled autobiography to parable — show how she wrestled with ideas that could not be approached analytically.

& Noteworthy

In which we ask colleagues at The Times what they’re reading now.

“If you want to understand how so many conservative intellectuals who vigorously opposed Donald Trump during the Republican primary wound up endorsing, embracing and apologizing for him, read Czeslaw Miłosz’s political masterpiece THE CAPTIVE MIND. Published in 1953 and originally banned in the author’s native Poland, the book sets out to answer the question: How did the wisest of his postwar compatriots fall for Stalinism — that is, for a politics of lies and fear? I read it in one night shortly after Trump’s election. Trumpism is not Stalinism, but the relevance of Milosz’s insights — that intellectuals yearn to ‘belong to the masses’; that there is never a shortage of ways to justify cruelty in the name of the presumptively higher truth; that those who refuse to conform are caricatured as self-righteous purists — continues to haunt me as I watch so many I used to admire offer ever-more contorted defenses of Trumpism. When Milosz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, the committee cited his ‘uncompromising clear-sightedness.’ Just so.”

— Bari Weiss, opinion editor and writer



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