New & Noteworthy, From the Harlem Renaissance to a History of Magic

Recent titles of interest: MAGIC: A HISTORY: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, From the Ice Age to the Present, by Chris Gosden. (Farrar, Str...


MAGIC: A HISTORY: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, From the Ice Age to the Present, by Chris Gosden. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) Gosden, an Oxford archaeologist, distinguishes magic from science and religion, and argues that its role in human society is underappreciated today.

ALEXANDRIA, by Paul Kingsnorth. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) Set among a small group of religious believers a thousand years in the future, Kingsnorth’s elemental apocalyptic novel concludes an ambitious trilogy that started with “The Wake” and that covers two millenniums of human civilization.

THE LIVING IS EASY, by Dorothy West. (Feminist Press, paper, $19.95.) First published in 1948, this novel by a member of the Harlem Renaissance satirizes the Black bourgeoisie; its heroine escapes her sharecropper roots by marrying an entrepreneur and strives to distance herself from her lower-caste neighbors.

I AIN’T MARCHING ANYMORE: Dissenters, Deserters, and Objectors to America’s Wars, by Chris Lombardi. (The New Press, $27.99.) What does it mean for a member of the armed forces to object to war? Lombardi’s vivid history moves from the Revolution to Chelsea Manning.

APHASIA, by Mauro Javier Cárdenas. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.) Antonio, the hero of this manic comic novel, is a Colombian database analyst in California, worried that his sister’s mental illness will upend his life.

The Netflix show “Lucifer” depicts family dysfunction at a cosmic level. Watching it, I thought how ironic it is that we imagine even celestial beings share humans’ flawed ideas about love. How flawed? In the book ALL ABOUT LOVE, bell hooks argues that most of what we know about the emotion is wrong or incomplete, and that understanding its role in our lives could save us. “Love” should be viewed less as a noun than a verb, hooks argues, and its expression should never be harmful. Many become accustomed to inherited trauma or misguided teachings and are unable to recognize patterns of harm, hooks writes. This treatise is both digestible and plainly written, while also revealing something deeply profound. It is comforting now, especially, as so much in the world feels broken, to read and think about how we might heal ourselves and each other — hooks offers a path.

—Concepción de León, breaking news reporter

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Newsrust: New & Noteworthy, From the Harlem Renaissance to a History of Magic
New & Noteworthy, From the Harlem Renaissance to a History of Magic
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