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Noteworthy paperbacks

Noteworthy  paperbacks


NYT Syndicate

IKE'S GAMBLE: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East by Michael Doran
In the early years of his administration, President Dwight D Eisenhower set out to woo President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. But instead of stabilising the Middle East, the efforts helped further inflame the region. Doran's account offers a cautionary tale for contemporary diplomatic interventions.

HUMAN ACTS by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
The 1980 massacre of student protesters in South Korea is the subject of this novel, as a teenager searches for his best friend's corpse. Han, who won the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian, helps readers"witness the impossibly large spectrum of humanity, and wonder how it is that one end could be so different from the other," Nami Mun wrote in The New York Times.

OTHER MINDS: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
by Peter Godfrey-Smith
Humans and cephalopods appear to have little in common but share some crucial characteristics, including complex nervous systems. Godfrey-Smith's investigation takes him millions of years into the past and miles below sea level. As he put it:"When you dive into the sea, you are diving into the origin of us all."

HIMSELF by Jess Kidd
The supernatural and the past commingle in Kidd's debut novel. A mysterious letter leads Mahoney, a car thief in Dublin, back to his childhood village, where he was left at the door of an orphanage. As he untangles his family's history and coaxes out village gossip, he's joined by a bored, ageing actress."Add poisoned scones and letter bombs, and you have a fast-paced yarn that nimbly soars," Times reviewer Katharine Weber said.

ON LIVING by Kerry Egan
As a hospice chaplain, Egan writes, she deals in the"spiritual work of dying." Some patients asked her to share their stories, which resonate long after their death. Egan uses her book to recount them, along with reflections on her work and the issues surrounding end-of-life care. Together, these perspectives offer a guide for how to live with urgency and meaning.

A GAMBLER'S ANATOMY
by Jonathan Lethem
Alexander Bruno ” a debonair expatriate backgammon player with telepathic capabilities ” travels the world beating wealthy opponents at the game. But when a tumour causes him to collapse during a high-stakes match in Berlin, he returns to California for an experimental treatment, on a wealthy childhood friend's dime.