New in Paperback: ‘The Vanishing Half’ and ‘Tangled Up in Blue’

HALF DISAPPEARED, by Brit Bennett. (Riverhead, 400 pages, $18.) Bennett’s novel, one of the Book Review’s Top 10 Books of 2020, follows the divergent lives of two mixed-race women from Louisiana as they try to find their place in America at the end of the 20th century. Our reviewer, Ayana Mathis, called it a “brave foray into vast and difficult terrain” that “raises difficult questions about the cost of darkness.”

MILK BLOOD HEAT: Stories, by Daniel W. Moniz. (Grove, 224 pages, $17.) “In Moniz’s collection,” wrote our reviewer, Chelsea Leu, “the ordinary experience of being a woman is laced with a kind of enchantment.” Set in the cities and suburbs of Florida, these stories follow a number of women and girls as they experience and struggle with adultery, miscarriage and motherhood.

A WORLD UNDER THE SAND: The Golden Age of Egyptology, by Toby Wilkinson. (Norton, 544 pages, $18.95.) This account focuses on the British and French obsession with ancient Egyptian ruins from 1822 to 1922. Wilkinson “has mastered the facts through painstaking research and allowed them to speak for themselves,” our reviewer commented, Rosemary Mahoney. And “the facts rarely speak so clearly”.

EDUCATED: A MEMORY, by Tara Westover. (Random House, 368 pages, $18.99.) Westover’s memoir, about growing up without formal schooling in southeast Idaho and later breaking up with her family as she worked her way up through the higher education ladder, was one of the top 10. 2018 books from book review. the critic, Alec MacGillis, observed. “But we also remain convinced that the costs are worth it.”

TANGLED UP IN BLUE: American City Police, by Rosa Brooks. (Penguin, 384 pages, $18.) Brooks shares his experiences as a volunteer reserve officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, and reflects on how his relationship with his mother, writer Barbara Ehrenreich, contributed to his politics. As our reviewer Maurice Chammah noted, “Brooks’ calm, thoughtful tone, grounded in experience, is in itself an achievement.”

THE PROPHETS, by Robert Jones Jr. (Putnam, 416 pages, $18.) This novel centers on two enslaved boys and their blossoming romance, which engenders betrayal and suffering on a pre-war plantation in Mississippi. According to our reviewer, Danez Smith, this love story reaches “through time and form to shake something old, powerful in the blood.”

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