New & Noteworthy – The New York Times

New & Noteworthy – The New York Times


New this week:

CATNIP By Michael Korda. (Countryman Press, $14.95.) Korda, a presidential biographer, has always loved doodling. When his wife, Margaret, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, he started producing a sketch a day for her — featuring one of their cats, Ruby, Kit Kat or Tiz Whiz — silly, whimsical drawings he never imagined would be collected like this after her death. JANE ON THE BRAIN By Wendy Jones. (Pegasus Books, $27.95.) A psychotherapist and an English professor, Jones wears both hats simultaneously to describe why Jane Austen’s novels appeal to the human brain, which craves sociability. MODERN LOSS Edited by Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner. (Harper Wave, $24.99.) Love is not the only human experience so common it is endlessly fascinating in its permutations — so is loss. Soffer and Birkner, who both had parents die tragically when they were young, understand this. First with a website, and now this book, they have collected moving, emotional and oftentimes funny essays about how grief can enter and change your life. EAT LIKE WALT By Marcy Carriker Smothers. (Disney Editions, $35.) The corn dogs and banana splits at Disneyland are part of its kitschy appeal. But how did that particular American cuisine get there? Like all else at the park, Walt Disney is in the details. This strangely fascinating book lays out his thinking as well as some recipes — from Adventureland’s “Pineapple Polynesian Ribs” to Main Street, U.S.A.’s “Potato Salad.” A GOOD COMB By Muriel Spark. (New Directions, $11.95.) A collection of the author’s sayings and aphorisms, which includes such gems as, “It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.”

& Noteworthy

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

“With modern workplace culture being interrogated anew, I’m plunging back into THE GIRLS IN THE OFFICE, by Jack Olsen: a fascinating if lamentably out-of-print 1972 collection of interviews with 15 pseudonymous female employees of a Manhattan organization referred to simply as the Company. With its frequent alcoholic ‘pours’ this Company suspiciously resembles the old Time Inc., for which Olsen was once Midwest bureau chief. The colorful, forthcoming subjects include the 20-something Bettye McCluin (‘overskilled, sexy, aloof’) and the ‘fading jet set cosmopolite’ Callia Bartucci. A prolific writer and father of seven who died in bed at 77 with a magazine on his chest, the author specialized in true crime. His oral history — a genre practiced with more transparency by Studs Terkel and Jean Stein — favors lurid detail and despair, like a nihilistic sequel to the Rona Jaffe novel ‘The Best of Everything.’ But it serves as powerful documentation of an era when women were institutionally subordinate, squabbling over the terms of their own liberation. How much has changed … and how little.”

— Alexandra Jacobs, features editor

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