By Andrew Delbanco. (Penguin, $18.) Delbanco, a professor at Columbia, argues that the persistent legal and moral questions posed by people who fled bondage made the Civil War inevitable. Times reviewer Sean Wilentz said this was “a valuable book, reflective as well as jarring.”


By Lucia Berlin. (Picador, $17.) Published from 1981 to 1999, these 22 stories showcase Berlin’s forthright, seductive voice and subtle grasp of emotional psychology. In the American West, Chile or Paris, Berlin’s autobiographical characters reach for pleasure and connection even as they navigate life’s rougher corners. Writing in The Times, Nadja Spiegelman called Berlin “a soulful chronicler.”


By Sophie Mackintosh. (Anchor, $16.) Three girls, their father, called King, and their nameless mother form the center of this dystopian feminist novel, set on an island the family occupies, safe from the plague of men. The daughters undergo terrifying rituals to purge “toxins,” but one daughter begins to perceive the truth. In The Times, N.K. Jemisin praised Mackintosh’s “sumptuous yet sparsely written debut.”

WHY COMICS? From Underground to Everywhere

By Hillary Chute. (Harper Perennial, $24.99.) Decades after Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” won a Pulitzer Prize, graphic books are more popular than ever but not understood as a literary form. This richly illustrated history by Chute, a Graphic Content columnist for the Book Review, may change that. Times reviewer Manohla Dargis called it “wonderful.”

PROUST’S DUCHESS: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris

By Caroline Weber. (Vintage, $20.) This biography of the Belle Époque swans who inspired Proust’s Duchesse de Guermantes reveals Parisian society’s rebellious undertow. Weber shows how they transformed unhappy marriages and societal constriction into the stuff of legend. “Beguiling,” Elaine Showalter said in The Times.


By Perumal Murugan. Translated by N. Kalyan Raman. (Black Cat, $16.) This slyly fabulist story inhabits the point of view of a sickly goat taken in by a poor Indian family. Murugan, whose novel “One Part Woman” was long-listed for a National Book Award for translation, fashions the goat’s travails and victories into social commentary and a testament to nature’s power.

New York Times

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