The Week in Books

We take the weekend to highlight some of the recent books coverage in The Times:

A tour of the Book Review

Our cover review this week is of “Mama’s Last Hug,” by the renowned ethologist Frans de Waal, who argues that emotions are key to understanding both human and animal behavior.

James McBride writes about Toni Morrison on the occasion of her new collection, “The Source of Self-Regard,” which spans four decades of her career and cements her status as an unparalleled literary innovator.

“Death Is Hard Work,” the latest by the lauded Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa, is his first to be set during the country’s current war, and the plot follows a father’s corpse as it travels across Syria.

Most histories written in or about the 20th century accept some version of the idea that Europe “won” world history. But in “Empires of the Weak,” J.C. Sharman argues that the belief in Western dominance is a mistake.

In “The White Book,” a new novel by the acclaimed South Korean novelist Han Kang, the central character wanders Warsaw, haunted by the death of her sister as an infant, and by Korea’s inability to mourn its own losses.

And in “Early Riser,” his brilliantly funny and slightly deranged new novel, Jasper Fforde explores the strange things that happen when humans begin hibernating during ice age-like winters.

Reviews from our staff critics

Dwight Garner reviews “Appalachian Reckoning,” in which several writers respond to the portrayal of the region in J. D. Vance’s best-selling memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy.”

Parul Sehgal reviews “They Were Her Property,” by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, a cogent and harrowing history about the ways in which white women profited from and passionately defended slavery.

Jennifer Szalai says that “Nervous States,” by William Davies, is a “wide-ranging yet brilliantly astute” look at how the mind-body connection is rewiring our politics.

Patrick Radden Keefe and Frans de Waal on the podcast

On this week’s episode, Keefe talks about “Say Nothing” and de Waal discusses “Mama’s Las Hug.”

March books to watch for

Looking for your next great read? Here are 12 new books coming out this month that New York Times editors are excited about.

Min Jin Lee on bell hooks

The novelist writes about her former professor at Yale: “For me, reading ‘Ain’t I a Woman,’ was as if someone had opened the door, the windows, and raised the roof in my mind.”

New editors at NYRB

The New York Review of books named two top editors on Monday, ending a five-month gap in leadership since the sudden departure of Ian Buruma in September. Emily Greenhouse and Gabriel Winslow-Yost will lead the magazine, while a longtime contributor, Daniel Mendelsohn, will assume a newly created role, editor at large.

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