9 new books we recommend this week
AMAZON UNBOUND: Jeff Bezos and the invention of a global empire, by Brad Stone. (Simon and Schuster, $ 30.) Stone seeks to explain the rise of America’s largest private company, a giant company known for its opacity. His book is particularly valuable for showing how Amazon makes money and how its founder, Jeff Bezos, influences everyday decisions that affect consumers. “This comes at a perfect time at a time when our economy is dominated by giant corporations run by a small handful of men, whose personalities and quirks we need to understand whether we like it or not,” writes Ben Smith in his review. . “Amazon in the 2010s was an intensely personal business, run by one of the richest men in the world on his own terms and reflecting his own personality.”
THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE DOMESTIC ECONOMY: How pioneering women harnessed the power of the home and changed the way we live by Danielle Dreilinger. (Norton, $ 27.95.) Dreilinger’s carefully researched homage to an often belittled field chronicles his origins in practical science and his key role in setting nutritional standards, the federal poverty line, radio programming and more. “Dreilinger chronicles home ec’s decline from the 1960s and its frantic efforts to reinvent itself,” writes Virginia Postrel in her review, fondly recalling her own time in a college home ec class. “Learning to cook and sew – to make useful physical objects with sensory appeal – was deeply satisfying for a 12-year-old bookworm. It’s the same satisfaction that drives the contemporary maker movement.… Integrate electronics and carpentry and you will have success.
SECRETS OF HAPPINESS, by Joan Silber. (Counterpoint, $ 27.) What happens when a father dies and his children discover his second family? Silber’s ninth novel tackles this intriguing question from the perspective of several narrators, with its characteristic expansive and thoughtful flair. “Silber illuminates those invisible cracks and inexplicable distances that we feel, however faintly, constitute as much our shared lives with others as our formal relationships and open battles,” writes Joshua Ferris in his review, calling the book “human, elegant. and wise. . “
ONE TWO THREE, by Laurie Frankel. (Holt, $ 26.99.) The narrators of this winning and lovable novel are triplets – known as One, Two, and Three – with vastly different reactions to the discovery that their new neighbors are behind the chemical enterprise that is plaguing their town. “Frankel’s full and simple pleasures of luscious prose cradles the reader to root for the good Bourne people and those brave heroines,” writes Janice YK Lee in her review. “After all, doesn’t rooting for simple integrity feel good these days? “
MARY JANE, by Jessica Anya Blau. (Customs House, $ 27.99.) Blau’s fifth cinematic novel takes readers to the outskirts of Baltimore in the summer of 1975. A 14-year-old from a button-down family pledges to keep the only child of free parents who have famous guests. “Blau is a skilled hand with comedic juxtaposition and domestic whimsy,” writes Allegra Goodman in her review. “She keeps it light, she keeps it moving and she has great visuals. … Blau’s story is so clear and brilliant that you can watch the movie in your mind.