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‘To Siri With Love’ – New in Paperback


By Joumana Khatib

Six new paperbacks to check out this week.

TO SIRI WITH LOVE: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machinesby Judith Newman. (Harper, $15.99.) In her frank, and often very funny, memoir, Newman edges into the inner life of her son Gus and explores his affectionate bond with Apple’s personal assistant, Siri. The book is courageous and poses provocative questions, and it shows that while autistic people may be different, they are far from being less.

THE RELIVE BOX: And Other Storiesby T. Coraghessan Boyle. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $16.99.) From droughts to freakish gene editing, the tales in Boyle’s collection imagine a near future where civilization is headed toward chaos. In the title story, the protagonist starves himself, torpedoes his relationship with his daughter and risks his job to “relive” his past.

HAUNTED: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worldsby Leo Braudy. (Yale, $22.) Drawing together biblical, classical, medieval and contemporary symbols, this comprehensive study sketches out a taxonomy of monsters. Braudy, an English professor at the University of Southern California, is “a veritable Linnaeus of the underworldly oversoul,” our reviewer, Gregory Maguire, wrote.

DINNER AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTHby Nathan Englander. (Vintage, $16.95.) A failed Israeli agent languishes in a prison cell deep in the Negev Desert; meanwhile, his nemesis, the General (a stand-in for Ariel Sharon), is comatose after a stroke, and suffers a similar fate. As our reviewer, Steve Stern, put it, Englander tells the complex story of modern-day Israel through “individuals in their quixotic attempts to hang onto conscience, identity and hope while history tries to pry loose their tenuous grasp.”

A BOLD AND DANGEROUS FAMILY: The Remarkable Story of an Italian Mother, Her Two Sons, and Their Fight Against Fascismby Caroline Moorehead. (Harper Perennial, $17.99.) The Rosellis, an upper-class Jewish family, were guided by a strong moral imperative in their fight against Mussolini and other authoritarians. The book centers on two brothers whose efforts ended only after they were murdered in 1937.

ASYMMETRYby Lisa Halliday. (Simon & Schuster, $16.) In her fiercely intelligent debut novel, Halliday considers questions of fate and free will through two story lines: the bittersweet romance between Alice, a young assistant at a publishing house, and Ezra, a celebrated writer decades her senior; and the travails of an Iraqi-American economist who has seen his family and culture decimated by war.


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