Also of interest…
In learning experiences
by Kate Walbert (Scribner, $22)
Kate Walbert’s timely novella “begs to be read,” said Lucy Feldman in Time. The narrator looks back on the late 1970s, when she arrived at an elite boarding school at 15 and was initially flattered by the attentions of a popular teacher. The way he abuses her trust is shattering and reminds us of one of the most important lessons of the #MeToo awakening: “Before things turn treacherous, there’s a moment when predation can feel dangerously like kindness.”
The Shakespeare Requirement
by Julie Schumacher (Doubleday, $26)
The lovably bilious protagonist of Dear Committee Members is back, said Katy Waldman in NewYorker.com. As he was in that Thurber Prize–winning 2014 comic novel, Jay Fitger is still a disillusioned English professor. But he’s now department head, and when he becomes enmeshed in a budget battle involving odd allies and a humanities-loathing rival, “one of the intense pleasures” of following his misadventures is in how he rides, Don Quixote–style, to the defense of liberal arts education.
by Heather Won Tesoriero (Ballantine, $27)
The Class offers a fascinating glimpse of “a teaching environment that most public school teachers will never know,” said Melanie McCabe in The Washington Post. In tony Greenwich, Conn., a few dozen gifted students are given the chance each year to pursue an individual research project aimed at, say, curing cancer. Readers get to know several prodigies well, but given the students’ unusual advantages, the story of their successes must be read “less as an attainable model” than as an anomaly.
Reader, Come Home
by Maryanne Wolf (Harper, $25)
Though we encounter a novel’s worth of text on our screens each day, we may well be eroding our capacity to read deeply, said Sophie Haigney in the San Francisco Chronicle. Maryanne Wolf “makes a strong case” for that argument, marshaling data and, in “a remarkable moment,” recalling a recent failed attempt to reread a challenging novel she once had loved. Though we may be beyond society-level fixes, Wolf’s tips on how to reclaim a healthy attention span “feel like a start.” ■