Entertainment

NOTEWORTHY PAPERBACKS

Posted November 25, 2018 12:53 a.m. EST

A selection of summaries from The New York Times Book Review:

DEAD ON ARRIVAL, by Matt Richtel. (William Morrow/HarperCollins, $7.99.) In this thriller by Richtel, a science and technology reporter for The New York Times, an infectious disease specialist receives wrenching news: While he was on a flight, everyone across the country appears to have died. Times reviewer Marisha Pessl praised the book as “an intellectual thrill ride that tucks searing social critique into the Trojan horse of a save-the-world page-turner.”

EASTERNIZATION: Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline: From Obama to Trump and Beyond, by Gideon Rachman. (Other Press, $17.95.) Rachman, The Financial Times’ chief commentator on international affairs, sees China’s rapid development as an indication of the transfer of power from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern, even as he resists blaming Asia for stumbles in the United States and Europe.

THE INVENTION OF ANA, by Mikkel Rosengaard. Translated by Caroline Waight. (Custom House, $16.99.) A peculiar friendship ignites on a Brooklyn rooftop in this debut novel: The title character dazzles a young man with tales of mathematics and even time travel. Later, her stories turn dark, anchored by the horrors of Romania in the 1970s and ‘80s, leading the narrator to uncover the tragedy that has haunted her family for decades.

TALKING PICTURES: How to Watch Movies, by Ann Hornaday. (Basic Books, $16.99.) Hornaday, a movie critic for The Washington Post and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, offers a primer on everything about filmmaking, from casting to sound edits to production design. Along the way, she includes tidbits from her interviews with actors and directors, helpful questions to keep in mind when watching films and recommended viewing lists. The resulting book is a sensible, middle-of-the-road guide for amateurs and movie buffs alike.

BIRDCAGE WALK, by Helen Dunmore. (Grove, $17.) Dunmore imagines the life of an 18th-century British woman, an activist at the time of the French Revolution, and the effect her politics has on her daughter’s marriage to an imposing, possessive real estate developer. Times reviewer Valerie Martin praised the “charged radiance” of the book, writing that it “has a tenuous, momentary feel, as if one were reading a Turner painting.”

SLOW MEDICINE: The Way to Healing, by Victoria Sweet. (Riverhead, $17.) When it comes to health care, Sweet says, a more methodical approach would benefit everyone. Sweet is a physician familiar with the enormous benefits of modern medicine — dialysis, antibiotics, intensive care — but also their limitations. Her book interweaves moments that shaped her own theory of how to give patients the best possible care.