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New books from Orhan Pamuk and Imani Perry; the New York Public Library celebrates Toni Morrison

Orhan Pamuk

For The Guardian, Lucy Hughes-Hallett reviews Orhan Pamuk’s latest, Nights of Plague, which takes place during the end of the Ottoman Empire.  Hughes-Hallett observes: “ it is a novel about a community ravaged by an incurable disease. It talks—in many different voices—about enforced isolation and lockdown. It tracks the way an epidemic justifies authoritarian measures, providing another way for Pamuk to make a veiled comment on Turkey’s current regime.” 

Imani Perry’s new book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, is out now. In an essay in The Nation, Robert Greene II considers Perry’s history and the questions it raises about Southern—and American—identity: “One cannot understand Black life in America, she maintains, without understanding the South, but one also cannot understand all of American life without it.”  

The New York Public Library is celebrating the legacy of Toni Morrison as the institution observes Banned Books Week. The library has giveaways, public programming, book talks, and more this week and is granting free digital access to Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Beloved.  

Read an adapted excerpt from Rachel Aviv’s debut book, Strangers to Ourselves, in the New York Times. Aviv’s book, which Charlotte Shane reviews in the current issue of Bookforum, challenges the ways in which psychiatry can define patients’ selfhood. In the Times, Aviv writes that while “contemporary psychiatry can alleviate people’s loneliness and make frightening experiences legible . . . we may take for granted the impact of its explanations, which are not neutral: They alter the kinds of explanations that count as ‘insight,’ and how we expect our lives to unfold.” 

The new issue of Lux magazine is out now, with a profile of Grace Lavery, a tribute to Mike Davis, reporting on New York City taxi workers’ organizing victories, a conversation between Astra Taylor and Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, and much more.