From Finding Joy to Extraordinary Sports Stories, New and Remarkable

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BLACK BOX: The Moment That Sparked Japan’s #MeToo Movement, Shiori Ito’s photo. Translated by Allison Markin Powell. (Feminist Press, newspaper, $17.95.) In 2015, Ito was raped by a reporter she met for drinks. The attack and its aftermath brought Japan to a cultural and legal showdown.

SIDECOUNTRY: Stories of Death and Life from the Back Roads of Sport, by John Branch. (Norton, $27.95) A Times reporter who often writes about sports from offbeat angles, Branch collects 20 of his favorite tracks here, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Snow Fall” about skiers caught in an avalanche.

THE STEAL: A Memoir, Elizabeth Gilpin’s photo. (Grand Central, $28.) At age 15, the author was an excellent student and a star athlete—but also depressed and angry, so his parents, heeding the advice of a counselor, enrolled him in a “therapeutic” boarding program. This memoir details the abuses he faced there.

PHOSFORESENCE: Memories of Finding Joy When Your World Gets Dark, by Julia Baird. (Random House, $27.) Facing heartbreak and cancer, Baird (his previous book was a biography of Queen Victoria) regularly sought joyous moments in nature and in friendships.

THE SEA WE SWIM: How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World, by Frank Rose. (Norton, $25.95.) Rose draws on psychology and neuroscience to show how narrative tools—character, anecdote, sound—help us make sense of the world.

In my book club – really in a text chat – I’m not sure who picked Fredrik Backman’s book. CONCERNED PEOPLE, but produced polar reactions. “Shit,” said one. “It’s impossible to beat Ove,” said another.

Which was it? The truth is, truth is complex. The story (apparently) begins with a robbery orchestrated by a bank robber who accidentally takes hostage in an apartment overseen by a real estate agent. is is real estate agent?

And so the capers appear. Here’s a man in panties, stockings and a bunny head! Here’s a cop who mistaken the Christmas lights for a bomb! Here’s a pistol that everyone knows is fake – is it really real? Tragedy-comedy. Comedy-tragedy. Is this book funny? Or not? The truth is, the book is full of tragedies. But maybe, in the midst of the horror, a pair of hands raises a person because it’s the right thing to do. On the last page, your sense of hopelessness and hope is complete.

—Francesca Donner, editor, Gender and Women

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