New & Noteworthy, From Harold Bloom to the Women of Congress

New & Noteworthy, From Harold Bloom to the Women of Congress

THE AMERICAN CANON: Literary Genius From Emerson to Pynchon, by Harold Bloom. (Library of America, $32.) This anthology gathers the late critic’s appreciations of American writers with excerpts from his earlier books, offering a compact view of his own genius at play.

THE CRYING BOOK, by Heather Christle. (Catapult, paper, $16.95.) Facing the birth of her first child and the suicide of a close friend, Christle (the author of four volumes of poetry) began to research the history of crying. The result is this lyrical, moving book: part essay, part memoir, part surprising cultural study.

THE WOMEN OF THE 116th CONGRESS: Portraits of Power, by Elizabeth D. Herman and Celeste Sloman. (Abrams Image, $24.99.) The 2018 midterm elections were a watershed moment for women in politics; to mark it, The Times asked two photojournalists to take portraits of every woman in the House and Senate.

DON’T BE EVIL: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles — and All of Us, by Rana Foroohar. (Currency, $28.) A business journalist for The Financial Times and CNN presents a sweeping indictment of technology companies and their reach into every aspect of our lives.

INFORMATION WARS: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It, by Richard Stengel. (Atlantic Monthly, $28.) A veteran of the Obama administration surveys the new world of trolls, bots and propaganda.

I’ve recently risen from six feet under, having just read a translation of THE DIRTY DUST, by the Irish writer Mairtin O’Cadhain. An audacious novel rendered entirely in dialogue, it imagines the continuing quarrels among those residing in a small cemetery in remote Connemara, County Galway. The publican and postmistress and farmer’s wife may have ceased to be, but their regrets and resentments — the never-forgotten slights and betrayals — live on, fueled in part by the gossip delivered by new arrivals from the other side of the clay. There is no mention of God’s presence, no expectation of the eventual raising of the dead. Only hilarious quarrels and devastating put-downs that reflect O’Cadhain’s finely attuned ear for the nimble language of his people. He does not judge their time-wasting pettiness, so much as he celebrates the flaws that make us so tragically, wonderfully, human.

—Dan Barry, senior writer

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