New York Times Review
AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE, by JoAnn Chaney. (Flatiron, $27.99.) In this thriller with echoes of "Gone Girl," a hiker whose first wife died in a mysterious fire rushes down from a mountainside claiming that his second wife has fallen from a precipice into the river below. THE PLOTTERS, by Un-Su Kim. Translated by Sora Kim-Russell. (Doubleday, $25.95.) In a slightly akilter version of Seoul, a handsome young assassin is in danger. ZUCKED: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, by Roger McNamee. (Penguin Press, $28.) The story of Facebook has been told many times before, but McNamee - an early investor in the company - does a superb job of contextualizing its rise within the proper technological history. And this book is not merely the cri de coeur of a forsworn tech optimist zinged by moral conscience. It's also a robust and helpful itemization of the ways Facebook could be brought to heel. ANTISEMITISM: Here and Now, by Deborah E. Lipstadt. (Schocken, $25.95.) Lipstadt seeks to awaken her audience to the nature, persistence and scale of an age-old prejudice that never seems to die, along with the insidious new ways in which it seeks to disguise itself. BREAKING NEWS: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now, by Alan Rusbridger. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) The former editor of the British daily The Guardian recalls coping with the dramatic transformation of the newspaper business and his concerns about the present assault on truth and fact. MERCHANTS OF TRUTH: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts, by Jill Abramson. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) Abramson examines four news organizations, including The New York Times, which she led at one time as executive editor, and combines analysis with gossip to underline her commitment to journalism at a moment when its future has never looked more uncertain. THE DAKOTA WINTERS, by Tom Barbash. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99.) This novel is set at the famous Dakota building in 1979 and 1980, as the young narrator tries to define himself in the shadow of a charismatic father. He has help from one of the building's most famous residents, John Lennon. WHERE REASONS END, by Yiyun Li. (Random House, $25.) Composed after the suicide of Li's teenage son, this devastating novel comprises a dialogue between a mother and her dead child: a stringent meditation on love, loss and the limitations of language. CICADA, written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. (Arthur A. Levine/ Scholastic, $19.99; ages 12 and up.) A gray-suited cicada works in an office, underpaid and insulted, until he transforms and flies away in this enigmatic, profound picture book for older readers. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:
Publishers Weekly Review
The internet killed off and resurrected journalism in unpredictable, hopeful, but corrupted ways, according to this scintillating insider's history. A former New York Times executive editor, Abramson (Strange Justice) profiles four major media companies in upheaval. Representing the dinosaurs are the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers, whose expensive, high-quality news operations faced bankruptcy a decade ago as print circulation and ad revenue shriveled. Representing online innovators are the website Buzzfeed, which pioneered "You Won't Believe What Happened Next" clickbait, and Vice, which morphed from an X-rated punk-hipster lifestyle magazine to gonzo-journalism video juggernaut. Abramson shows how the rivals learned and converged: Buzzfeed and Vice edged into award-winning prestige journalism, yet have struggled financially; the Times and Post mastered internet eyeball-grabbing strategies while amassing lucrative online subscriptions for their authoritative reporting; the price for all four, she notes, was an ethically queasy blurring of lines between paid advertising and news (the author's tense narrative of her Times editorship and controversial firing centers on this issue). Abramson's shrewd, stylishly written account includes colorful characters-Vice's culture of sexual harassment featured a naked office walkabout by founder Shane Smith-and savvy portraits of newsroom dynamics. The result is one of the best takes yet on journalism's changing fortunes. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.