New in Paperback: ‘Driving While Black’ and ‘Life Isn’t Everything’

THE DOLPHIN LETTERS, 1970-1979: Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell, and Their Circle, edited by Saskia Hamilton. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 560 pp., $22.) “The Dolphin” is the book of poems in which Lowell lifted, and altered, lines from Hardwick’s anguished letters to him after he left her for the British novelist Carolyn Blackwood. “Their circle” includes the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne Rich and Mary McCarthy.

DRIVING WHILE BLACK: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights, by Gretchen Sorin. (Liveright, 352 pp., $18.95.) Venturing far beyond the territory covered in the Oscar-winning film “Green Book,” this deeply researched history emphasizes African-American car ownership, and the ways in which the automobile helped fight Jim Crow and facilitate the civil rights movement.

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS, by Peter Robinson. (Morrow, 336 pp., $16.99.) When one of the young women lured to England by a pop-up escort agency turns out to be a “super-recognizer,” with extraordinary abilities to place a face, an “old story is given a new twist,” as our crime columnist, Marilyn Stasio, put it in her review of this Alan Banks detective story.

LIFE ISN’T EVERYTHING: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends, edited by Ash Carter and Sam Kashner. (Picador, 384 pp., $19.) The title was an oft-repeated phrase of the inimitable film and stage director (and, before that, brilliant improv actor), feted here, our reviewer, John Simon, wrote, with the “astonishing diversity” of “love, truth and reality” befitting such a cultural figure — who had above all, as Renata Adler noted, “presence.”

THE ELECTRIC HOTEL, by Dominic Smith. (Picador, 352 pp., $18.) Our reviewer, Stephanie Zacharek, called this “vital and highly entertaining” silent-film-era novel — about “the act of creation” and “what it means to pick up and move on after you’ve lost everything” — “radiant.”

WOMEN ARTISTS: The Linda Nochlin Reader, edited by Maura Reilly. (Thames & Hudson, 472 pp., $24.95.) Written with “a dazzling mix of erudition and candor,” Chris Kraus, our reviewer, noted, “none of these essays seem dated.” Nochlin — author of the groundbreaking 1971 article “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” — “took the ’60s precept that ‘the personal is political’ to heart, but it’s her commitment to clarity, investigation and active thought that makes her work so contemporary today.”

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