9 New Books We Recommend This Week

AMAZON UNBOUND: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire, by Brad Stone. (Simon & Schuster, $30.) Stone seeks to explain the rise of America’s most important private enterprise, a giant company notable for its opacity. His book is particularly valuable in showing how Amazon makes money, and how its founder, Jeff Bezos, influences the day-to-day decisions that affect consumers. “That makes it timely at a moment when our economy is dominated by giant firms headed by a small handful of men, whose personalities and whims we need to understand whether we like it or not,” Ben Smith writes in his review. “Amazon in the 2010s was an intensely personal venture, run by one of the wealthiest men in the world according to his own desires and reflecting his own personality.”

THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOME ECONOMICS: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live, by Danielle Dreilinger. (Norton, $27.95.) Dreilinger’s carefully researched homage to a field that is often belittled chronicles its origins in practical science and its key role in establishing nutritional standards, the federal poverty line, radio programming and more. “Dreilinger chronicles home ec’s decline beginning in the 1960s and its frantic efforts to reinvent itself,” Virginia Postrel writes in her review, fondly recalling her own time in a middle school home ec classroom. “Learning how to cook and sew — to make useful physical objects with sensory appeal — was deeply satisfying for a 12-year-old bookworm. It’s the same satisfaction that animates the contemporary maker movement. … Integrate some electronics and carpentry and you’ll have a hit.”

SECRETS OF HAPPINESS, by Joan Silber. (Counterpoint, $27.) What happens when a father dies and his children find out about his second family? Silber’s ninth novel tackles this intriguing question from the perspectives of multiple narrators, with her characteristic expansive and thoughtful flair. “Silber illuminates those invisible fissures and inexplicable distances that we sense, however dimly, make up our shared lives with others as much as our formal connections and open battles,” Joshua Ferris writes in his review, calling the book “humane, elegant and wise.”

ONE TWO THREE, by Laurie Frankel. (Holt, $26.99.) The narrators of this winning and amiable novel are triplets — known as One, Two and Three — with very different reactions to the discovery that their new neighbors are behind the chemical company poisoning their town. “The full and simple pleasures of Frankel’s luscious prose lull the reader into rooting for the good people of Bourne and these plucky heroines,” Janice Y.K. Lee writes in her review. “After all, doesn’t rooting for uncomplicated integrity feel good these days?”

MARY JANE, by Jessica Anya Blau. (Custom House, $27.99.) Blau’s cinematic fifth novel whisks readers to suburban Baltimore in the summer of 1975. A 14-year-old from a buttoned-up family signs on to babysit for the only child of freewheeling parents who have celebrity houseguests. “Blau is a deft hand with comic juxtaposition and domestic fantasy,” Allegra Goodman writes in her review. “She keeps it light, she keeps it moving and she’s got terrific visuals. … Blau’s story is so clear and bright that you can watch the movie in your mind.”

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