New in Paperback: ‘Florida,’ ‘Robin’


NYT / Week 26 Views comments

Six new paperbacks to check out this week.

FLORIDA, by Lauren Groff. (Riverhead, $16.) Groff, the author of “Fates and Furies,” is a master storyteller, and the 11 stories in her new collection dive into darker sides of the titular state: Panthers, tropical storms and sinkholes — not to mention plenty of bad men — abound. But it’s not all grim: As our reviewer, Christine Schutt, put it, the selections “lean toward love and the promise of good people, in not just this state but the world.”

ROBIN, by Dave Itzkoff. (Picador, $18.) Itzkoff, a culture reporter for The Times, has written an appreciative and extensively reported biography of his hero Robin Williams. He follows Williams’s development, from a wealthy, introverted teenager to a brilliant comic phenomenon, but doesn’t skirt the comedian’s personal struggles, including addiction and mental illness.

WE BEGIN OUR ASCENT, by Joe Mungo Reed. (Simon & Schuster, $16.) A debut novel focuses on cycling, performance drugs and the personal failings of Sol, a middling British racer on the Tour de France. The book also includes a look at his marriage, to a geneticist waiting for a breakthrough. As Sol keeps doping, he and his wife are drawn into a drug-smuggling operation, raising questions about the moral consequences of ambition.

INTO THE RAGING SEA: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro, by Rachel Slade. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $17.99.) In 2015, the 790-foot ship El Faro sank off the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin, becoming the worst American maritime disaster in decades. Slade makes good use of the transcript captured by the voyage data recorder, offering heartbreaking insight into the ship’s final hours. Our reviewer, Douglas Preston, called the book “a powerful and affecting story, beautifully handled.”