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THE DAMASCUS ROAD, by Jay Parini. (Doubleday, $27.95.) Parini, a poet, novelist and biographer whose earlier books embrace a historic account of Jesus, right here makes use of fiction to think about the life and occasions of St. Paul and discover the early unfold of Christianity.

THE MOMENT OF LIFT: How Empowering Ladies Modifications the World, by Melinda Gates. (Flatiron, $26.99.) Gates shares tales of the ladies she has met by way of her philanthropic work, and makes use of knowledge to argue that robust ladies are important to robust societies. “I would like all of us to see methods we will raise ladies up,” she writes.

WHAT MY MOTHER AND I DON’T TALK ABOUT: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence, edited by Michele Filgate. (Simon & Schuster, $26.) Mom-child bonds are amongst our most intimate. However as these highly effective essays attest, their evasions may be essential. Contributors embrace Melissa Febos, Kiese Laymon, Leslie Jamison and extra.

SACRED LIBERTY: America’s Lengthy, Bloody, and Ongoing Wrestle for Spiritual Freedom, by Steven Waldman. (HarperOne, $28.99.) Spiritual freedom, enshrined within the First Modification, is central to America’s id. Waldman exhibits how exceptional that's, and the way tenuous.

PERMISSION, by Saskia Vogel. (Coach Home, paper, $17.95.) The grieving heroine of Vogel’s debut novel turns for solace to the Los Angeles dominatrix scene, testing the boundaries of want and energy and private freedom.

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I’m in the midst of THE COST OF THESE DREAMS: Sports activities Tales and Different Critical Enterprise, a brand new assortment by Wright Thompson. I’ve been an enormous fan of Thompson’s since he profiled Michael Jordan at 50 for ESPN The Journal, the place he works. I don’t perceive sports activities that a lot, however once I learn the Jordan profile, which is included right here, I see the elements of journal tales that also thrill me: grandness, skepticism, drama, humor and an awesome sense of emotion and coronary heart. Particularly in that Jordan profile is the understanding that we’re solely actually serving our readers and even our topics once we let their personalities shine by way of, so we will see how our grudges and triumphs — our historical past — dominate our future. It’s current in Thompson’s different work, too: his Pat Riley profile and his Tiger Woods profile and extra, all of it, fortunately, included.

— Taffy Brodesser-Akner, employees author for The Occasions Journal

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