Here's a family story that's "out of the box and funny and also genuinely moving," says NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan. "Meet the Family Fang, headed by renowned husband-and-wife conceptual artists Caleb and Camille. ... For years, they've been videotaping transgressive improvisational pieces that involve their children, Annie and Buster, known to fans of "Fang Art" as "Child A" and "Child B." ... In the present time of the novel, however, Annie and Buster as adults have had to return to their parents' house, seeking refuge there from life's catastrophes." The result, she says, is a "strange and wonderful novel" that lingers in the mind.
"Historian Adrian Burgos Jr. tracks the fascinating life of Alejandro Pompez from young cigar worker in Key West to Harlem numbers runner to respected baseball executive in Cuban Star," writes NPR senior editor Luis Clemens. "It was Pompez who recruited the first Dominican, the first Puerto Rican and the first Panamanian players into the Negro Leagues. All the while his illegal betting business helped finance his baseball operation. That is, until New York prosecutor Thomas Dewey (he of 'Dewey Defeats Truman' fame) forced Pompez to squeal on his former boss, the infamous gangster Dutch Schultz." Although Clemens describes the writing as "uneven," he concludes that "this book is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the Latinization of Major League Baseball."
"In our new Internet-saturated age, hackers are much more prevalent than they once were, but also much less prominent," writes book reviewer Rachel Syme. "During the early years of the Web, however, a hacker could attain national fame by breaking into mainframes, which is exactly what Kevin Mitnick did — he hacked his way into Motorola, Sun Microsystems and PacBell, and ended up eluding the FBI for years through stolen identities and other elaborate ruses until a dramatic final showdown. Mitnick was a criminal, to be sure, but he was also a visionary: Due to his hacking exploits, we have dramatically shifted how we protect online information. Ghosts in the Wires is much more exciting to read than it should be — Mitnick manages to make breaking computer code sound as action-packed as robbing a bank."
"This funny and frankly personal book is a departure for Greene, whose previous work has been sober and measured," writes book critic Jennifer Reese of Melissa Fay Greene's No Biking in the House Without a Helmet. It follows There Is No Me Without You, her engrossing portrait of the Ethiopian orphanage from which Greene and her husband adopted four children orphaned by AIDS, in addition to their five other children. "No Biking in the House Without a Helmet — her joyful and big-hearted new memoir — completes the picture," Reese says. "The title sounds like a madcap domestic comedy in the tradition of Jean Kerr and Erma Bombeck ... but a large, noisy family was what she and her husband, criminal defense attorney Don Samuel, actively chose and celebrate."
Ours is an age of urbanization, but unlike previous booms, this one is unique: We're currently living through the largest rural-to-urban migration that the world has ever known, or, for that matter, is likely to see. Written by Doug Saunders, the European bureau chief for Canada's Globe and Mail, Arrival City is an excellent account of how urban immigrant centers function in increasingly subtle ways, and how governments succeed and fail in managing them. Arrival City asks that we take a closer look at urbanization before its mismanagement is further mistaken for the thing itself, and to recognize that a citified future is not necessarily a doomed one.
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.