Martha Anne Toll | WYPR

Martha Anne Toll

Some years ago, on vacation in New Hampshire, I picked up a copy of Lorene Cary's Black Ice, a memoir of her two years attending an elite New England prep school. Riveting for its honesty and straightforward storytelling, the book opens a window into what happens when a black girl from an educated family enters such hallowed halls.

Since its founding, America has been fertile ground for conspiracy beliefs. While every generation produces rumor-mongers, today we anoint them with special powers through social media.

Anna Merlan, a journalist at Gizmodo Media Group, explores our contemporary fixation with conspiracy theories of all political stripes in Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power. Throughout the book, she reports from gatherings of people whose beliefs are both extreme and false.

Can a writer put visual art on the page? Or render a visual artist's creative impulses into words?

Now, Now, Louison is Jean Frémon's freewheeling effort to do so. Frémon — lawyer, writer and gallery owner — inhabits artist Louise Bourgeois as if she herself were writing this novel-cum-memoir. Elegantly translated by Cole Swensen, Now, Now, Louison portrays a woman whose mind never rests, whose capacious memory serves as a bottomless source of artistic inspiration.

Who Killed My Father, by French writer Édouard Louis (lyrically translated by Lorin Stein), is a brief, poetic telling of the myriad ways societal contempt, homophobia, and poverty can kill a man.

Following Louis' autobiographical novel, The End of Eddy, this book is a deeply personal meditation: a gay man speaking to a father mired in toxic masculinity, whose absence is louder than his presence, but who ultimately finds love and understanding — even respect — for that same son.