Six new paperbacks to check out this week.
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan. (Penguin, $18.) Yes, this is the book in which Pollan drops acid. Here, the author, known for his searching examinations of the ethics of eating, investigates how psychedelics can provide relief. His book was one of the Book Review’s 10 best of 2018.
SEVERANCE, by Ling Ma. (Picador, $17.) Candace, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, is the anchor of this dystopian novel as she falls into an unsatisfying and trance-like routine in New York City. As our reviewer, Antonia Hitchens, put it, the book “offers blatant commentary on ‘dizzying abundance’ and unrelenting consumption, evolving into a semi-surreal sendup of a workplace and its utopia of rules.”
THE ROAD TO UNFREEDOM: Russia, Europe, America, by Timothy Snyder. (Tim Duggan, $17.) Snyder considers what causes democracy to fracture, with a focus on recent political instability in the West. In his view, Russia and Vladimir Putin are to blame. Our reviewer, Margaret MacMillan, wrote that Snyder “argues forcefully and eloquently” that we are living in dangerous times, calling his book a “good wake-up call.”
THE GLITCH, by Elisabeth Cohen. (Anchor, $16.) Shelley is the chief executive of a tech company, and she’s ruthlessly efficient: She schedules sex with her husband, carves out “me time” at 3:30 a.m. and even takes a men’s multivitamin. When she encounters a woman who claims to be a younger Shelley, her life begins to unravel, raising broader questions about work and selfhood. “What is the ‘glitch,’ really, for the rest of us?” our reviewer, Stephanie Danler, asked. “It’s a question of work, and what it costs women to do it.”