New in Paperback: ‘Spying on Whales,’ ‘And Then We Danced’

New in Paperback: ‘Spying on Whales,’ ‘And Then We Danced’

SPYING ON WHALES: The Past, Present and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures, by Nick Pyenson. (Penguin, $17.) This natural history of whales and their 50-million-year evolution also offers a vivid inside look at scientific passion in action. Pyenson, a curator of marine mammal fossils at the Smithsonian, conveys the thrill of the chase whether he’s hunting whale fossils in Peru or tagging baleens in Antarctica.

AND THEN WE DANCED: A Voyage Into the Groove, by Henry Alford. (Simon & Schuster, $17.) The humorist Alford elegantly combines personal history, insights into the emotional and social psychology of dance, and trenchant portraits of greats like Isadora Duncan and Savion Glover. Our reviewer, Misty Copeland, praised the book and its “heartwarming and hilarious” storytelling.

HALF GODS by Akil Kumarasamy. (Picador, $17.) The characters in this debut story collection, set in the long shadow of the Sri Lankan civil war, witness unthinkable brutality and suffer catastrophic losses. Writing with a style our reviewer, Tania James, called “lyrical and affecting,” Kumarasamy shows the tender moments and intimate gestures through which traumatized people piece their shattered lives back together.

THE POISONED CITY: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, by Anna Clark. (Picador, $18.) The horrifying story of how the mostly African-American citizens of Flint, Mich., found their water supply tainted by lead and other toxins gets a thorough treatment in this meticulous, sobering book. Starting with segregated housing policies imposed on the city in the 1920s and moving through officials’ criminal neglect and cover-ups of wrongdoing, Clark traces the inevitable racial underpinnings of a deadly health crisis.

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