6 Must-Read Books from Times Book Review

1. PRE-GAME: Last year’s Nobel Prize in literature picked a woman, Sweden’s Cecilia Brannstrom, for her wise, poetic lament that life is so difficult that the best the human mind can do is waste…

6 Must-Read Books from Times Book Review

1. PRE-GAME: Last year’s Nobel Prize in literature picked a woman, Sweden’s Cecilia Brannstrom, for her wise, poetic lament that life is so difficult that the best the human mind can do is waste it in tortuous battle against imperatives that you can’t even see. Sexstruation, marriage, children. There’s a “Stop these things!” moment in almost every book of fiction, but Brannstrom has fresher – and funnier – take on the topic. “Sometimes things happen which we wish weren’t happening,” she writes. “But that’s how the world works, isn’t it?”

2. WHAT THE LAW REALLY WANTS: In 2012, dozens of women’s rights organizations signed on to a joint letter warning the Obama administration of the dangers of a federal law that would require women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound. One of the authors, lawyer Sandra Fluke, is taking her message to Capitol Hill. In a new book, Truth Ever Lies: Stories from the Center of America’s Fight for Freedom, she says that a new version of the federal “conscience clause” would push women in hospitals and clinics back even further into “the back-alley horrors of abortion.”

3. FASHION: The fashion mogul Kate Spade takes her death under investigation after her husband announced on Tuesday that she committed suicide. Before a playful first marriage to the poet Andy Warhol, she was a model, but Spade was about to become the face of the new handbag line she designed with her husband – and bestselling author.

4. GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?: A gunman in suburban Oakland, Calif., opened fire outside two mosques during Friday prayers, killing at least five and wounding at least a dozen others. The Islamic Society of Bay Area in Hercules issued a statement promising that “our community stands with its Muslim brothers and sisters” and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the suspect. Reports this week noted that nearly three-quarters of Muslims are Muslim immigrants, and there’s suspicion in the Muslim community that the Al-Hijrah mosque was targeted.

5. FUN TO DATE: Nicholas Roddle, a University of Chicago economist, has been updating the market in weddings for more than a decade, using thousands of newlywed couples in a large-scale survey of financial and family life. What does it mean for a modern marriage? Not a lot. Only about 50 percent of marriages survive a decade and 43 percent of marriages survive 20 years. But for those who do last, the financial prospects are often good. For example, about a third of newlyweds who got married in the late 1990s, when incomes of newlyweds were stagnant, are still married – and few even have reported any income declines over the past two decades.

6. A MOTHER LONELY: Maternal mortality rates are dropping worldwide, according to a new report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. But the progress is sluggish in low- and middle-income countries, as well as in developing and middle-income high-income countries. In the lower-income countries, maternal deaths have come down by only 32 percent, compared with a drop of 75 percent in high-income countries. In middle-income high-income countries, maternal deaths have come down by 38 percent.

TIME ENERGY TALK: A whole bunch of Bloomberg editors and writers will be on the New York Times’ chat site on Sunday, interviewing each other and talking about energy. News editor Rob Hof, health editor Jason Zengerle, metro editor Kevin Roose, real estate editor Jess Cagle, finance editor Jennifer Epstein, deputy economics editor Paul R. La Monica, market editor Kao Kwan Wong, editorial page editor Robin Toner, technology editor Joshua Green, environmental editor Megan McArdle, business and environment editor Noreen Malone, money editor Max Frankel, and editorial page editor James Bennet will be the go-to people for interesting real-time commentary. So bookmark @TimeEnergyTalk for an inside look at the thinking of the world’s most influential media publishers and their teams.

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