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Winter Journal
By Paul Auster
(Henry Holt and Co., $26)

Paul Auster’s novels are mesmerizing reverie, often chilly to the touch yet exploding with exponential warmth on deeper consideration. The same can be said for Winter Journal, a new memoir that comes three decades after his first, The Invention of Solitude. Here, Auster surveys the physical, emotional and spiritual landscapes of his life, then deconstructs these touchstones one unreliable memory at a time. Deeply musical, often darkly funny ruminations on baseball, becoming a middle-aged orphan after his mother’s passing, the enduring power of love, and an intimate history of his own body’s pains and pleasures weave together to confirm that while no one gets out of this world alive, each moment can be transcendent.

Out of Context
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“Your duties to your neighbor, both legal and ethical, trump your right to enjoy even the most magnificent hardwood. Even oak.” 

Be Good: How to Navigate the Ethics of Everything
By Randy Cohen
(Chronicle Books, $25)
Page 46