Nellie Bly, Notice

The New York Times Book Review: New & Noteworthy, March 25, 2018

March 20, 2018


New this week:

FIRED UP! READY TO GO! By Peggy Cooper Cafritz. (Rizzoli, $75.) Cafritz, who founded the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, amassed one of the country’s most important collections of work by artists of color. Among the striking examples here are pieces by Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley and Carrie Mae Weems. IRIS APFEL By Iris Apfel. (HarperDesign, $35.) It’s hard to resist this self-proclaimed “geriatric starlet.” With her owlish glasses, loud prints and necklaces upon necklaces, even in her 90s, Apfel is a fashion icon who combines a memoir with photos of the vibrant content of her closets. HOW TO SLAY By Constance C. R. White. (Rizzoli, $55.) White explores the rich history of African-American style and taste, from Josephine Baker and Diana Ross to Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o. Through text and image, she tells a long story, arguing for the centrality of African-Americans in fashion. DRESS LIKE A WOMAN. (Abrams Image, $24.99.) What do women wear when they go to work, whether firefighter, surgeon, astronaut, soldier or judge? That’s the guiding question of this collection, which includes introductory essays by Roxane Gay and The Times’s fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman. THIS IS M. SASEK By Olga Cerna, Pavel Ryska and Martin Salisbury. (Universe, $29.95.) The eventful life of Miroslav Sasek, the beloved children’s book illustrator who created the “This Is” series, is explored here through documents, book covers and his own whimsical paintings.


In which we ask colleagues at The Times what they’re reading now.

“After attending a journalism award ceremony in November named for Nellie Bly, I realized I knew little about Bly, a reporter who became an international sensation in the 1880s, when female journalists typically covered only fashion and society. So I escaped into the past, reading NELLIE BLY, an acclaimed 1994 biography by Brooke Kroeger, and then Bly’s actual stories, filled with stunts and derring-do. Self-trained, Bly was not a master craftswoman: Her writing could flirt both with tedium and turgidity. Some stories seemed more truthy than truthful. But what stories! By the time she turned 26, Bly had gone undercover as a mental patient in New York, exposed corruption in the state capital and traveled the world in 72 days, a great feat at the time. She changed that world in small ways and opened the door for other women to follow. Not bad, for a girl reporter.”

— Kim Barker, reporter, investigations desk