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Nipsey Hussle bio, ‘Decoding Despacito,’ a dinosaur guide for kids and 6 more must-read new books

Other mini-reviews of books worth a read are from Gabriela Garcia, Joe Ide, Virgil Abloh, Hanif Abdurraqib and John Woodrow Cox. Plus ‘Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda.’

Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed later in 2019, performing in February 2019 in Los Angeles.
Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed later in 2019, performing in February 2019 in Los Angeles. Author Rob Kenner’s new biography of the hip-hop mogul and activist is titled “Marathon Don’t Stop.”
Getty Images

Here’s the lowdown on some recently released books that are worth a read.

‘Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle’ by Rob Kenner

Atria Books, nonfiction, $27

What it’s about: A biography of hip-hop mogul and activist Nipsey Hussle, who was shot to death in 2019.

The buzz: “A well-executed recognition of the dynamic presence and unrelenting impact of a hip-hop legend gone too soon,” Kirkus Reviews writes.

Click here for a sampling from Rob Kenner’s “Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle.”
Click for a sampling from Rob Kenner’s “Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle.”
Atria Books

‘Of Women and Salt’ by Gabriela Garcia

Flatiron Books, fiction, $26.99

What it’s about: A Cuban immigrant mother and daughter in Miami grapple with the daughter’s addiction and reckon with their family’s legacy — back to a 19th-century Cuban cigar factory.

The buzz: “A thoughtful portrait of women coming to terms with the difficult decisions they’ve made . . . and the betrayals they’ve committed,” Time says.

Gabriela Garcia’s “Of Women and Salt.” Flatiron Books

‘The Secrets of Dinosaurs’ by Zhao Chuang & Yang Yang

Brown Books Kids, children’s nonfiction, $24.95

What it’s about: A beautiful guide for dinosaur lovers ages 5 to 12.

The buzz: “Spread by spread, with astonishing pictures and engaging words, this presentation introduces dozens of different dinosaurs,” Kirkus Reviews writes.

“The Secrets of Dinosaurs” by Zhao Chuang and Yang Yang. Brown Books Kids

‘Smoke’ by Joe Ide

Mulholland Books, fiction, $28

What it’s about: The fifth mystery featuring the brilliant (and unlicensed) private investigator, who’s now on the run.

The buzz: “If you’ve read any of his other novels starring the rogue East Long Beach private investigator Isaiah Quintabe, known as ‘IQ,’ you know that Ide doesn’t write conventional suspense stories,” the Washington Post writes. “ ‘Smoke’ is a bizarre marvel, its narrative winding evil and preposterousness round and round.”

Click here for an excerpt from Joe Ide’s “Smoke.”
Click for an excerpt from Joe Ide’s “Smoke.”
Mulholland Books

“Decoding ‘Despacito’ ” by Leila Cobo

Vintage Books, nonfiction, $16.95

What it’s about: The history of Latin pop music — since 1970 anyway — told through the stories behind 19 songs, from “Feliz Navidad” in 1970 to “Malamente” by Rosalia in 2018.

The buzz: “An entertaining oral history of the songs that put Latin culture on the map,” Kirkus Reviews says.

Click here to hear an audio sampling of Leila Cobo’s “Decoding ‘Despacito.’ ”
Click here to hear an audio sampling of Leila Cobo’s “Decoding ‘Despacito.’ ”
Vintage Books

‘Abloh-isms’ by Virgil Abloh

Princeton University Press, nonfiction, $14.95

What it’s about: Quotations from the famed Chicago fashion designer / artist / fashion label CEO.

The buzz: “Virgil Abloh says the darndest, most illuminating things — enough in his young fashion career to fill a 160-page book,” WWD wrote.

“Abloh-isms.” Princeton University Press

‘Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda’ by various authors

Titan Books, fiction, $25.95

What it’s about: A collection of 18 short stories from Black authors including Nikki Giovanni, L.L. McKinney, Sheree Renée Thomas, Tananarive Due and Christopher Chambers.

The buzz: “What sets this anthology apart from other works on Wakanda, the fictional African country, is that it’s a compendium of prose, not comics,” USA Today writes. “And the authors have distinct writing styles honed from their respective disciplines, such as poetry, blogging, neuroscience and YA fiction.”

Eighteen authors contributed to “Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda,” edited by Jesse J. Holland.
Eighteen authors contributed to “Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda,” edited by Jesse J. Holland.
Titan Books

‘A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance’ by Hanif Abdurraqib

Random House, nonfiction, $27

What it’s about: Essays on Black artistic performance and how it’s woven into the fabric of American culture.

The buzz: “Abdurraqib’s luminous survey is stunning,” Publishers Weekly writes.

Click for an excerpt from “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib  .
Click for an excerpt from “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib .
Random House

‘Children Under Fire: An American Crisis’ by John Woodrow Cox

Ecco Books, nonfiction, $28.99

What it’s about: An account of the devastating impact of guns on children from the perspective of those affected by it.

The buzz: “Balancing sound research with moving profiles of victims and activists, Cox makes an impeccable case for how to solve the problem and why it’s essential to do so now,” Publishers Weekly writes.

Click for an excerpt from John Woodrow Cox’s “Children Under Fire: An American Crisis.”
Click for an excerpt from John Woodrow Cox’s “Children Under Fire: An American Crisis.”
Ecco Books

Contributing: USA Today