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What to read this week: New books by Ian McEwan, Dianne Hales, and Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis

"La Passione" by Dianne Hales (Crown Archetype, April 2019) Photo Credit: Crown Archetype

MACHINES LIKE ME, by Ian McEwan. The latest novel from the author of "Nutshell," and "The Children Act" is set in an alternative 1980s England where the narrator, Charlie, is able to purchase a "synthetic human," or robot, named "Adam" for £86,000. But when Adam warns Charlie about his girlfriend, Miranda — and falls in love with her, too — Charlie finds his acquisition may be even costlier than he thought. (Doubleday, $26.95)

LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World, by Dianne Hales. "Imagine a world without Italy," Hales writes in this effervescent love letter to all things Italian. "Painting without Leonardo. Sculpture without Michelangelo. Literature without Dante. No Verdi choruses or Puccini arias." No pasta or pizza, either? No, grazie! Hales traverses the boot, highlighting Italy's abundant gifts to the world. (Crown Archetype, $26)

DEFYING HITLER: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule, by Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis. Were the Germans of the 1930s and '40s "Hitler's Willing Executioners," in Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's memorable phrase? This important book offers alternative profiles in courage — portraits of the ordinary men and women who resisted Hitler, aided Jews and spied for the Allies during the dark days of World War II. (Caliber, $30)

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