"Feel Free" by Zadie Smith is published by Penguin Press.

"Feel Free" by Zadie Smith is published by Penguin Press. Credit: Penguin Press

FEEL FREE: Essays, by Zadie Smith. The British novelist (“White Teeth,” “Swing Time”) is also a sharp essayist and cultural observer. Included here are considerations of Justin Bieber, dancers (Janet Jackson / Madonna / Beyoncé), film (“Get Out”), books (“The Buddha of Suburbia”) and more. (Penguin Press, $28)

THE LINE BECOMES A RIVER: Dispatches From the Border, by Francisco Cantú. What’s it like to work as a United States Border Patrol agent? This memoir, by a Mexican-American who grew up in Arizona, recalls his eye-opening and challenging tenure from 2008 to 2012. (Riverhead, $26)

THE WHICH WAY TREE, by Elizabeth Crook. Set in post-Civil War Texas, this exuberant novel is narrated by 17-year-old Benjamin Shreve, whose younger half-sister Samantha is obsessed with the wild panther that killed her mother, a former slave. Benjamin’s voice has echoes of “Huckleberry Finn”, while the girl’s pursuit of the deadly cat recalls “True Grit.” (Little, Brown; $26)

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