DOUBLE HAPPINESS: Stories. By Mary-Beth Hughes. (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, paper, $14.) Hughes likes to juxtapose her characters’ relative passivity with the knife edge of evil within or, more often, outside them.
LISA ROBERTSON’S MAGENTA SOUL WHIP. By Lisa Robertson. (Coach House, paper, $14.95.) In these intellectual poems, the experimental curtains suddenly part to reveal clear, durable truth.
THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS. By Rebecca Skloot. (Crown, $26.) Skloot untangles the ethical issues in the case of a woman who unknowingly donated cancer cells that have been the basis for a vast amount of research.
SOMETHING RED. By Jennifer Gilmore. (Scribner, $25.) Gilmore’s contemplative second novel explores the lost ideals and lingering illusions of a family once politically committed to bettering the world.