There is special pleasure in pawing through books before they publish and imagining the insights they'll bring. Consider the years of work and accumulated wisdom that have gone into producing the 116 that follow. Here is a treasure trove of knowledge, from a chronicle of the White House war room to the artistry of Marc Chagall. Here, too, is a world of the imagination, from the slave trade as conjured by Toni Morrison to the nervous '50s with Philip Roth. This is but a mere fragment, a scattered sampling of what's in store for our readers as we head into the busiest season of the year.