History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu,

By Joshua Hammer

Part travelogue, part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract and part thriller, Hammer tells the remarkable story of the librarian who oversaw a plot to smuggle ancient manuscripts out of Timbuktu, Mali, in an effort to save them from war.

Simon & Schuster

Review: Meet ‘The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu’



By Annie Proulx

By drilling deep into the forests that enabled this country to conquer the world, Proulx has laid out the whole history of American capitalism and its rapacious destruction of the land.


Review: Annie Proulx’s long-awaited, spectacular new novel ‘Barkskins’


The Book of Harlan

By Bernice L. McFadden

A miraculous story about a pair of jazz musicians who travel from Harlem to Paris just before the Nazi occupation.


Review: Bernice L. McFadden’s ‘The Book of Harlan’ is simply miraculous


Bucky F*&ing Dent

By David Duchovny

Set in 1970s New York amid one of baseball’s most famous pennant races, the “X-Files” star’s second novel traces a rite of passage: a son coming to grips with a distant father who has only a few months to live.

Farrar Straus Giroux

Review: David Duchovny’s hilarious new novel hits a home run

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Caped Crusade

By Glen Weldon

How does one comic-book character remain so consistently intriguing to so many people over eight decades? A look at the history of Batman.

Simon & Schuster

Review: Holy longevity, Batman! This crusader has staying power.

Mysteries & Thrillers

End of Watch

By Stephen King

The finale to the trilogy that began with “Mr. Mercedes,” this grimly entertaining tale follows the diabolical machinations of a villain thought to be in a vegetative state but who is in fact masterminding a fiendish plan to fool people into killing themselves. Can he be stopped?


Review: Stephen King’s ‘End of Watch’: This summer’s undeniable page-turner


Engines of Liberty

By David Cole

When courts fail to protect our rights, citizen advocacy groups step in, as this book shows, and produce sometimes stunning constitutional changes.


Review: Who leads constitutional change: Community advocates or the Supreme Court?


Everybody’s Fool

By Richard Russo

This big-hearted, often hilarious sequel to “Nobody’s Fool” finds police chief Douglas Raymer trying to track down his late wife’s lover.


Review: ‘Everybody’s Fool’ by Richard Russo: A wry, bittersweet sequel to ‘Nobody’s Fool’

History, Current Event & Pop Culture


By Matthew Desmond

An extraordinary feat of reporting and ethnography, Desmond has made it impossible to again consider poverty in America without tackling the central role of housing — and the demise of opportunity and of hope that occurs when people are forced to leave their homes.


Review: If you lose your home, you lose everything else, too


Exit Right

By Daniel Oppenheimer

What causes a liberal to swing to the right? Here are the stories of six 20th-century intellectuals, politicians and journalists who underwent jarring transformations.

Simon & Schuster

Review: Could you trade in your political beliefs for their exact opposite? These six people did.

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Firebrand and the First Lady

By Patricia Bell-Scott

A fascinating portrait of the unusual friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and a young black activist named Pauli Murray, who went on to become an influential lawyer, Episcopal minister, writer and co-founder of the National Organization for Women.


Review: The little-known black activist who captured a first lady’s attention

Mysteries & Thrillers


By Michael M. Thomas

Thomas, a former partner at Lehman Brothers, spins an audacious financial thriller based on real-life events — the 2008 financial crisis — that features cameos by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The novel juxtaposes the ideals of loyalty, service, patriotism and noblesse oblige against the venality of contemporary Wall Street.


Review: ‘Fixers’: A financial thriller with cameos by Hillary Clinton and Obama

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Gene: An Intimate History

By Siddhartha Mukherjee

A thorough and thought-provoking biography of the gene: its science, the scientists who study it and the controversies that have spun from our understanding of it.

Simon & Schuster

Review: When we unlock the secrets of our genes, what do we do with that knowledge?


The Girls

By Emma Cline

A woman looks back on her involvement with a Charles Manson-like cult.

Random House

Review: ‘The Girls,’ by Emma Cline: Charles Manson, reimagined

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Gunning of America

By Pamela Haag

A fascinating exploration of the major businesses and families that have manufactured firearms — and manufactured the seductiveness of firearms — in this country over the past 150 years.


Review: Guns in America were no big deal, until big business made us love them


Heat & Light

By Jennifer Haigh

A Pennsylvania town is torn apart by the dirty business of fracking.


Review: ‘Heat & Light’ is the best fracking novel ever

Mysteries & Thrillers

A Hero of France

By Alan Furst

In his 14th novel, Furst captures the dangers and intrigue of the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris. Showcasing Furst’s perfect pacing, eloquent prose style and meticulous research, the book is a masterly tale of espionage and historical fiction.

Random House

Review: Review: Alan Furst's 'A Hero of France' lacks intensity


The Highest Glass Ceiling

By Ellen Fitzpatrick

Before Hillary, there were Victoria, Margaret and Shirley. The presidential campaigns of Victoria Woodhull, Margaret Chase Smith and Shirley Chisholm hail from another era — but has much really changed?


Review: Clinton is following the frustrated efforts of earlier female candidates



By Clara Parkes

Parkes, who fled a job in high tech and launched an online magazine, Knitter’s Review, here she shares her travels through the world of knitting, from Iceland to Paris and Portland.

Stewart, Tabori and Chang

Review: ‘Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World’ review

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

Lab Girl

By Hope Jahren

The story of a girl who becomes a scientist, the book is also the story of a career and the endless struggles over funding, recognition and politics that get in the way. It is also really the story of two lab partners and their uncommon bond.


Review: A scientist’s uncommon bond with her odd lab-partner-for-life



By Louise Erdrich

When a man accidentally kills his neighbor’s 5-year-old son, he tries to make amends by turning over his own boy to the grieving parents.


Review: Louise Erdrich’s ‘LaRose’: A gun accident sets off a masterly tale of grief and love


Modern Lovers

By Emma Straub

Like her 2014 novel “The Vacationers,” Straub’s witty book has a warm-weather vibe, even if it is set in the less idyllic, if beautifully gentrified, Brooklyn. Here a group of friends from college, now nearing 50, are forced to take a hard look at their relationships.


Review: Review: Emma Straub’s delightful new novel, ‘Modern Lovers’


A Mother’s Reckoning

By Sue Klebold

Seventeen years after Columbine shooting, the mother of Dylan Klebold tells her story.


Review: Columbine killer’s mother: ‘The greatest mercy I could pray for was . . . for his death’


My Name is Lucy Barton

By Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton wakes in the hospital to find her estranged mother at the foot of her bed. For the next five nights, she sits in a chair and tells Lucy stories about her past.

Random House

Review: Elizabeth Strout’s ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ review


The Nest

By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Just before the Plumb siblings are about to cash in the trust fund that will solve all their problems, they discover it’s been almost completely depleted. A comic novel about familiar greed and affection.


Review: ‘The Nest’ review: What happens when that nest egg cracks?

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

One in a Billion

By Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher

A riveting account of a medical team’s frantic search for the genetic error threatening a little boy’s life. What they found proved that it was possible to use a person’s genes to diagnose and treat a previously unknown disease and helped usher in the use of genome sequencing for people with unusual disorders.

Simon & Schuster

Review: A boy’s mysterious illness, a bold gamble and a breakthrough in genetic medicine


Republic of Spin

By David Greenberg

The merging of public relations and politics gave us presidential spin and, ever since, the electorate’s head has been spinning — trying to sort fact from hype.


Review: How presidents manipulate the media and the public

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Romanovs

By Simon Sebag Montefiore

Drawing on a wide array of Russian sources, Sebag Montefiore paints an unforgettable portrait of characters fascinating and charismatic, odd and odious.


Review: The Romanovs: fascinating, odd and odious



By Lindy West

Part memoir, part manifesto and social critique, West has memorably taken on fat-shaming, rape jokes and men who harass women under the guise of Internet free speech.


Review: Lindy West’s ‘Shrill’ is an eloquent chronicle of the costs of activism

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

Stamped from the Beginning

By Ibram Kendi

In this engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America, Kendi hunts for racist ideas, stretching back to the 15th century, sometimes finding them in unexpected places.

Nation Books

Review: The racism of good intentions


The Summer Before the War

By Helen Simonson

Anglophiles mourning the end of “Downton Abbey” will find solace in this novel that begins in pre-World War I England and deftly observes the effect of war on the staid Edwardian sensibilities of the coastal village of Rye.

Random House

Review: A novel to cure your ‘Downton Abbey’ withdrawal: ‘The Summer Before the War’

History, Current Event & Pop Culture

The Sun & the Moon & the Rolling Stones

By Rich Cohen

Rich Cohen approaches the Stones from two perspectives — as the kid discovering the group from glorious sounds emerging from his older brother’s room and a young magazine writer, backstage as he works his way into the good graces of the aging rockers.

Spiegel & Grau

Review: Grappling with the Rolling Stones, the greatest band that ever sold out


Switched On

By John Elder Robison

Robison, who has Asperger’s syndrome, chronicles his rich emotional life following a scientific experiment on his brain. Exhilarated but chastened, Robison delivers an account that is both poignant and scientifically important.

Spiegel & Grau

Review: What it’s like for someone with Asperger’s suddenly to connect with the world


What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

By Helen Oyeyemi

A series of loosely connected, magically tinged tales about personal and social justice. Built around the idea of keys, locks and magic doors, the stories cover a wide territory — from mythology and fairy tales to smartphones and YouTube stars.


Review: Best science fiction and fantasy this month


When Breath Becomes Air

By Paul Kalanithi

Written by a young neurosurgeon as he faced a terminal cancer diagnosis, this memoir is inherently sad. Still, this moving and thoughtful tale of family, medicine and literature is well worth the emotional investment.

Random House

Review: ‘When Breath Becomes Air’: Young doctor’s last words of wisdom, hope

Mysteries & Thrillers

Wilde Lake

By Laura Lippman

A new case dredges up painful memories for Luisa (Lu) Brant, the new state’s attorney of Howard County, Maryland. In what feels like Lippman’s most personal novel, the book is as much a legal drama as it is tale of childhood and family life.


Review: ‘Wilde Lake,’ one of Laura Lippman’s finest novels, feels personal


The Year of the Runaways

By Sunjeev Sahota

“The Year of the Runaways” is essentially “The Grapes of Wrath” for the 21st century. By following a handful of young Indian men in England, Sahota has captured the plight of millions of desperate people struggling to find work, to eke out some semblance of a decent life in a world increasingly closed-fisted and mean.


Review: ‘The Year of the Runaways’ review: ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ for the 21st century

Editors’ picks

10 novels we’re looking forward to this summer and fall

From Ann Patchett to Colson Whitehead, the second half of 2016 looks rich with great stories.

Which cruise ship library is right for you?

Pamper yourself in these elegant drawing rooms at sea with thousands of books to choose from.

Terry McMillan remembers the book that spoke to her one summer

‘Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations’ opened up a world of thoughts and feelings.

Jojo Moyes talks about the big-screen version of ‘Me Before You’

What inspired her, what she left out — and why.

The best new audiobooks for your summer vacation

Fine voice actors and engrossing plots help these works come to life.

Gorgeous photo books will draw you out to the beach or up into the trees

Brace yourself. Jim Heimann’s monumental ‘Surfing’ weighs 16 pounds.

How to cultivate a childhood reading habitat

Forget the checklist! Talk to your children and let them read books that interest them.