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The Master of the Prado: A Novel

Sierra's triumph is to have forged a novel that instructs so easily and deliciously (yes, there are footnotes, but they're easily ignored if you're uninterested) you'll feel enriched however you read it.

Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River at the Borderlands of Empires

In this overexamined world, it's nice to know there are outer reaches that we can discover afresh.

The Mare: A Novel

The Mare is a raw, beautiful story about love and mutual delusion, in which the fierce erotics of mother love and romantic love and even horse fever are swirled together

Memory Theater

The result feels all too short and occasionally forced, but yes, it's always memorable. The book is well worth the afternoon it'll take to read — and the lingering questions it'll leave with you long afterward.

And Yet...: Essays

“And Yet …,” a very good new collection of Mr. Hitchens’s work previously unpublished in book form, includes a “Bah, humbug” for the ages in the form of two Christmas-skewering essays, one composed for Slate and the other for The Wall Street Journal.

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs

What emerges is an imaginative and ambitious model of how we ended up where we are now.

Slade House: A Novel

Mitchell is as compulsive as ever, and even if you end up flinging his latest at the wall, you will have a good time first. Just don’t expect it to make any sense.

Dear Mr. You

The book is written in a smart, beguiling voice that is inextricably entwined with qualities that Ms. Parker radiates as an actress. There’s as much flintiness as reckless charm.

We That Are Left

Clark is genuinely insightful when she’s depicting people transformed and exposed by loss.


“Everland” unfolds two suspenseful dramas that confront profound themes.

The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939¿1945

The fact that one puts down this book wanting more testifies to the lightness with which it bears its enormous weight.

Mendocino Fire

When a writer can tell a story as beautifully, as thoroughly and with as much knowledge as Elizabeth Tallent possesses, no one should care.

The Gold Eaters: A Novel

“The Gold Eaters” tells the story of Spain’s battle for Peru through the eyes of the participants. Some, like the whiskery-eyebrowed monster Pizarro, were not only willing but also eager, and some, like Waman, had no choice.

Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

“Saving Capitalism” is loaded with broad proclamations, while at times frustratingly spare on the particulars.


Such scenes sparkle with period details and sensory impressions: all spectacle and shimmer, all gesture and pose, Baroque mask and mirror and role-play. Gardiner does this very well.

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

You come to Ms. Beard’s books to meet her as much as her subjects. They are idiosyncratic and offbeat, which is to say, pleasingly hers.

The Blue Touch Paper: A Memoir

What’s extraordinary about “The Blue Touch Paper” is how much intellection and drama and sensibility and wit Mr. Hare squeezes into the telling of his first three decades or so.

Thirteen Ways of Looking: Fiction

His fearlessness on the page somehow never reads as arrogance or presumption; one always has the sense it’s not himself he holds in such high regard, but rather his tradition, his office.

Numero Zero

It’s hard not to be charmed by the zest of the author.