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J: A Novel

It’s never dull and always has the reader turning the pages. It ask us to look ourselves and who we are and our place in the world.


Hitler's First Victims: The Quest for Justice

Hitler’s First Victims is meticulously researched and highly respectful of the victims described and the man behind the argument of collective guilt.


The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books

The Republic of Imagination is at its best with Nafisi's vociferous arguments for the importance of literature.


A Possibility of Violence

This is a fairly straightforward story, undramatic but compelling.


Land of Dreams

Land of Dreams is a nice close to Ellie's tale but I do recommend reading at least City of Hope beforehand.


Nobody's Child

Nobody's Child is a moving read, at once both the personal story of Adie and her interviewees, and also a damning account of the difficulties foundlings have faced, and still continue to face. It's a book to make you angry, but also one filled with hope.


The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock

The Art of the English Murder is a great way to sit down and reflect on the ever-changing novel and society’s influence on those changes.


Lila

Lila might not quite match Gilead or Housekeeping, but it’s a gentle, peaceful read nonetheless.


Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus

Mr. Quammen — like the journalist Laurie Garrett in her illuminating and encyclopedic book “The Coming Plague” — shows in these pages that the reality of the virus is horrifying without any apocalyptic embellishment.


Florence Gordon

He manages to be moving without ever being sappy, showing how people can affect each other deeply while remaining stubbornly — wonderfully — themselves.


Painted Horses

Brooks may have begun his writing career by playing the copycat. But this masterful book? This one’s all his own.


Not My Father's Son

There is no discounting the visceral punch of Cumming’s father-son face-offs, but one wishes the author had devoted a portion of “Not My Father’s Son” to exploring the roots of his father’s pathology.


All Fall Down: A Novel

The topic of addiction and the terrible consequences it can lead to was not glossed over, but it was handled very sensibly in All Fall Down.


Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

“Everything I Never Told You” is a beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief.


A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

It is a testament to McBride’s erudite yet brazen originality that the novel can thoughtfully speak back to some of the great texts of Western literature, while at the same time reading as though it were created entirely out of thin air.


World Order

Here, I think, he comes closest to admonishing his fellow realists, and even himself, against the hubris that diplomacy invites and engenders. The challenge for the rest of us is to sift the wisdom in his formidable oeuvre from its diplomatic double-talk, self-justification, and despair.


Goodhouse

This reader was spellbound by Goodhouse — by its grim illustrations, its unrelenting pressure, and its central proclamation: to sate its own anxieties, society will sacrifice vulnerable bodies in any way it sees fit.


The Reef: A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change

An impassioned book, an admirer’s argument about what needs to be cherished as much as a scholar’s history of how the Reef came to be understood.


A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel

Killings is James’s third book, and by now it is clear that historical fiction is his métier, and that the workings of history within fiction and how fiction can work as history are very much on his mind.