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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel

This is the kind of blah surrealism for which Mr. Murakami is so beloved by his fans, who will go to any lengths to justify why a minor book like “Colorless Tsukuru” still has the author’s special je ne sais quoi.


One Plus One: A Novel

One Plus One may be all formula, but it’s a tried and true equation that reminds us that all sorts of people can add up to a happy family.


We Are Not Ourselves: A Novel

Matthew Thomas’s devastating debut novel, “We Are Not Ourselves,” does not trumpet the fact that it’s an honest, intimate family story with the power to rock you to your core.


Tigerman: A novel

This fantastic book deserves to be widely read and long remembered.


Lucky Us: A Novel

Lucky Us comes to a satisfying conclusion that reinforces the themes of family — the kind you create, not necessarily the kind you are born with — and optimism that a new day brings new opportunities.


The Magician's Land: A Novel

A huge part of the pleasure of this trilogy in general and this volume in particular is that, even as we consume the story just to find out what happens to Quentin, we know that we are collaborating in our own versions of its creation, its animation. The reader gets to be a magician, too.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki has a strong storyline and sharply drawn characters whose motives are ambiguous: a perfect introduction to Murakami’s world, where questions of guilt and motivation abound, and the future is an open question.


A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

This is the latest of a series of Macintyre’s superb reconstructions of classic tales about British intelligence.


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Thorpe avoids editorializing, but she subtly constructs a body of often-incriminating evidence around hot-button topics such as gender discrimination and sexual assault in the military and American intervention.


The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

The camera is brutally honest and unforgiving in Perlstein’s hands. Expect no balance from this author, who never attempts to hide his liberal bias.


In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

An accomplished historian with a storyteller’s soul, Hampton Sides is at the top of his game with his latest book, In the Kingdom of Ice.


Your Face in Mine: A Novel

There’s some Jonathan Lethem in Mr. Row’s street-level awareness of culture, popular and otherwise. There’s some Saul Bellow in his needling intelligence.


In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

“In the Kingdom of Ice” is a harrowing story well told, but it is more than just that.


Timeless

By writing this affecting book, however, Lucinda Franks has made their love story permanent.


Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - And Helped Save an American Town

In this, her first book, Macy’s passion and enthusiasm are palpable on every page, but more judicious editing would have given the tale greater clarity and narrative power, and made the heroes and villains more alive on the page.


Last Stories and Other Stories

I don’t really believe this is Vollmann’s last book. But if it were, it would be a happy ending to a phenomenal body of work.


Before, During, After

If “Before, During, After” is a literary rendition of “Can this marriage be saved?” it’s also an elegantly constructed novel in which the catastrophic destruction of two monumental structures provides the backdrop to the fracture and crumbling of smaller couples.


Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel

In some ways, “Wayfaring Stranger” feels almost too big for a novel as big as Texas, too portentous, too invested in its own mythic significance. But in other crucial ways, it feels exactly the right size.


One Kick: A Novel

“One Kick” is well engineered and fast-paced, and its troubling subject matter is suggested rather than spelled out, avoiding gratuitous horror.


Everything I Never Told You: A Novel

This is, in the end, a novel about the burden of being the first of your kind — a burden you do not always survive.