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Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé

Think of the book as an encyclopedia in narrative form, one shaped by the author's subjective, sometimes contrarian taste.


Song of the Shank

"Song of the Shank" feels like a kind of exercise in deep thought and immersion in Tom's uniquely bizarre experience and the cruel history he was forced to live.


The Hundred-Year House

In this literary but unpretentious book, Makkai has created a juicy and moving story of art and love and the luck it takes for either to last.


White Beech: The Rainforest Years

What Greer is saying is it is not posterity that defines us but rather history — history as continuum, in which the future is not open-ended but an extension of the past.


Dept. of Speculation

Dept of Speculation is a wonderful novel about getting older and losing that brief and mostly illusory freedom that children believe all adults enjoy.


What Strange Creatures

I found What Strange Creatures to be a fairly light and quick read with the kind of plot and characters that will appeal to a wide array of readers from book clubbers to mystery fans.


California: A Novel

I wish it were possible to get amnesia so I could read California again and again.


The Victorian City

Flanders tells the epic story of this biggest and boldest Victorian city in all its complexity, with verve, color and a straightforward approach to language that still manages to give a voice to ordinary Londoners — something Dickens would no doubt approve of.


Red or Dead: A Novel

As both postmodern epic and ultimate sports novel, “Red or Dead” is a winner.


Proof: The Science of Booze

Just as drinkers vary in their responses to liquor, so readers will vary in their tolerance for Mr. Rogers’s pert, gee-whiz tone.


Annihilation

Annihilation is the first of a trilogy, so there may well be more answers ahead. There will definitely be more mysteries.


I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is an awkward first novel, but if it weren’t it would somehow be disingenuous to its own literary ambitions of embracing the mess of our lives and welcoming it into our homes, calling the mess a work of art.


California: A Novel

Lepucki places enough breadcrumbs along the way that the truly dramatic revelations aren’t particularly surprising, but that lack of suspense doesn’t make the story any less affecting.


The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

The Mockingbird Next Door gives a sense of how attached Harper Lee is to the town and the culture that she has long inhabited.


When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomed

This is an ambitious debut but Greenburg handles his material well, not letting his research overwhelm the drama.


My Two Italies

In his elegant, thoughtful new memoir, My Two Italies, he writes of watching his father and uncle carve up an entire goat, make wine, and hold a meeting of brothers to determine the fate of an uncle's unfaithful wife.


The Book of Unknown Americans

She should have let us get to know a few of the unknown Americans here, without twisting their story into a political parable, and without trying to tell everyone's story at once.


Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture

The complexity and scale of the subject gives rise to the book's weaknesses – the cities of an entire continent make a big subject for a medium-sized book, and any one of the projects McGuirk describes could justify a volume of its own.


Bad Banks