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The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century

If you only read one work of history this summer (and, believe me, it will take you all of a very long summer), then The Transformation of the World should definitely be it.


On the Rocks

On the Rocks is hilarious!


One Hundred Names

One Hundred Names is the type of story that deceives with its simple plot and eclectic cast.


The Taking

Reading The Taking was fun because there’s so much action and suspense.


American Smoke

In his final pages, Sinclair recognizes how much the Americanness of his favorite writers will always elude him. “Their intensities would never be mine.” No matter. Sinclair’s own intensities — as evidenced in this book — are just as crazed, just as magnificent.


Natchez Burning

“Natchez Burning” obliterates the artificial distinction between genre and literary fiction with passion, grace and considerable style. This is Greg Iles at his formidable best. It’s good to have him back.


The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death

“The Noble Hustle” is a valiant, often successful effort to overcome the dullness of vicarious gambling (and maybe suspicions about a bloated magazine piece).


The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

Easterly offers no hands-on solutions, no concrete programs, no manual for dispensing the development community’s largesse. His message is simple: Before you offer a helping hand, look hard at the core beliefs that brought you good fortune.


All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

I’m not sure I will read a better novel this year than Anthony ­Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See.”


Somebody Up There Hates You: A Novel

Richard has a unique way of looking at life and a solid voice. I’m looking forward to reading more of Seamon’s books.


The Last Wild

This is a book that causes one to question human impact on the environment and what we can do to be good stewards of the planet.


Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest

The ultimate wedding party favor is a good story. Doll has several.


Family Life: A Novel

A lot of drama, perhaps too much, gets compressed into a short space.


Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

There is something in this book for everyone and you’ll have a different outlook of how you walk into the doors to your job every morning, I know I did.


The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel

The book was absorbing and entertaining, with strong characterization and beautiful descriptions of people and places


The Telling Error

The Telling Error is a brilliant book, which I urge you to read. If you're anything like me, you'll devour it in just a few hours, so make sure you have no plans when you start reading.


James Madison: A Life Reconsidered

Cheney’s biography is lucidly written (her description of the Madisons’ actions during the burning of the buildings in the capital in 1814 is especially dramatic), and she clearly brings to life the character and personality of Madison.


Congo

Van Reybrouck offers one of the most extraordinary African stories I have come across in recent years.


Louisa Catherine: The Other Mrs. Adams

Readers will nonetheless be grateful for this fascinating, if partial, portrait of an exceptional woman, and regret that its talented author fell ­silent too soon.


The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

A region on the mend has found its voice, and he’s wearing an ironic bowling shirt — with his actual name embroidered on the patch.