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Preparation for the Next Life

Atticus Lish’s first novel, “Preparation for the Next Life,” is unlike any American fiction I’ve read recently in its intricate comprehension of, and deep feeling for, life at the margins.


Napoleon: A Life

Roberts brilliantly conveys the sheer energy and presence of Napoleon the organizational and military whirlwind who, through crisp and incessant questioning, sized up people and problems and got things done.


Let Me Be Frank With You

If the trilogy of novels supplied the bangety bangety bangety, “Let Me Be Frank With You” provides the boop.


Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Perhaps Bolger poses the wrong question. Perhaps instead of asking “Who is the enemy?” he should be asking “What is the aim?” What is the United States trying to achieve in the greater Middle East, and to what extent can military power contribute to that enterprise?


More Awesome Than Money: Four Boys and Their Heroic Quest to Save Your Privacy from Facebook

Again and again, the book shows how women are sidelined even as their work is vital to the operation. While the Diaspora team members were combating what they saw as the exploitative practices of Facebook, they were reproducing old problems in new forms.


Thrown

“Thrown” is compulsively readable, informative, hilarious and partly true. It is also a ferocious dissection of the essence of the spectator.


The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931

With only a few years to go until then, we are still reckoning with the awful aftershocks of that era’s failures.


Revival: A Novel

Older and wiser each time he writes, Mr. King has moved on from the physical fear that haunted him after he was struck by a van while out walking to a more metaphysical, universal terror. He writes about things so inevitable that he speaks to us all.


Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

In “Man Alive,” his new autobiography, McBee enlarges the study from a series of vignettes into a full, poetic narrative.


Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones

Though Mr. Trynka sometimes overstates Jones’s long-term cultural impact, his is revisionist history of the best kind — scrupulously researched and cogently argued — and should be unfailingly interesting to any Stones fan.


How to Breathe Underwater: Field Reports from an Age of Radical Change

He’s a prescient writer, and he knows what it means to be ambitious, eager, and full of potential. He knows what it means to grow up too.


Being Mortal

Widespread and lasting change in our attitudes to being mortal is possible. Maybe Gawande, who wields outsized cultural influence, can trigger it. In the meantime, I’ll be inviting myself over to my parents’ place for dinner this weekend.


The Slow Regard of Silent Things

There’s a sense that Rothfuss has chosen every one of those words with great care and precision, using them to tell a story that’s lyrical, heart-felt and unique.


Miracle Girls

One gets the sense Caschetta offers her readers an idealized version of the Catholic church as a safe-haven for all people, and where strict interpretation of the Bible goes both ways. I'm not sure this utopia is actually attainable, but within the world of Miracle Girls, you can almost believe it.


All My Puny Sorrows

“Sadness is what holds our bones in place,” Yoli thinks. Toews deepens our understanding of the pain found in Coleridge's poetry, which is the source of the book’s title.


Bad Country

There’s nothing out there quite like Bad Country. As a mystery, as a setting, and as a view on culture, it’s harsh.


A Brief History of Seven Killings: A Novel

A Brief History is, with dozens of characters and motives, impressively dizzying. Ultimately, it's also a beautiful mess.


Let Me Be Frank With You

It is, by turns, smart, annoying, funny, obnoxious and honest. In other words, it's a Richard Ford book.


In a Handful of Dust

In A Handful of Dust is the way YA dystopia was meant to be done.