New York Times 10 Best Books of 2014

The 10 Best Books of 2014, chosen by the New York Times from their annual list of 100 Notable Books.

The 10 Best Books of 2014, chosen by the New York Times from their annual list of 100 Notable Books.

FICTION

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (CD book)

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (audio download, eBook)

Euphoria by Lily King

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Redeployment by Phil Klay (eBook)

NONFICTION

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (CD book)

Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David by Lawrence Wright

Best Teen Books of 2014

Our friends over at Kirkus Reviews have published their list of the Best Teen Books of 2014. We are more than delighted to share this list with you! All quotes are from Kirkus Reviews.

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan. “A suspenseful and engaging series opener made all the more distinctive through its careful realization of setting. (Science fiction. 12 & up)

Never Ending by Martyn Bedford. “Beautiful and illuminating but as hard as therapy. (Fiction. 14-18)

Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi. “A top-shelf rendition of one of the greatest survival stories to come out of the Age of Exploration. (source list) (Graphic historical fiction. 10-16)

Heap House by Edward Carey. “Magnificently creepy. (Horror. 10-16)

The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson. “Smart, relevant, required reading. (author’s note, commentary, further reading) (Fiction. 13 & up)

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale. “Original and accessible, both an exuberant work of art and a uniquely valuable resource. (Anthology. 12-18)

A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne. “A smart, funny and emotionally engaging tale perfect for any reader who longs for another train ride to Hogwarts. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess. “A thoughtful exploration of identity and responsibility wrapped in a twisty, suspenseful mystery and set in a gorgeously realized fantasy world. (Fantasy/mystery. 12 & up)

Jesus Jackson by James Ryan Daley. “Smart and sweet, comforting and moving. (Fiction. 12-16)

Vango: Between Sky and Earth by Timothée de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone. “Beautiful writing, intricate plotting, and breathless reveals—plus several plucky female leads—make this a must-read. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Exquisite Captive: Book One of the Dark Caravan Cycle by Heather Demetrios. “Readers will wish they had a jinni to grant them the next book in the series. (Fantasy. 15 & up)

Earth Star by Janet Edwards. “Amaz—simply amaz. (Science fiction. 11-16)

Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman. “For high schools that assign one book for all students to read and discuss: This is the one. (source notes, bibliography, suggested resources, glossary, acknowledgements, image credits, index, website) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming. “A remarkable human story, told with clarity and confidence. (bibliography, Web resources, source notes, picture credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley. “Powerfully evocative. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank. “Riveting, humanizing and real. (Verse fiction. 13-17)

A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. “Deliberate at first, Hahn’s debut is cumulatively stunning. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer. “A sparkling, timely tour of the complicated intersection where life meets art. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann. “Full of razors that cut—and razors to cut off shackles: a must. (author’s note, index of first lines, index of photographs) (Poetry. 13-17)

Why We Took the Car by Wolfgang Herndorf, translated by Tim Mohr. “In his first novel translated into English, Herrndorf sits squarely and triumphantly at the intersection of literary tall tale and coming-of-age picaresque. (Fiction. 14-17)

The Devil’s Intern by Donna Hosie. “Just outstanding fun for those who enjoy snarky comedy and suspense. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell. “Funny, observant, a relentless critic of the world’s (and her own) flaws, Sky is original, thoroughly authentic and great company, decorating her astute, irreverent commentary with vivid Aussie references; chasing these down should provide foreign readers with hours of online fun. (Fiction. 14 & up)

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard. “As graceful as a feather drifting down, this lyrical story delivers a deep journey of healing on a tragic theme. (Fiction. 14-18)

Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson. “Utterly absorbing. (Suspense. 13 & up)

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston. “It may ‘[take] a village to train a dragon slayer,’ but it takes an exceptional dragon slayer to deserve a village—and a storyteller—like this one. (Fantasy. 12-18)

The Gospel of Winter by Brendan Kiely. “Often bleak, eventually hopeful and beautifully told. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)

Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan. “A gripping, highly original ghost story. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King. “With any luck, Glory’s notebook will inspire a new wave of activists. (Fiction. 14 & up)”

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin. “Informative, revealing, powerful and necessary. (author’s note, glossary, resource list) (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Spinoza: the Outcast Thinker by Devra Lehmann. “Clarity, accessibility and spot-on relevance to issues facing modern society make this a must-read. (sources, notes, index) (Nonfiction. 13 & up)

we were liars by e. lockhart. “Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. “This sobering yet satisfying novel leaves readers to ponder the complex questions it raises. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire. “An ambitious, Scheherazade-ian novel, rather like a nesting-doll set of stories, that succeeds in capturing some of the complexities of both Russia and life itself. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)

Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry. “A breathtaking companion volume, fully readable on its own and devastating in the context of its predecessor. (Urban fantasy. 14-18)

The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell. “Essential. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho. “Mesmerizing. (Fiction. 14 & up)

A Matter of Souls by Denise Lewis Patrick. “Shocking, informative and powerful, this volume offers spectacular literary snapshots of black history and culture. (Short stories. 12-18)”

Tomboy: a graphic memoir by Liz Prince. “Spectacular; a book to make anyone think seriously about society’s preordained gender roles (Graphic memoir. 14 & up)

Hidden Like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis; translated by Laura Watkinson. “Terrifying, haunting and powerful. (foreword, glossary) (Collective memoir. 12 & up)

Gabi, a girl in pieces by Isabel Quintero. “A fresh, authentic and honest exploration of contemporary Latina identity. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Frida & Diego: Art, Love, Life by Catherine Reef. “Compelling reading for art lovers. (timeline, source notes, bibliography; index, not seen) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Jackaby by William Ritter. “A magical mystery tour de force with a high body count and a list of unusual suspects. (Paranormal mystery. 12-18)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. “Breathtaking, tragic and true. (Fantasy. 12-18)

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. “It’s no coincidence that Sedgwick has crafted yet another gripping tale of wonder. (Thriller. 13 & up)

Far From You by Tess Sharpe. “An absorbing story full of depth and emotion. (Mystery. 14-18)

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. “By that measure, then, this is a mighty good book. It is about everything that really matters. Plus voracious giant praying mantises. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue: Book III of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. “Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. “Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph. (Graphic novel. 13 & up)

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman. “A beautiful integration of art, religion, compassion and connection. (author’s note) (Verse fiction. 13-17)

Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft. “As complex as life itself, this novel addresses serious topics without taking itself too seriously. (Fiction. 14-18)

 

Official 2014 Teens’ Top Ten Titles Announced!

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Splintered by A.G. Howard 
  3. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  4. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  5. Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
  6. Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
  7. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  8. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  9. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
  10. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

You can see all of these titles, plus titles from other YALSA book awards and booklists, with the Teen Finder Book App! It’s free, and available for Android & iOS.

Financial Times Business Book of the Year Longlist

Financial Times has released its 2014 longlist for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which goes to “the book that is judged to have provided the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.”

Financial Times has released its 2014 longlist for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, which goes to “the book that is judged to have provided the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.”

Titles include:

boom

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World, by Russell Gold

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Belknap P

Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty

Creativity Inc:  Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the

Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a W

Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance, by Julia Angwin

flashboys

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz

House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, an

House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It From Happening Again, by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Pow

Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty, by Daniel Schulman

And the winners are…

Monday, January 27 was the 2014 ALA Youth Media Awards. Each year, the American Library Association honors the best in children’s and teens books and media. For our purposes, the best in teens will be highlighted.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award – recognizing an African-American author of outstanding books for young adults.

Honor Books:

Michael L. Printz Award – for excellence in literature written for young adults

WINNER

Honor Books:

Schneider Family Book Award – for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience

Teen (ages 13-18) Award Winner:

Margaret A. Edwards Award – for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults

Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief and I am the Messenger

Mildred L. Batchelder Award – for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States

Honor Book:

Odyssey Award – for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the U.S.

Honor Recording:

Pura Belpré (Author) Award – honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience

WINNER

Honor Book:

Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience

WINNERS

Honors:

William C. Morris Award – for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens

Winner

Honors:

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

WINNER

Finalists:

Alex Awards – for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences

 

 

New York Times Notable Books of 2013: Nonfiction

Notable nonfiction selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Notable nonfiction selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder (eBook)
The former Fed vice chairman says confidence would have returned faster with better government communication about policy.

The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky
This ambitious study, based on Abramsky’s travels around the country meeting the poor, both describes and prescribes.

The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: the Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn
A noted Harvard historian looks at the chaotic decades between Jamestown and King Philip’s War.

The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund by Anita Raghavan
Indian-Americans populate every aspect of this meticulously reported true-life business thriller.

The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass
Bass reveals the sordid White House diplomacy that attended the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
Ben Franklin’s sister bore 12 children and mostly led a life of hardship, but the two corresponded constantly.

The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood by Roger Rosenblatt
In his memoir, Rosenblatt recalls being a boy learning to see, and to live, in the city he scrutinizes.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin (CD book, large print book)
Historical parallels in Goodwin’s latest time machine implicitly ask us to look at our own age.

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery by George Johnson
Johnson’s fascinating look at cancer reveals certain profound truths about life itself.

Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War by Max Hastings
This excellent chronicle of World War I’s first months by a British military historian dispels some popular myths.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser
A disquieting but riveting examination of nuclear risk.

Country Girl: A Memoir by Edna O’Brien
O’Brien reflects on a fraught and distinguished life, from the restraints of her Irish childhood to literary stardom.

Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker
Baker’s treatment of the George W. Bush administration is haunted by the question of who was in charge.

Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1858-1877 by Brenda Wineapple
A masterly Civil War-era history, full of foiled schemes, misfired plans and less-than-happy ­endings.

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China by Jung Chang
Chang portrays Cixi as a proto-feminist and reformer in this authoritative account.

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
Digressive essays, loosely about storytelling, reflect a difficult year in Solnit’s life.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink (CD book)
The case of a surgeon suspected of euthanizing patients during the Katrina disaster.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prism of Belief by Lawrence Wright (eBook)
The author of “The Looming Tower” takes a calm and neutral stance toward Scientology, but makes clear it’s like no other church on earth.

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson (large print book)
The final volume of Atkinson’s monumental war trilogy shows that the road to Berlin was far from smooth.

The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince by Jane Ridley
He was vain, gluttonous, promiscuous and none too bright, but “Bertie” emerges as an appealing character in Ridley’s superb book.

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett (CD book)
A searing memoir of a young woman’s brutal kidnapping in Somalia.

Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World by Leo Damrosch
A commanding biography by a Harvard professor.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler
Butler’s study of the flaws in end-of-life care mixes personal narrative and tough reporting.

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson
By contextualizing T. E. Lawrence, Anderson is able to address modern themes like oil, jihad and the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell (audio download, CD book, eBook)
The lesson conveyed loud and clear by the Facebook executive is that women should step forward and not doubt their ability to combine work and family.

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker
Cases of troubled young Internet prostitutes murdered on Long Island add up to a nuanced look at prostitution today.

Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures by Mary Ruefle
The poet muses knowingly and merrily on language, writing and speaking sentences that last lifetimes.

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn
Guinn’s tour de force examines Manson’s rise and fall, the 1960s music industry and the decade’s bizarre ambience.

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall
Fuller’s extensive intellectual accomplishments are set in contrast with her romantic disappointments.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward
A raw, beautiful elegy for Ward’s brother and four male friends, who died young in Mississippi between 2000 and 2004.

Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance by Carla Kaplan
A remarkable look at the white women who sought a place in the Harlem Renaissance.

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (audio download, CD book, eBook, large print book)
Mostly skirting her legal views, the Supreme Court justice’s memoir reveals much about her family, school and years at Princeton.

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit (CD book)
Shavit, a columnist for Haaretz, expresses both solidarity with and criticism of his countrymen in this important and powerful book.

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper
The British wayfarer and travel writer is the subject of Cooper’s affectionate, informed biography.

The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox
Focusing on an unheralded but heroic Brooklyn classics professor, Fox turns the decipherment of Linear B into a detective story.

The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking by Brendan I. Koerner (eBook)
Refusing to make ’60s avatars of the unlikely couple behind a 1972 skyjacking, Koerner finds a deeper truth about the nature of extremism.

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
A Cambridge professor offers a thoroughly comprehensible account of the polarization of a continent, without fixing guilt on one leader or nation.

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley
A look at countries that are outeducating us — Finland, South Korea, Poland — through the eyes of American high school students abroad.

Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
Finkel tracks soldiers struggling to navigate postwar life, especially the psychologically wounded.

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream by Thomas Dyja (eBook)
This robust cultural history weaves together the stories of the artists, styles and ideas that developed in Chicago before and after World War II.

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral– Plus Plenty of Valet Parking!– in America’s Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich
An entertaining and deeply troubling view of Washington.

Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941 by Lynne Olson
The savage political dispute between Roosevelt and the isolationist movement, presented in spellbinding detail.

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov
Digital-age transparency may threaten the spirit of democracy, Morozov warns.

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam
Beam’s wrenching study is a triumph of narrative reporting and storytelling.

Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and the American Strategy by Kenneth M. Pollack
The Mideast expert makes the case for living with a nuclear Iran and trying to contain it.

 The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (audio download)
With a nod to John Dos Passos, Packer offers a gripping narrative survey of today’s hard times; the 2013 National Book Award winner for nonfiction.

The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan
Why did the peace fail, a Canadian historian asks, and she offers superb portraits of the men who took Europe to war in the summer of 1914.

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala (eBook)
Deraniyagala’s unforgettable account of her struggle to carry on living after her husband, sons and parents were killed in the 2004 tsunami isn’t only as unsparing as they come, but also defiantly imbued with light.

Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America by Jon Mooallem (eBook)
Mooallem explores the haphazard nature of our efforts to protect endangered ­species.

Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma
This lively history shows how the Good War turned out badly for many people and splendidly for others less deserving.

New York Times Notable Books of 2013: Fiction & Poetry

Notable fiction and poetry selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Notable fiction and poetry selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (audio download, eBook)
Oates’s extravagantly horrifying, funny and prolix postmodern Gothic novel purports to be the definitive account of a curse that infected bucolic Princeton, N.J., in 1905 and 1906.

All That Is by James Salter
Salter’s first novel in more than 30 years, which follows the loves and losses of a World War II veteran, is an ambitious departure from his previous work and, at a stroke, demolishes any talk of twilight.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (eBook)
This witheringly trenchant novel scrutinizes blackness in America, Nigeria and Britain.

Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
Airliners crash not only into the twin towers but into a shaggy-dog tale involving a fraud investigator and a white-collar outlaw in this vital, audacious novel.

Children Are Diamonds: An African Apocalypse by Edward Hoagland
The adventure-seeking protagonist of Hoagland’s novel is swept up in the chaos of southern Sudan.

The Circle by Dave Eggers
In a disturbing not-too-distant future, human existence flows through the portal of a company that gives Eggers’s novel its title.

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
Danticat’s novel is less about a Haitian girl who disappears on her birthday than about the heart of a magical seaside village.

The Color Master: Stories by Aimee Bender
Physical objects help Bender’s characters grasp an overwhelming world.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (eBook)
Odds against survival are high for the characters of Marra’s extraordinary first novel, set in war-torn Chechnya.

The Dinner by Herman Koch (audio download, CD book, large print book)
In this clever, dark Dutch novel, two couples dine out under the cloud of a terrible crime committed by their teenage sons.

Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III
Four linked stories expose their characters’ bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Spanning 80 years and three generations, Lethem’s novel realistically portrays an enchanted — or disenchanted — garden of American leftists in Queens.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (CD book)
Now grown up, Danny, the boy with psycho-intuitive powers in “The Shining,” helps another threatened magic child in a novel that shares the virtues of King’s best work.

Duplex by Kathryn Davis
A schoolteacher takes an unusual lover in this astonishing, double-hinged novel set in a fantastical suburbia.

The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver (eBook)
A summer house on the Massachusetts coast both shelters and isolates the wealthy family in Graver’s eloquent multigenerational novel.

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
In Kushner’s frequently dazzling second novel, an impressionable artist navigates the volatile worlds of New York and Rome in the 1970s.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (CD book)
The “Goldfinch” of the title of Tartt’s smartly written Dickensian novel is a painting smuggled through the early years of a boy’s life — his prize, his guilt and his burden.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
McBride’s romp of a novel, the 2013 National Book Award winner, is narrated by a freed slave boy who passes as a girl. It’s a risky portrait of the radical abolitionist John Brown in which irreverence becomes a new form of ­homage.

A Guide to Being Born: Stories by Ramona Ausubel
Ausubel’s fantastical collection traces a cycle of transformation: from love to conception to gestation to birth.

Half the Kingdom by Lore Segal
In Segal’s darkly comic novel, dementia becomes contagious at a Manhattan hospital.

I Want to Show You More: Stories by Jamie Quatro
Quatro’s strange, thrilling and disarmingly honest first collection draws from a pool of resonant themes (Christianity, marital infidelity, cancer, running) in agile ­recombinations.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer (eBook)
A distraught woman inhabits different selves across the 20th century in Greer’s elegiac novel.

The Infatuations by Javier Marías
Amid a proliferation of alternative perspectives, Marías’s novel explores its female narrator’s relationship with the widow and the best friend of a murdered man.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (audio download, CD book, eBook, large print book)
Wolitzer’s enveloping novel offers a fresh take on the theme of self-invention, with a heroine who asks herself whether the ambitious men and women in her circle have inaccurately defined success.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (audio download, CD book, large print book)
Atkinson’s heroine, born in 1910, keeps dying and dying again, as she experiences the alternate courses her destiny might have taken.

Local Souls: Novellas by Allan Gurganus
This triptych, set in Gurganus’s familiar Falls, N.C., showcases the increasing universality of his imaginative powers.

Longbourn by Jo Baker (CD book, large print book)
Baker’s charming novel offers an affecting look at the world of “Pride and Prejudice” from the point of view of the Bennets’ servants’ hall.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff
Rakoff completed his novel-in-couplets, whose characters live the title’s verbs, just before his death in 2012.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (CD book, large print book)
After his radical brother is killed, an Indian scientist brings his widow to join him in America in Lahiri’s efficiently written novel.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
In her Booker Prize winner, a love story and mystery set in New Zealand, Catton has built a lively parody of a 19th-century novel, while creating something utterly new for the 21st.

Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
The survivors of “Oryx and Crake” and “The Year of the Flood” await a final showdown, in a trilogy’s concluding entry.

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik (audio download)
Maksik’s forceful novel illuminates the life of a Liberian woman who flees her troubled past to seek refuge on an Aegean island.

Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart
To immerse oneself in these poems is to enter a crowd of unusual characters: artistic geniuses, violent misfits, dramatic self-accusers (including the poet himself).

Our Andromeda by Brenda Shaughnessy
In these emotionally charged and gorgeously constructed poems, Shaughnessy imagines a world without a child’s pain.

Schroder by Amity Gaige
In Gaige’s scenic novel, a man with a long-established false identity goes on the run with his 6-year-old daughter.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (CD book, large print book)
In this winning novel by the author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” a botanist’s hunger for explanations carries her through the better part of Darwin’s century, and to Tahiti.

Someone by Alice McDermott (CD book)
Through scattered recollections, this novel sifts the significance of an ordinary life.

The Son by Philipp Meyer (audio download, eBook)
Members of a Texas clan grope their way from the ordeals of the frontier to celebrity culture’s absurdities in this masterly multigenerational saga.

The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
This gripping Colombian novel, built on the country’s tragic history with the drug trade, meditates on love, fate and death.

Submergence by J.M. Ledgard
This hard-edged, well-written novel involves a terrorist hostage-taking and a perilous deep-sea dive.

Subtle Bodies by Norman Rush
Amid dark humor both mournful and absurd, former classmates converge on the hilltop estate of a friend who has died in a freak accident.

Tenth of December: Stories by George Saunders (audio download, CD book, eBook)
Saunders’s relentless humor and beatific generosity of spirit keep his highly moral tales from succumbing to life’s darker aspects.

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (audio download, CD book, eBook,)
Mathis’s deeply felt first novel works at the rough edges of history, within a brutal and poetic allegory of a black family beset by tribulations after the Great Migration to the North.

The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt
In Leavitt’s atmospheric novel of 1940 Lisbon, as two couples await passage to New York, the husbands embark on an affair.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (CD book, large print book)
This wrenching novel by the author of “The Joy Luck Club” follows mother and daughter courtesans over four decades.

Want Not by Jonathan Miles
Linking disparate characters and story threads, Miles’s novel explores varieties of waste and decay in a consumer world.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (audio download)
This surreptitiously smart novel’s big reveal slyly recalls a tabloid headline: “Girl and Chimp Twinned at Birth in Psychological ­Experiment.”

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (audio download)
A Zimbabwean moves to Detroit in Bulawayo’s striking first novel.

Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel
Maazel’s restlessly antic novel examines the concurrent urges for solitude and intimacy.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (audio download, CD book, eBook)
Messud’s ingenious, disquieting novel of outsize conflicts tells the story of a thwarted artist who finds herself bewitched by a boy and his parents.

 

New York Times Notable Books of 2012: Nonfiction

Notable nonfiction selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Notable nonfiction selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen
The vanished world of midcentury upper-class lesbians is portrayed as beguiling, its inhabitants members of a stylish club.

American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama by Rachel L. Swarns
A Times reporter’s deeply researched chronicle of several generations of Mrs. Obama’s family.

American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf by James Dodson
The author evokes an era when the game was more vivid and less corporate than it seems now.

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel
Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother.

Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss
This huge and absorbing new biography, full of previously unexplored detail, shows that Obama’s saga is more surprising and gripping than the version we’re familiar with.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (audio download, eBook)
This extraordinary moral inquiry into life in an Indian slum shows the human costs exacted by a brutal social Darwinism.

Belzoni: The Giant Archaeologists Love to Hate by Ivor Noël Hume
The fascinating tale of the 19th-century Italian monk, a “notorious tomb robber,” who gathered archaeological treasures in Egypt while crunching bones underfoot.

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (eBook)
The first Alexandre Dumas, a mixed-race general of the French Revolution, is the subject of this imaginative biography.

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams
Williams’s environmental call to arms deplores chemicals in breast milk and the vogue for silicone implants.

Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 by Charles Murray (audio download, eBook)
The author of “The Bell Curve” warns that the white working class has abandoned the “founding virtues.”

Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution by Rebecca Stott
Stott’s lively, original history of evolutionary ideas flows easily across continents and centuries.

A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Preacher’s Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States by Geoffrey C. Ward
The author’s ancestor was the bane of Ulysses S. Grant.

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon
This passionate and affecting work about what it means to be a parent is based on interviews with families of “exceptional” children.

Flagrant Conduct. The Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans by Dale Carpenter
Carpenter stirringly describes the 2003 Supreme Court decision that overturned the Texas sodomy law.

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life by Robert Trivers
An intriguing argument that deceit is a beneficial evolutionary “deep feature” of life.

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young
A poet’s lively account of the central place of the trickster figure in black American culture could have been called “How Blacks Invented America.”

Haiti: The Aftershocks of History by Laurent Dubois
Foreign meddling, the lack of a democratic tradition, a humiliating American occupation and cold-war support of a brutal dictator all figure in a scholar’s well-written analysis.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (audio download)
Noncognitive skills like persistence and self-control are more crucial to success than sheer brainpower, Tough maintains.

How Music Works by David Byrne
This guidebook also explores the eccentric rock star’s personal and professional experience.

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum
An overwhelming and convincing account of the Soviet push to colonize Eastern Europe after World War II.

Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats by Roger Rosenblatt
This thoughtful meditation on the evolution of grief over time asks the big questions.

Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt
A tension between humanitarianism and righteousness has shaped America’s rules of warfare.

Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan by Rajiv Chandrasekaran
A beautifully written and deeply reported account of America’s troubled involvement in Afghanistan.

Memoir of a Debulked Woman: Enduring Ovarian Cancer by Susan Gubar
A feminist scholar recounts her experience and criticizes the medical treatment of a frightening disease in a voice that is straightforward and incredibly brave.

My Poets by Maureen N. McLane
Part memoir and part criticism, this friendly book includes essays on poets canonical and contemporary, as well as lineated poem-games.

The Obamas by Jodi Kantor
Michelle Obama sets the tone and tempo of the current White House, Kantor argues in this admiring account, full of colorful insider anecdotes.

Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms With His Sexuality by John Schwartz
A Times reporter’s deeply affecting account of his son’s coming out also reviews research on the experience of LGBT kids.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder (audio download, eBook)
An absorbing biography of the pioneering environmental writer on the 50th anniversary of “Silent Spring.”

On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines — and Future by Karen Elliott House
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist unveils this inscrutable country, comparing its calcified regime to the Soviet Union in its final days.

The One: The Life and Music of James Brown by RJ Smith
Smith argues that Brown was the most significant modern American musician in terms of style, messaging, rhythm and originality.

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro (eBook)
The fourth volume of Caro’s magisterial work spans the five years that end shortly after Kennedy’s assassination, as Johnson prepares to push for a civil rights act.

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw
This riveting history captures the sweep of Kennedy’s life — as Wall Street speculator, moviemaker, ambassador and dynastic founder.

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished From the Streets of Tokyo — and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry
An evenhanded investigation of a murder.

Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival by Christopher Benfey
Mixing memoir, family saga, travelogue and cultural history.

Rule and Ruin. The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party: From Eisenhower to the Tea Party by Geoffrey Kabaservice
Pragmatic Republicanism was hardier than we remember, Kabaservice argues.

Saul Steinberg: A Biography by Deirdre Bair
A gripping and revelatory biography of the eminent cartoonist.

Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy
An uninhibited and learned account of the attempts on the life of Queen Victoria, which only increased her popularity.

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan
A deft portrait of the man who made memorable photographs of American ­Indians.

The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson
The evolutionary biologist explores the strange kinship between humans and some insects.

Sometimes There Is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider by Zakes Mda
The South African novelist and playwright absorbingly illuminates his wide, worldly life.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
Quammen’s meaty, sprawling book chronicles his globe-trotting scientific adventures and warns against animal microbes spilling over into people.

The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Collingham
Collingham argues that food needs contributed to the war’s origins, strategy, outcome and aftermath.

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
This readable and well-researched life celebrates Jefferson’s skills as a practical politician, unafraid to wield power even when it conflicted with his small-government views.

Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman
Written with knowing finesse, this expansive history of gay rights from the early 20th century to the present draws on archives and interviews.

When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God by T. M. Luhrmann
Evangelicals believe that God speaks to them personally because they hone the skill of prayer, this insightful study argues.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Winterson’s unconventional and winning memoir wrings humor from adversity as it describes her upbringing by a wildly deranged mother.

Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story by Jim Holt
An elegant and witty writer converses with philosophers and cosmologists who ponder why there is something rather than nothing.

New York Times Notable Books of 2012: Fiction & Poetry

Notable fiction & poetry selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Notable fiction & poetry selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
A young hacker on the run in the Mideast is the protagonist of this imaginative first novel.

Almost Never by Daniel Sada
In this glorious satire of machismo, a Mexican agronomist simultaneously pursues a prostitute and an upright woman.

An American Spy by Olen Steinhauer
In a novel vividly evoking the multilayered world of espionage, Steinhauer’s hero fights back when his C.I.A. unit is nearly destroyed.

Arcadia by Lauren Groff (eBook)
Groff’s lush and visual second novel begins at a rural commune, and links that utopian past to a dystopian, post-global-warming future.

At Last by Edward St. Aubyn
The final and most meditative of St. Aubyn’s brilliant Patrick Melrose novels is full of precise observations and glistening turns of phrase.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (eBook)
Walter’s witty sixth novel, set largely in Hollywood, reveals an American landscape of vice, addiction, loss and disappointed hopes.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
The survivors of a fierce firefight in Iraq are whisked stateside for a brief victory tour in this satirical novel.

Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie
The best stories in Alexie’s collection of new and selected works are moving and funny, bringing together the embittered critic and the yearning dreamer.

The Book of Mischief: New and Selected Stories by Steve Stern
Jewish immigrant lives observed with effusive nostalgia.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (audio download, CD book, large print book)
Mantel’s sequel to “Wolf Hall” traces the fall of Anne Boleyn, and makes the familiar story fascinating and suspenseful again.

Building Stories by Chris Ware
A big, sturdy box containing hard-bound volumes, pamphlets and a tabloid houses Ware’s demanding, melancholy and magnificent graphic novel about the inhabitants of a Chicago building.

By Blood by Ellen Ullman (audio download)
This smart, slippery novel is a narrative striptease, as a professor listens in on the sessions between the therapist next door and her patients.

Canada by Richard Ford (CD book, eBook, MP3 CD)
A boy whose parents rob a bank in Montana in 1960 takes refuge across the border in this mesmerizing novel, driven by fully realized characters and an accomplished prose style.

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw (large print book)
Anshaw pays close attention to the lives of a group of friends bound together by a fatal accident in this wry, humane novel, her fourth.

City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
Somewhere in Ireland in 2053, people are haunted by a “lost time,” when something calamitous happened, and hope to reclaim the past. Barry’s extraordinary, exuberant first novel is full of inventive language.

Collected Poems by Jack Gilbert
In orderly free verse constructions, Gilbert deals plainly with grief, love, marriage, betrayal and lust.

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro
This volume offers further proof of Munro’s mastery, and shows her striking out in the direction of a new, late style that sums up her whole career.

The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
LaValle’s culturally observant third novel is set in a shabby urban mental hospital.

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison
Harrison’s splendid and surprising novel of late imperial Russia centers on Rasputin’s daughter Masha and the hemophiliac ­czarevitch Alyosha.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (eBook, large print book)
An Appalachian woman becomes involved in an effort to save monarch butterflies in this brave and majestic novel.

Fobbit by David Abrams
Clerks, cooks and lawyers at a forward operating base in Iraq populate this first novel.

The Forgetting Tree by Tatjana Soli
In Soli’s haunting second novel, a mysterious Caribbean woman cares for a cancer patient on an isolated California ranch.

Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden
Three generations of black women confront floods and murder in Mississippi.

Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru
Related stories, spanning centuries and continents, and all tethered to a desert rock formation, emphasize interconnectivity across time and space in Kunzru’s relentlessly modern fourth novel.

HHhH by Laurent Binet
This gripping novel examines both the killing of an SS general in Prague in 1942 and Binet’s experience in writing about it.

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers (CD book, MP3 CD)
Eg­gers’s novel is a haunting and supremely readable parable of America in the global economy, a nostalgic lament for a time when life had stakes and people worked with their hands.

Home by Toni Morrison (audio download, eBook)
A black Korean War veteran, discharged from an integrated Army into a segregated homeland, makes a reluctant journey back to Georgia in a novel engaged with themes that have long haunted Morrison.

Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander
Hilarity alternates with pain in this novel about a Jewish man seeking peace in upstate New York who discovers Anne Frank in his attic.

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The narrator (also named Sheila) and her friends try to answer the question in this novel’s title.

In One Person by John Irving
Irving’s funny, risky new novel about an aspiring writer struggling with his sexuality examines what happens when we face our desires honestly.

A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash (audio download, eBook)
An evil pastor dominates Cash’s mesmerizing first novel.

Married Love: And Other Stories by Tessa Hadley
Hadley’s understatedly beautiful collection is filled with exquisitely calibrated gradations and expressions of class.

NW by Zadie Smith
The lives of two friends who grew up in a northwest London housing project diverge, illuminating questions of race, class, sexual identity and personal choice, in Smith’s energetic modernist novel.

On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths by Lucia Perillo
Taut, lucid poems filled with complex emotional reflection.

Pure by Julianna Baggott (audio download)
Children battle for the planet’s redemption in this precisely written postapocalyptic adventure story.

The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman
A dark, magisterial novel set on a Chesapeake Bay estate.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich (eBook)
In this novel, an American Indian family faces the ramifications of a vicious crime.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (eBook)
A pregnant 15-year-old and her family await Hurricane Katrina in this lushly written novel.

San Miguel by T. Coraghessan Boyle
Two utopians from different eras establish private idylls on California’s desolate Channel Islands; this novel preserves their tantalizing dreams.

Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
This thought-provoking debut novel presents a geeky astronaut and his pregnant wife.

Shout Her Lovely Name by Natalie Serber
The stories in Serber’s first collection are smart and nuanced.

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk
A family is a microcosm of a country on the verge of a coup in this intense, foreboding novel, first published in Turkey in 1983.

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
Dermont’s captivating debut novel, whose narrator is a boarding school student and a sailor, takes pleasure in the sea and in the exhilarating freedom of being young.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan (CD book, eBook, MP3 CD)
The true subject of this smart and tricky novel, set inside a cold war espionage operation, is the border between make-believe and reality.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
In this spare, disturbing and frequently funny novel, a troubled young woman tests the marriages of two couples.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (eBook)
Chabon’s rich comic novel about fathers and sons in Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., juggles multiple plots and mounds of pop culture references in astonishing prose.

The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
This beautiful work takes power from the surprises of its language and its almost shocking characterization of Mary, mother of Jesus.

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
The stories in this collection are about love, but they’re also about the undertow of family history and cultural mores, presented in Díaz’s exciting, irresistible and entertaining prose.

Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
In loosely linked narratives, three women from Senegal struggle with fathers and husbands in France. This subtle, hypnotic novel won the Prix Goncourt in 2009.

Toby’s Room by Pat Barker
This novel, a sequel to “Life Class,” delves further into the lives of an English family torn apart by World War I.

Watergate by Thomas Mallon
This novelistic re­imagining of the “third-rate burglary” proposes surprising motives for the break-in and the 18-minute gap, and has a sympathetic Nixon.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank: Stories by Nathan Englander (audio download, eBook)
Englander tackles large questions of morality and history in a masterly collection that manages to be both insightful and ­uproarious.

The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
A young private and his platoon struggle through the war in Iraq but find no peace at home in this powerful and moving first novel about the frailty of man and the brutality of war.

2012 Teens’ Top Ten Books – Reserve Your Copy Today!

The 2012 Teens’ Top Ten Books have been announced today! This is essentially the Teen Choice Awards but for the book-set. And our winners are… (drum roll, please)…

1. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

2. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

3. LEGEND by Marie Lu

4. MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs

5. WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE by Sarah Dessen

6. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis

7. CINDER by Marissa Meyer

8. THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

9. WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman

10. ABANDON by Meg Cabot

 

*YALSA publishes this list every year. For the nifty pdf, click here.