This Week's Best New Books

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Year One

Year One

by Nora Roberts

Year One

A viral plague strikes Earth, killing billions of people. Those left are thrust into a chaotic world where the normal conventions of life--electricity, running water, food production, television and the Internet--have ceased, leaving the survivors to fend for themselves. Some lean toward the dark side, letting loose the evil that's lurked inside them, joining groups of Raiders and Purity Warriors. Others discover they are filled with light and gifted with magical powers that they must learn to use ... [ Read More » ]

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Why Comics: From Underground to Everywhere

Why Comics: From Underground to Everywhere

by Hillary Chute

Why Comics: From Underground to Everywhere

Comic book histories are rife with the origin stories of famous superheroes, but rare is the history of underground comics--comix--a subject that has found more coverage in documentaries and independent film. Why Comics? is Hillary Chute's compelling and all-inclusive examination of underground comics artists and how their work has entered into the mainstream as serious literature and social commentary.

Chute (Graphic Women) arranges her discussion of these artists in 10 carefully researched and ... [ Read More » ]

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Swords in the Hands of Children: Reflections of an American Revolutionary

Swords in the Hands of Children: Reflections of an American Revolutionary

by Jonathan Lerner

Swords in the Hands of Children: Reflections of an American Revolutionary

Jonathan Lerner (Alex Underground) was 20 in 1968, "a year of such cascading disaster that it felt to many people, including me, that there could be no rescuing the broken promises of American Democracy." Though he has long since moved on, recent political events in the U.S. stirred him to revisit the radical militancy of his youth in the Weather Underground Organization. The result is this memoir: Swords in the Hands of Children.

A white middle-class suburban kid, Lerner began his activism as a ... [ Read More » ]

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Steal Away Home

Steal Away Home

by Billy Coffey

Steal Away Home

Owen Cross, from a small town in Shenandoah, Va., thought playing baseball was all he ever wanted. His passion was instilled by his father, Paul, whose big league aspirations were cut short by an injury. Paul--a high school janitor--encouraged Owen to master all aspects of the game. But when Owen crossed paths and fell in love with Michaela "Micky" Dullahan, a rebellious local girl "considered plain white trash," his life was upended. Micky's family was poor and struggling, her father a notorious ... [ Read More » ]

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A State of Freedom

A State of Freedom

by Neel Mukherjee

A State of Freedom

Neel Mukherjee's incredible third novel, A State of Freedom, presents a mosaic of life in modern-day India that is chaotic and tragic, but also inspiring.

The story follows a number of poor residents struggling to work their way up in a deeply stratified society. Two of the most compelling characters are domestic servants Renu and Milly, who both migrate from rural poverty to Mumbai and find work with well-to-do families. They live in the same seaside slum, folded into the city's infrastructure, ... [ Read More » ]

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Signal Loss

Signal Loss

by Garry Disher

Signal Loss

Garry Disher (Kickback; Whispering Death) skillfully showcases Mornington Peninsula, near Melbourne, Australia, in Signal Loss, the seventh in his Inspector Hal Challis series. Challis is investigating a pair of bodies in a burned-out Mercedes, as well as a meth dealer named Owen Valentine who seems to have gone missing. Meanwhile Sergeant Ellen Destry, Challis's significant other and the newly promoted head of the Sex Crimes Unit, is frantically trying to track down a serial rapist before he strikes ... [ Read More » ]

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My Brother's Keeper

My Brother's Keeper

by Donna Malane

My Brother's Keeper

When Diane Rowe says, "Okay, it's official," and admits that she's a bad girlfriend, a bad dog owner and a bad "missing persons so-called expert," she's way off on only the third charge.

Set in New Zealand, My Brother's Keeper opens with ex-con Karen Mackie seeking Diane's help. Karen was locked up for seven years for the drowning death of her five-year-old son. She wants Diane to find her daughter, Sunny, who nearly drowned alongside her younger brother in the submerged ... [ Read More » ]

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Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony

Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony

by Aunty Joy Murphy, illus. by Lisa Kennedy

Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony

In a front-of-book note, author and senior Aboriginal elder Aunty Joy Murphy explains, "The Wurundjeri Wominjeka (welcome) ceremony is a cultural greeting by the Elders (liwiki), who give permission for yannabil (visitors) to enter onto their traditional lands."

Talk about a warm welcome: "We invite you to take a leaf from the branches of the white river gum," begins the text on a spread honoring guests; four hands reach for offerings on a plate of food. On another spread, "We thank you, for you ... [ Read More » ]

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Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

by Anna Meriano, illus. by Mirelle Ortega

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble

"What's the point of having magic if you can't use it to fix things?" Eleven-year-old Leo Logroño has spent her life trying to catch up to her four older sisters. Her family's bakery, Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery), has hosted the local Día de los Muertos festival "for as long as there had been a Rose Hill, Texas, to celebrate it," but, much to Leo's chagrin, she will once again be left out of prepping for the festivities. This year's festival has a tent ... [ Read More » ]

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Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

by Margot Lee Shetterly, Winifred Conkling, illus. by Laura Freeman

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race

Margot Lee Shetterly's bestselling adult book, Hidden Figures, is made accessible to young readers in this elegantly illustrated picture book.

In 1943, "Dorothy Vaughan wanted to serve her country by working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.... [S]ome people thought it would be impossible for her to get a job as a computer" because she was black. "But Dorothy didn't think it was impossible. She was good at math. Really good." In 1951, "Mary Jackson got a job as a computer at Langley," ... [ Read More » ]

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Impossible Saints

Impossible Saints

by Clarissa Harwood

Impossible Saints

Convictions clash with the passion of love in Impossible Saints, Clarissa Harwood's debut novel. In England in 1907 and 1908, an early suffragette and an Anglican priest must decide if their attraction can withstand the personal and social conflicts it generates.

When Lilia Brooke outgrows her teaching job in the Ingleford village school (teaching girls Latin was the last straw), she's promptly relocated to London, with the caveat that family friend and respectable cathedral vicar Paul Harris will ... [ Read More » ]

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Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country

Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country

by Leila Guerriero, editor

Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country

"Sometimes one doesn't leave to go outside, but to go inside," writes Carlos Manuel Álvarez in the essay that opens Leila Guerriero's anthology Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country. In the collection, Argentine journalist and author Guerriero (A Simple Story) compiles perspectives of both insiders and outsiders on the ideologies and idiosyncrasies of modern-day Cuba.

Guerriero offers a collage of viewpoints; journalists, authors, actors and ... [ Read More » ]

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Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

by Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague, Dean Rader, editors

Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence

In the midst of an epidemic of violence in the United States, editors Brian Clements, Alexandra Teague and Dean Rader have brought together poets, politicians, survivors and activists to proclaim a crucial need for gun control. Contributor Jessica Pollock Mindich, president of the Caliber Foundation, explains, "Art creates change. It has the power to heal, inspire, teach, and unite."

Bullets into Bells offers a stunning array of such art, focusing on myriad tragedies occurring at the end of a gun ... [ Read More » ]

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We'll Sleep When We're Old

We'll Sleep When We're Old

by Pino Corrias, trans. by Antony Shugaar

We'll Sleep When We're Old

Oscar Martello is a misogynistic, bullying, corrupt and famous movie producer in Rome. His hedonistic world of celebrity comes to life with striking detail in We'll Sleep When We're Old, the debut novel by Italian journalist and television producer Pino Corrias.

Martello loves power and money more than anything: "I'm an anarchist, I dismantle power and I pocket it." He lies, cheats and carelessly betrays friends, wives, lovers and coworkers with tacit approval because his influence seems limitless. ... [ Read More » ]

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The Vanishing Season

The Vanishing Season

by Joanna Schaffhausen

The Vanishing Season

Officer Ellery Hathaway knows another death is coming to her town of Woodbury, Mass. But no one will believe her, definitely not the chief of police. Why is Ellery so certain? Because for the past three years, a local resident has disappeared around her birthday, after Ellery receives a birthday card from an anonymous sender. But no one is supposed to know who she really is.

Fourteen years ago, Ellery was 14-year-old Abigail, the sole survivor of a serial killer of young women. Abigail had been kidnapped ... [ Read More » ]

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The Music Shop

The Music Shop

by Rachel Joyce

The Music Shop

In her fourth novel, The Music Shop, Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry) composes a narrative with soul and depth. In a down-at-heel street in a nondescript British city, Frank's record shop doesn't just sell vinyl (and only vinyl), it also gives people the music they don't know they need.

Easygoing about most things, Frank is unbudging about vinyl, with all its idiosyncrasies. "Life has surface noise!" he shouts at a sales rep touting the "clean" sound of CDs. "Do ... [ Read More » ]

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The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

by David N. Schwartz

The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age

Outside of physics, Enrico Fermi is not well known, despite having won the Nobel Prize. He ushered in the atomic age with his discovery of beta decay and his pioneering experiments with controlled nuclear fission. The latter led directly to the development of the first atomic bomb, which he helped oversee. The long shadow cast by the mushroom cloud may account for Fermi's obscurity, but MIT professor David Schwartz sets out to rectify this in The Last Man Who Knew Everything.

Fermi was a rare breed ... [ Read More » ]

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Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

by Maya Angelou, Sara Jane Boyers, editor, illus. by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Monsters under the bed, specters hiding in closets, demons just outside the door seem to afflict--and limit--every child at some point in their young lives. But what if those "Shadows on the wall/ Noises down the hall" could be confronted... and even banished? What if an incantation as easy as "Life doesn't frighten me at all" was enough to encourage and enable resolute audacity?

Presented as an impassioned ode to courage, the late poet Dr. Maya Angelou's 1993 poem returns in a handsome 25th-anniversary ... [ Read More » ]

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Betty Before X

Betty Before X

by Ilyasah Shabazz, Renée Watson

Betty Before X

Ilyasah Shabazz (X: A Novel) gives a fictionalized account of her mother's upbringing and move toward civil rights activism in Betty Before X, a collaborative novel with Renée Watson (Piecing Me Together).

Since Betty's mother, Ollie Mae, "didn't know how to raise a baby on her own," Betty was raised by her aunt until the age of six. When her aunt dies, Betty is sent back to Ollie Mae, who Betty believes loves her "but in a different kind of way"--even after five years, her "mother's house ... [ Read More » ]

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Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art

Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art

by Sam Wasson

Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art

Improvisational theater was invented and developed in the 20th-century United States, and continues to be a life spring of new ideas and talent for the performing arts, TV and film. Sam Wasson (Fosse) spent years writing Improv Nation from archival research and scores of interviews. The result is encyclopedic, garrulous and funny.

Improvisational theater requires its players to be receptive and generous with each other, competitive but also trusting, and to be fearless in front of an audience. ... [ Read More » ]

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I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa

I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa

by John Gibler

I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa

On the night of September 26, 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa Teachers College were riding in buses in the town of Iguala, Mexico, on their way to a demonstration. Suddenly the municipal, state and federal police opened fire on them, killing six, wounding many and "disappearing" 43. In a different part of the town, a fifth bus, carrying a boys' soccer team, was also attacked.

In Latin America, to "disappear" someone is a murderous crime, an act of violence. For I Couldn't Even Imagine That They ... [ Read More » ]

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Green

Green

by Sam Graham-Felsen

Green

Twelve-year-old David "Green" Greenfeld is one of only two white kids in his South Boston school. Narrator of Sam Graham-Felsen's first novel, Green, he speaks a hip-hop patois with self-conscious concern that he not sound as uncool as his skin color suggests he is: "Awesome is a Caucasian catastrophe." His parents are Harvard-grad former hippies who won't send him to a private school because they "believe" in public schools. Green is a coming-of-age story set in the '90s, about a ... [ Read More » ]

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Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy

Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy

by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy

Linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky doesn't seem to be slowing down much as he approaches the age of 90. In Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, a collection of interviews with journalist and frequent dialogue partner David Barsamian, Chomsky seems as lucid, energetic, and passionate as ever. The conversations range over an array of subjects, each one giving him a chance to show his impressive depth of knowledge and his commitment to a better world.

The interviews ... [ Read More » ]

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The Girl in the Tower

The Girl in the Tower

by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower

Katherine Arden delivers another breathtakingly suspenseful, romantic romp through medieval Russia in this sequel to 2016's The Bear and the Nightingale. Pagan gods clash with the growth of Christianity, and an immortal creature of wind and ice must choose between immortality and his longing for a remarkable mortal girl.

Following the death of her father, spirited Vasalisa Petrovna is on the run with the magnificent stallion Solovey. Faced with equally unappealing prospects of marriage or conviction ... [ Read More » ]

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Anyone Who's Anyone: The Astonishing Celebrity Interviews 1987-2017

Anyone Who's Anyone: The Astonishing Celebrity Interviews 1987-2017

by George Wayne

Anyone Who's Anyone: The Astonishing Celebrity Interviews 1987-2017

A self-proclaimed "carnivore of pop culture," Jamaican-born George Wayne is known for the snarky and inappropriate questions he lobs at celebrities in his brash q&a column for Vanity Fair magazine. Anyone Who's Anyone collects 44 of those jousting matches. After telling Tony Curtis that most of his films are "unwatchable," Wayne asks him if he's had a testicle tuck. Curtis cops only to a nose job, "for a deviated septum from too much cocaine."

Wayne asks brawny model Fabio the measurement of his ... [ Read More » ]

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