This Week's Best New Books

1 of 25
The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs

The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs

by Peter Wohlleben

The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs

"Forecasts of up to a week in advance are about seventy percent likely to be true," writes Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees) in his fascinating look at the natural world, The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature's Secret Signs. But that 30% of uncertainty can wreak havoc on a garden. Luckily, he continues, we can learn to make weather predictions ourselves that are often at least as--if not more--accurate than what our local meteorologists tell us. That's because meteorologists, he says,
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2 of 25
Room to Dream

Room to Dream

by David Lynch, Kristine McKenna

Room to Dream

Filmmaker David Lynch notoriously eludes talking about his work, so a nearly 600-page memoir is quite a surprise. In an effort to create a definitive biography, Lynch and coauthor Kristine McKenna have produced Room to Dream, a tantalizing hybrid of biography and autobiography. McKenna, who interviewed more than 100 people, writes the straightforward biography chapters offering perspectives from ex-wives, producers, cast and crew members. A chapter by Lynch follows, elaborating on the preceding material,
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3 of 25
Robin

Robin

by Dave Itzkoff

Robin

New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff's biography of Robin Williams, from his lonely childhood in the Midwest to his shocking suicide in 2014, is a rich portrait of a beloved entertainer whom few fully understood. Itzkoff draws on his interviews with Williams, as well as archival research and more than a hundred conversations with the star's family and friends, to create a nuanced view of Robin Williams as a man and a performer. The book is comprehensive--it's 200 pages until Williams's first box
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4 of 25
Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

by Adam Frank

Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth

The discovery of thousands of exoplanets in the last two decades has confirmed Earth's status as just one orbital body in a crowded cosmos. Prior to this flood of planets spotted around other stars, our solar system, for all astronomy could prove, was thought to be unique. Now we know that is far from the case. Extrapolating these finds to a galactic level means that there are billions upon billions of Earth-like worlds around us, which points the hunt for alien life in exciting new directions.
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5 of 25
The 5 O'Clock Band

The 5 O'Clock Band

by Bill Taylor, Troy Andrews, illus. by Bryan Collier

The 5 O'Clock Band

This follow-up to Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier's Coretta Scott King Award–winning Trombone Shorty guides readers through the spirited streets of New Orleans. Having missed his band's practice, Shorty questions whether he has what it takes to lead. Wandering the streets in search of his friends, Shorty encounters different members of his community and asks them what it takes to be a leader.
 
Andrews's words blanket the audience in the sights, sounds and smells of all these encounters,
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6 of 25
The House That Lou Built

The House That Lou Built

by Mae Respicio

The House That Lou Built

Seventh-grader Lucinda "Lou" Bulosan-Nelson dreams of being an architect and cannot help but compare the people around her with houses. For example, her grandmother "would be a hot pink Painted Lady--one of those fancy San Francisco Victorians tourists love, with intricate stained glass that casts rainbows onto the sidewalks." That is to say, "She's colorful." Lou's own style is more in line with a tiny house, one that has "a composting toilet and, right above the kitchen, a cozy sleeping loft."
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7 of 25
The Favorite Sister

The Favorite Sister

by Jessica Knoll

The Favorite Sister

In The Favorite Sister, Jessica Knoll follows her hit debut, Luckiest Girl Alive, with a look at not just one but a group of ambitious women.
 
The novel opens with the producer of a TV reality show about wealthy entrepreneurs called Goal Diggers interviewing one of the cast members, Kelly Courtney, about her sister, Brett, another Digger who mysteriously died. The story then jumps back in time and takes readers through preproduction and production of the fourth season, showing how ruthless
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8 of 25
The Dependents

The Dependents

by Katharine Dion

The Dependents

Katharine Dion's first novel, The Dependents, takes readers back to that high school standby play, Our Town. Instead of Thornton Wilder's Grover's Corners, however, it takes place in the small former mill town of Colton, N.H., where Gene Ashe is grieving the death of his wife of 49 years from a post-knee surgery blood clot. Moody, forlorn, immersed in memories, Gene is looking for some sign that his rather humdrum life and marriage with Maida provided the happiness he had anticipated when
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9 of 25
Days of Awe: Stories

Days of Awe: Stories

by A.M. Homes

Days of Awe: Stories

There is much to praise about A.M. Homes's varied story collection Days of Awe, her first since 2002's Things You Should Know. Wired into the zeitgeist, she's both a keen observer of some of the more absurd aspects of contemporary American life and someone who's not afraid to explore the boundaries where real life morphs into fantasy.
 
Homes's archetypal characters resemble the members of the Los Angeles family who appear in "Hello Everybody" and "She Got Away." They eat in restaurants
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10 of 25
Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

by Sayaka Murata, trans. by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Convenience Store Woman

In the opening pages of Convenience Store Woman, Keiko Furukura is in her element, at work in the Hiiromachi Station Smile Mart. She knows what the displays need, how properly to promote the day's featured item, when the cold drinks need replenishing. She reads her customers expertly: "Instantly I deduce that he will use electronic money." She is a valued employee and good at her job. The mingled beeps, dings, rustles and clacks of the convenience store form a "sound that ceaselessly caresses
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11 of 25
The Book of M

The Book of M

by Peng Shepherd

The Book of M

In the near future, a man in India loses his shadow and people marvel at the phenomenon, until it begins happening to others, too. They soon realize that when their shadow disappears, so do their memories. Married couple Ory and Max hide out in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods of Virginia, hoping that their lack of contact with the outside world will prevent them from contracting the disease. Despite their efforts, one day Max loses her shadow. In order to protect Ory, Max leaves, which sets
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12 of 25
American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

by Victoria Johnson

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

David Hosack (1769-1835) was a celebrity in his day. He was the founder of the first botanical garden in the United States, an early adopter of new medical treatments, and a charismatic teacher and public speaker. American Eden is an exhaustively researched, brilliant and lively biography set in the close political, social and intellectual circles of the new Republic by professor of urban planning Victoria Johnson (Backstage at the Revolution).
 
Hosack is a genuinely interesting figure--talented,
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13 of 25
Us Against You

Us Against You

by Fredrik Backman

Us Against You

With each new book, Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called OveBritt-Marie Was Here and Beartown, manages to raise the stakes of exceptionalism. Through Backman's astute examination of humanity, Us Against You will elicit snickers and full-blown belly laughs. It will rip out hearts, then replace them stronger than before. Most of all, it is sure to prompt readers to examine their lives in order to be better people, if only in microscopic ways.
 
Peter, the
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14 of 25
The Storm

The Storm

by Arif Anwar

The Storm

The Storm by Arif Anwar is a welcome addition to the fledgling collection of post-colonial literature by Bangladeshi authors writing about their country's war for independence, displacement of their fellow citizens by natural disasters and the immigrant experience. Anwar takes it further, much further, by creating an impressive cast of characters with lives and fortunes that intersect in unexpected ways with Bangladesh's history. From Washington, D.C., to Calcutta to Chittagong and Burma, Anwar journeys
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15 of 25
Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

by Matthew Kneale

Rome: A History in Seven Sackings

Rome isn't just a millennia-old city. It's been the seat of multiple empires, moments that changed world history and, of course, a battle ground. In Rome: A History in Seven Sackings, British author (and resident of Rome) Matthew Kneale looks at the history of the city through some of its darkest hours, using its near-destructions and resurrections as a novel way to deconstruct how the city became one of the most important in the world.
 
Starting with a Gallic invasion when Rome was barely
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16 of 25
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

by Elizabeth Rush

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Journalist Elizabeth Rush's Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore is science, poetry and personal witness, concerned with human and more-than-human communities. It is a reckoning with the ugly reality of climate change, with numbers and predictions becoming grimmer each year. It is a poetic meditation on the nature of change, on how people can make peace with a changing world and our affect on it. And it is an impassioned consideration of the injustices humans perpetrate on one another
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17 of 25
Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America's "Sport of the Future" Since 1972

Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America's "Sport of the Future" Since 1972

by Michael Davies, Roger Bennett

Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica: A Suboptimal Guide to Soccer, America's "Sport of the Future" Since 1972

Roger Bennett (Rog) and Michael Davies (Davo)--together known as Men in Blazers--post a weekly podcast, host regular television shows on NBCSN and produce soccer-themed short films. Their output is a mix of hard soccer analysis and inside humor, the latter of which is most evident in this, their first book.
 
Both British transplants, they are highly entertaining and extremely funny. Rog is the post-Dennis Miller King of References--some literary, some pop-culture. He wanted to relocate to the
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18 of 25
Little Big Love

Little Big Love

by Katy Regan

Little Big Love

One night in June 2005 changes the lives of a family in Little Big Love by British author Katy Regan. Set in Grimsby, a small fishing village in England, the story is told from three distinct perspectives of the Hutchinson family. Zac is a precocious, inquisitive 11-year-old, who has blue eyes just like his father's. He is obsessed with food, the memory of his deceased Uncle Jamie, a chef who died a tragic death, and finding his father, Liam, who left before Zac was born.
 
Zac's mother,
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19 of 25
The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient

by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient

Helen Hoang's straight-laced heroine in The Kiss Quotient is Stella Lane, a successful Bay Area econometrician in her 30s reluctantly searching for love. Stella is clueless about men and the idea of dating is terrifying, but her traditional mother has already made it clear that she wants grandchildren and Stella is a most obedient daughter.
 
The Kiss Quotient is not a typical romance novel because Stella is not your run-of-the-mill romance heroine. She has a high functioning form of autism,
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20 of 25
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

by Preston Norton

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

Sixteen-year-old Clifford Hubbard is 6'6" and 250 pounds: a "Grand Canyon-assed, Twinkie-and small-children-eating," "solemn warning of Darwinism gone wrong," according to his classmates at Happy Valley High School (HVHS). But most simply call him Neanderthal. To get through, Cliff abides by the "three rules to high school" that his idolized older brother, Shane, established. Rule number one: "It's all bullsh*t." Rule two: "People suck." And rule three: "Fists speak louder than words." Ever since
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21 of 25
Saturday Is Swimming Day

Saturday Is Swimming Day

by Hyewon Yum

Saturday Is Swimming Day

The stomachache ploy can't get a little girl out of her Saturday morning swim lesson. Armed with her "strawberry bathing suit" and "too-small swim cap," she arrives at the pool, where swim teacher Mary offers little comfort. On the "slippery and cold" pool deck overrun by children loud with happy anticipation, the girl remains virtually paralyzed, her head squeezed by her ill-fitting cap, her belly in turmoil. The other students eagerly jump in, but teacher Mary doesn't insist the child participate--she
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22 of 25
Lions & Liars

Lions & Liars

by Kate Beasley, illus. by Dan Santat

Lions & Liars

Ten-year-old Frederick Frederickson is not the guy who wins games and walks around school like he owns the place. He's the guy "who missed the shot and lost the game for everyone else, the one who got laughed at." Frederick's friend Joel has a philosophy about people: some are lions, some are gazelles and some are fleas on meerkat butts. And, although Frederick's always been okay being a "loser," believing that he would one day transform, like Harry Potter becoming a wizard, he's beginning to worry.
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23 of 25
Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous

Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous

by Christopher Bonanos

Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous

Before there was even a word for photojournalism and the front page of the New York Times was still mostly a text-only eye test, Ukrainian immigrant Usher Fellig staked claim to the handle "Weegee the Famous" and nightly prowled the streets of New York City shooting crime scenes and disasters. Across from what was the back door of the Centre Street Police Headquarters building, he kept his 4x5 Speed Graphic camera and flashgun beside his iron cot, ready to go whenever the sirens sounded. In his Weegee
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24 of 25
The Crossing

The Crossing

by Jason Mott

The Crossing

In Jason Mott's dystopian novel The Crossing, a mysterious disease is claiming the lives of the elderly, while a world war sends the young to almost certain death. People wear gas masks, quarantine themselves from loved ones, and throw end-of-the-world parties in a different town every night. Seventeen-year-old Virginia remembers everything she's ever seen, read or heard, including the death of her parents. When her twin brother, Tommy, is drafted, the siblings embark on a disastrous journey to Cape
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25 of 25
Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

by Zora Neale Hurston

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

Zora Neale Hurston's Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo," written in 1931 but unpublished until now, blends autobiography, history and folklore to tell the story of the life of Cudjo Lewis. Born Kossola in what is now Benin and sold into slavery at age 19, he was the oldest known survivor of the last ship to bring enslaved people to the United States. In 1927, Hurston recorded his story.
 
Hurston's original text merges with a substantial introduction by Deborah G. Plant to shore
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