This Week's Best New Books

1 of 26
The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

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The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

by Ken Krimstein

The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

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Political thinker and philosopher Hannah Arendt was a genius, a survivor and a firebrand. Her distinctive perspective on politics and the human condition has influenced countless writers across genres and disciplines. Moreover, her advocacy of cultural critics like Walter Benjamin helped highlight their work. The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt is a graphic novel that plays with memory and thought, most interested in particular points in her life than an encyclopedic retelling of her biography.
 
... [ Read More » ]

2 of 26
A Very Large Expanse of Sea

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea

by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

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In A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Tahereh Mafi, author of the bestselling Shatter Me series, detours from her usual fantasy novels and, for the first time, takes a leap into the world of contemporary fiction.
 
The story is told through the eyes of Shirin, a daughter of Iranian immigrants, who is entering her second year of high school a year after September 11, 2001. Shirin, taunted not only at school but also on the streets, feels cast out, humiliated, angry, and forms a shell between her and
... [ Read More » ]

3 of 26
Born Scared

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Born Scared

by Kevin Brooks

Born Scared

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Winner of the Carnegie Medal, the U.K.'s top prize for children's literature, Kevin Brooks (The Bunker Diary) writes in Born Scared about one teen's struggle with paralyzing anxiety.
 
Elliot has suffered from constant and extreme apprehension--bordering on terror--since birth. Every day, he fights to contain the beast within; he eloquently describes his "fear of fear itself" as "a truly monstrous thing, like a howling demon... an insatiable beast that keeps getting bigger and bigger all the
... [ Read More » ]

4 of 26
Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

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Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

by Alice Walker, trans. by Manuel García Verdecia

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

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In Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart, a collection of poetry rendered in English and Spanish, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) presents a new generation of readers with her harmonic writing and powerful insights. The collection begins with an introduction by the poet, who wishes to respond directly to the spiritual and existential pains of the contemporary moment by investigating an "inevitable need to circle the wound." The poems that follow,
... [ Read More » ]

5 of 26
Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border

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Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border

by Octavio Solis

Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border

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In its physical art form, a "retablo" is a devotional painting on a piece of repurposed metal, offered as a vow of thanks to a higher being for helping someone survive a crisis. Director and prolific playwright Octavio Solis interprets the retablo through the written word in 50 short pieces that soulfully revisit moments in his life as the U.S.-born son of Mexican immigrants. Retablos marvels in its demonstration of the vast understatement of the proverb "Good things come in small packages."
 
... [ Read More » ]

6 of 26
A Person of Pakistani Origins

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A Person of Pakistani Origins

by Ziauddin Sardar

A Person of Pakistani Origins

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A Person of Pakistani Origins is Ziauddin Sardar's ode to what he calls Pakistan's lost identity. The title refers to Sardar's personal odyssey as a British national reclaiming his South Asian roots through his love of Hindi cinema, passion for Urdu literature and poetry, and his large, unruly extended family.
 
Pakistan came into existence in 1947, a result of the British Empire's decision to partition India along religious lines at the end of almost 100 years of colonial rule. Yet the cultural
... [ Read More » ]

7 of 26
The Third Mushroom

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The Third Mushroom

by Jennifer L. Holm

The Third Mushroom

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"Scientists are not robots! We're human! We feel things deeply!" Ellie's grandpa Melvin, who went on a cross-country journey to discover a way to reverse aging in Jennifer L. Holm's The Fourteenth Goldfish, is still stuck in the body of a teenage boy. Melvin reluctantly enrolls in school, where he poses as Ellie's cousin; she's delighted to have him as her partner for the county science fair. Beyond taking advantage of his smarts, Ellie finds time with her teenaged Grandpa to be a reprieve from some
... [ Read More » ]

8 of 26
Africville

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Africville

by Shauntay Grant, illus. by Eva Campbell

Africville

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A modern girl daydreams of how life used to be in the once-thriving black community of Africville in Shauntay Grant (Up Home) and Eva Campbell's picture book collaboration.
 
Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at "the end of the ocean,/ where waves come to rest/ and hug the harbor stones," Africville is a place, the child imagines, where "the houses lay out like a rainbow" and "home/ smells like/ sweet apple pie/ and blueberry duff." With berry picking "up over the hill," playing football at "the
... [ Read More » ]

9 of 26
Its Colours They Are Fine

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Its Colours They Are Fine

by Alan Spence

Its Colours They Are Fine

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First published in 1977, Alan Spence's debut collection of stories, Its Colours They Are Fine, renders the environs and inhabitants of Glasgow with glass-like clarity.
 
This new edition of the celebrated collection features an introduction by Janice Galloway. The first stories offer a portrait of rough-and-tumble children who cause trouble in the city's many tenements. Spence's Scottish dialect captures the national character; adult biases, such as anti-Catholic prejudices, are transmitted
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10 of 26
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

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Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

by David W. Blight

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

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David Blight (American Oracle) is a historian at Yale University who has studied Frederick Douglass and the Civil War for much of his career. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom is a thorough, insightful and vivid examination of the man's personal, public and intellectual life.
 
Those who are familiar with Douglass (1818-1895) may know about his childhood and youth as he described them in his autobiographies. Born and raised a slave, Douglass spent nine years as a fugitive before becoming
... [ Read More » ]

11 of 26
Cry Wilderness

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Cry Wilderness

by Frank Capra

Cry Wilderness

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Frank Capra (It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) was one of the most influential American filmmakers in the 20th century. In the mid-'60s, Capra wrote a novel but never released it. Published 50 years later, Cry Wilderness is a funny, sometimes brutal take on small towns, nature and what it means to be free. The narrator is Capra himself, presenting this tale as a (somewhat) plausible shaggy dog story about the community of Mono County, Calif., where he has a vacation
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12 of 26
The Craftsman

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The Craftsman

by Sharon Bolton

The Craftsman

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"I have no means of knowing exactly what Patricia Wood suffered in the hours following her disappearance. I suppose I should consider that a blessing."
 
Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady of the Metropolitan Police ponders this in 1999, as she returns to the town where she started her career in 1969. She doesn't want to think about what poor little Patricia suffered, but she knows what happened to the kidnapped girl 30 years ago: Patricia was buried alive. In a casket. And she wasn't
... [ Read More » ]

13 of 26
American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

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American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

by America Ferrera, editor

American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures

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What does it mean to be an American, especially if you're an immigrant or have immigrant parents? In this thought-provoking collection of essays, actor and political activist America Ferrera has gathered people she deeply admires to discuss the concept of being American. They are successful Olympic athletes, politicians, writers, actors and others who have faced racism and prejudice because they are not white or speak English with an accent.
 
Many of the stories reflect the turning point, most
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14 of 26
Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

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Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

by Anne Lamott

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

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"Some days there seems to be little reason for hope, in our families, cities, and world," admits essayist Anne Lamott (Hallelujah Anyway; Bird by Bird). "Well, except for almost everything." That exception is the impetus for Lamott's essay collection Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. Lamott, who has made a career out of facing the darkness and then looking for the pinpricks of light, brings her pithy, self-deprecating humor to bear on such topics as a friend's alcoholism, the power of stories ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 26
We Sold Our Souls

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We Sold Our Souls

by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls

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Twenty years ago, Kris Pulaski's dreams were about to come true. She was the fierce lead guitarist for Dürt Würk, a heavy metal band on the precipice of stardom. But today, Kris is 47, managing a Best Western, and about to be kicked out of the family home. Her life has turned into a nightmare.
 
Dürt Würk's lead singer, Terry, wanted fame and fortune--fast. Just as the band completed the album Troglodyte, Terry declared Dürt Würk dead and presented contracts for
... [ Read More » ]

16 of 26
We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory

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We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory

by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet's Culture Laboratory

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When Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian met at the University of Virginia in the early 2000s, each recognized something of himself in the other. Both college students were smart, good with computers and filled with more ambition than most middle-aged CEOs. They also had their differences. Huffman was a quiet, coding savant with a penchant for pranks, and Ohanian was a charming people person. Like Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, they were an ideal duo for launching a tech start-up. Fate agreed, and in
... [ Read More » ]

17 of 26
Unsheltered

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Unsheltered

by Barbara Kingsolver

Unsheltered

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Barbara Kingsolver's Unsheltered takes place in Vineland, N.J., in two eras: the end of the 1800s and the present day. In alternating chapters, the novel relays the life of 21st-century grandmother Willa Knox and 19th-century science teacher Thatcher Greenwood. Knox has just inherited an old, dilapidated house in Vineland, and lives there with her husband, Iano, and her terminally ill, Donald Trump-loving father-in-law, Nick. Also residing there are her rebellious adult daughter, Tig, and depressed
... [ Read More » ]

18 of 26
A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir

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A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir

by Kurt Eichenwald

A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir

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In a career that's included hundreds of articles in publications like the New York Times and Newsweek and books about the collapse of Enron (Conspiracy of Fools) and other corporate scandals, investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald has established himself as a dogged and fearless reporter. But no story he's unearthed is as compelling as the one he tells in his traumatic memoir, A Mind Unraveled. In it he focuses on his battle with epilepsy and the equally fierce fight he
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19 of 26
Listen to the Marriage

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Listen to the Marriage

by John Jay Osborn

Listen to the Marriage

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Whether readers will enjoy John Jay Osborn's Listen to the Marriage depends entirely on whether they're intrigued or horrified by the idea of reading a novel that is, essentially, a year-long transcript of one couple's marital counseling sessions.
 
If that description sends them screaming, they should stay away. But if it doesn't--and perhaps if they're fans of Esther Perel's popular podcast Where Should We Begin?--they may take Osborn's novel as an intimate opportunity to observe the healing
... [ Read More » ]

20 of 26
The Curious Lobster

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The Curious Lobster

by Richard W. Hatch, illus. by Marion Freeman Wakeman

The Curious Lobster

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This delightful edition, titled simply The Curious Lobster, collects in one volume all of the classic Mr. Lobster stories, originally published in The Curious Lobster (1935) and The Curious Lobster's Island (1939). Teacher and author Richard W. Hatch's reissued work includes the original detailed black-and-white engravings by Marion Freeman Wakeman. 
 
Mr. Lobster, bored after 68 years of the same daily routine, ventures onto land because he is inquisitive and wants to know everything about
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21 of 26
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Viviana Mazza

Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree

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Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani's (I Do Not Come to You by Chance) harrowing YA debut is certain to stun readers. Especially staggering is the lengthy afterword by Italian journalist Viviana Mazza explaining that Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is based on interviews with some of the 276 girls kidnapped by extremist group Boko Haram from the village of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria, in 2014.
 
The young Nigerian narrator never tells readers her name, but her parents call her "Ya Ta,"
... [ Read More » ]

22 of 26
How to Leave: Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality

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How to Leave: Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality

by Erin Clune

How to Leave: Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality

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Eventually, in the lives of many, the time comes to uproot. Whether it's to start a family, find a new job or change pace a little, trading the city for the suburbs--or a smaller city--requires an adjustment period that can be filled with anxiety, regret, anger, confusion and homesickness. Fortunately for readers of Erin Clune's manifesto on relocation, they don't have to go through this alone.
 
How to Leave: Quitting the City and Coping with a New Reality documents the transition Clune (Sh*tty
... [ Read More » ]

23 of 26
Gordon Ramsay's Healthy, Lean & Fit: Mouthwatering Recipes to Fuel You for Life

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Gordon Ramsay's Healthy, Lean & Fit: Mouthwatering Recipes to Fuel You for Life

by Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay's Healthy, Lean & Fit: Mouthwatering Recipes to Fuel You for Life

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Decorated chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay shifts from Hell's Kitchen to a healthy kitchen with Gordon Ramsay's Healthy, Lean & Fit: Mouthwatering Recipes to Fuel You for Life.
 
Fans of Ramsay's signature brashness and colorful language will find neither here. Instead, Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay's Home Cooking) adopts a personable tone, writing often of his family and their tastes both in food and fitness. He groups recipes in three sections. In "Healthy," Ramsay shares nourishing,
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24 of 26
City of Crows

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City of Crows

by Chris Womersley

City of Crows

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In 1673, when Charlotte Picot's husband dies of the plague, she leaves her small home village, along with her one remaining son, Nicolas, and searches for a new life. But disaster strikes when ruffians attack them, kidnapping Nicolas and leaving Charlotte for dead. Meanwhile, Adam du Coeuret, also known as Lesage, a tarot card reader imprisoned for performing magic, is set free, and through fate and magic encounters Charlotte. Together, the unlikely duo head to Paris in search of Nicolas. Lesage
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25 of 26
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

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Hank Green, YouTube celebrity and brother of popular YA author John Green, has turned his attention to fiction with a debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.
 
Twenty-something April May is working as a graphic designer when she comes across a giant robot-like statue in Manhattan late one night. She calls her friend Andy to bring his video equipment. The two make a video with the statue, which they nickname Carl, thinking it is an art installation,
... [ Read More » ]

26 of 26
Zola's Elephant

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Zola's Elephant

by Randall de Seve, illus. by Pamela Zagarenski

Zola's Elephant

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In Randall de Sève and Pamela Zagarenski's first picture book collaboration, a nameless young girl imagines that her next-door neighbor lives in a stunning, vibrant world... with a pet elephant. Intricate and beautiful, Zola's Elephant displays a perfect balance of text and illustration while asking all readers to remember that what we think isn't necessarily what is true.

A young girl looks out the window at a family moving in next door. A mini, apple-cheeked Pierrot, the girl is dressed ... [ Read More » ]

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