This Week's Best New Books

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Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death

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Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death

by Caitlin Doughty

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death

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Caitlin Doughty wrote Smoke Gets in Your Eyes to share what she's learned about the mortuary business and, more importantly, about death, with adult readers. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death is a delightful follow-up and expansion on that project, aimed at younger readers but absolutely for adults as well. Doughty's continuing experience in the business (from crematory operator to mortuary owner, with a degree in mortuary science) means ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 26
The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January

by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January expands on one of fantasy literature's most common tropes--magical doors into other worlds--to tell a strikingly original coming-of-age story set in the early 1900s. Alix E. Harrow's debut novel follows January Scaller, a ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke and a curiosity among curiosities. Mr. Locke collects exotic objects from around the world and stores them in his mansion. January's father flits in and out of her life, always sent away by Mr. Locke to find more far-flung ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 26
The Siege of Troy

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The Siege of Troy

by Theodor Kallifatides, trans. by Marlaine Delargy

The Siege of Troy

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Under German occupation, a Greek village has no teacher for its children, until one day a woman appears.

Everything about this teacher is mysterious; the fragments of information that her students piece together fail to explain who she is. She speaks fluent German, she takes long solitary walks at night to visit a friend in a nearby village, she spends time with a handsome German fighter pilot. But these facts lose their importance when Miss and her students take shelter from British bombers in a ... [ Read More » ]

5 of 26
Small in the City

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Small in the City

by Sydney Smith

Small in the City

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At first, there's no reason to suspect that the narrator isn't addressing the reader: "I know what it's like to be small in the city" corresponds with an image of a behatted, bundled-up and backpack-toting child crossing a skyscraper-flanked avenue. But after several pages of what sound like his calls for sympathy ("People don't see you and loud sounds can scare you"), it becomes clear that the boy isn't being self-referential: "But I know you. You'll be all right." What's going on here? As the boy ... [ Read More » ]

7 of 26
Frankly in Love

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Frankly in Love

by David Yoon

Frankly in Love

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High school senior Frank Li is the "silent hyphen" in Korean-American: an entity that bridges two cultures without ever taking a full step toward either one, a "Limbo," as he calls it. "I'm not Korean enough," he thinks, but "not white enough to be fully American." He's expected to study hard, go to a top college and marry a nice Korean girl (unlike his sister, who was disowned when she married a black man). Instead, he falls for an "American" (i.e., white) classmate. To appease his parents and satisfy ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 26
Hope Farm

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Hope Farm

by Peggy Frew

Hope Farm

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Australian author Peggy Frew won the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for her debut novel, House of Sticks, a deeply affecting story about a young woman becoming a mother. With her second novel, Hope Farm, Frew writes from the perspective of a child. This beautifully written story is set in 1985, the year that 13-year-old Silver experiences a series of events that destroy her relationship with her mother.

Told from Silver's adult point-of-view, the story is set on Hope Farm, a hippie commune ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 26
Great Cities Through Travelers' Eyes

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Great Cities Through Travelers' Eyes

by Peter Furtado

Great Cities Through Travelers' Eyes

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In Great Cities Through Travelers' Eyes, Peter Furtado, historian and former editor of History Today magazine, has compiled an armchair travelers' delight. Building on the idea that cities are the most enduring of all historical artifacts, he presents travelers' accounts of 38 cities around the world, from Alexandria in Egypt to Washington, D.C.

Furtado outlines his selection criteria clearly for the reader. All the cities still exist: no romantic musings on the ruins of Persepolis or Machu Picchu ... [ Read More » ]

10 of 26
Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief

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Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief

by Doris Payne, Zelda Lockhart

Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief

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At age 88, Doris Payne (assisted by Zelda Lockhart) looks back at her six decades as an international jewel thief. Diamond Doris is the first time Payne has revealed all aspects of her remarkable life, including the techniques she used to walk out of world-famous jewelry stores with rings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. She and her five siblings were raised in a poor, segregated coal mining town in West Virginia by her boorish black father and doting Native American mother. Early on, Payne ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 26
Bitter English

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Bitter English

by Ahmad Almallah

Bitter English

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How are we formed by language? How do we form the world through language? How are our concepts of who we belong to, and where we might belong, formed? These are some of the questions at the heart of Bitter English, Ahmad Almallah's first collection of poetry--perhaps better thought of as an "autobiography in verse."

Almallah explores the themes of family, home and identity in fluid language. The free verse of the poems allows for a deeper exploration of the construction of culture. The titular poem ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 26
Axiomatic

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Axiomatic

by Maria Tumarkin

Axiomatic

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When Australian literary legend Helen Garner says, "No one can write like Maria Tumarkin," one sits up and pays attention. Cultural historian Tumarkin teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne while writing novels and essays. Axiomatic testifies to Tumarkin's captivation by and insight into sociology; these five extended essays explore themes that stir intriguing communal reaction and response.

In "Time Heals All Wounds," several youth suicides rock a school community. Students grieve ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 26
All the Powers of Earth: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. III, 1856-1860

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All the Powers of Earth: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. III, 1856-1860

by Sidney Blumenthal

All the Powers of Earth: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. III, 1856-1860

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... [ Read More » ]

14 of 26
Out of Darkness, Shining Light

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Out of Darkness, Shining Light

by Petina Gappah

Out of Darkness, Shining Light

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Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah (The Book of Memory) takes  readers on an epic adventure through the wilds of 19th-century Africa in her novel Out of Darkness, Shining Light. Following the men and women who deliver the body of Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone 1,500 miles from Zambia to Zanzibar, the plot evolves through the narration of two members of the group: Livingstone's cook and a Christian freed slave, both individuals who have faded into the obscurity of history. Gappah returns ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 26
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

by Malcolm Gladwell

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know

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"Prejudice and incompetence go a long way toward explaining social dysfunction in America. But what do you do with either of those diagnoses aside from vowing, in full earnestness, to try harder next time?"

This is the question that author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point) strives to answer in Talking to Strangers. It's a slightly anticipatory title, given that Gladwell's focus isn't on the act of conversation with someone perceived as different, but on the common psychological ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 26
Rustic Joyful Food: My Heart's Table

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Rustic Joyful Food: My Heart's Table

by Danielle Kartes

Rustic Joyful Food: My Heart's Table

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Danielle Kartes begins Rustic Joyful Food: My Heart's Table with the story of the journey that led to its creation: a failed bistro, a saved marriage, the loss and rebirth of her lifelong love of cooking, the often difficult creation of the food-based business, of which the cookbook is one part. Joy is not something Kartes takes for granted.

Kartes is not a trained chef. Self-taught, she is eager to share what she knows with home cooks. Her clearly written recipes include helpful information about ... [ Read More » ]

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The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

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The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

by Garrett M. Graff

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

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Journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff (The Threat Matrix) has assembled an outstanding and emotionally wrenching oral history of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. As with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, everyone who lived through the 9/11 attack remembers where they were, and has a story. Thousands of these memories have been collected, edited and arranged for a chronological retelling of those harrowing events. ... [ Read More » ]

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The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh

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The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh

by Supriya Kelkar, illus. by Alea Marley

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh

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Supriya Kelkar's debut picture book, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, affirms through a Sikh boy and his colorful patkas ("a common style [of turban] for young boys") that there is beauty and boldness in self-love and friendship.

Illustrator Alea Marley immediately captures the attention of readers with title page art, extending across two pages, depicting the leaping figure of Harpreet, a swirling rainbow of all the colors he loves whooshing behind him. The first page of the book opens on a joyous ... [ Read More » ]

21 of 26
The World Ends in April

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The World Ends in April

by Stacy McAnulty

The World Ends in April

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To Eleanor Dross, middle school is the worst. But thanks to her overly enthusiastic best friend Mack, whom she has known since kindergarten, it's survivable. Lately, though, mean girl Londyn has been making Eleanor's life miserable and, even worse, Mack keeps talking about transferring to a boarding school for the blind.

When Eleanor stumbles onto a questionable website that claims an asteroid will strike Earth in April--"Code Red. Certain collision. Expect global catastrophe."--she's more intrigued ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 26
Homesick

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Homesick

by Jennifer Croft

Homesick

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Jennifer Croft's Homesick is a startling memoir, stylistically as well as in its content and in the unusual personality it reveals.

Amy and Zoe are very close. This is the defining feature of their young childhood and arguably beyond. The sisters grow up in Tulsa, Okla., where their mother worries over all the possible disasters in the world and their father teaches college. Then the younger sister, Zoe, has her first seizure, and their lives become dominated by more seizures, hospitals, ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 26
The Grammarians

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The Grammarians

by Cathleen Schine

The Grammarians

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When they were children growing up in Larchmont, N.Y., Laurel and Daphne Wolfe were essentially fused particles; their mother feared that her identical twins wouldn't fit in as they went through life because "they seemed to fit nowhere but with each other." When they were five, their father brought home an anvil of a dictionary, sparking the twins' obsession with words, which, while initially a shared passion, ended up coming between them. Could it be that all the words in the world can be insufficient ... [ Read More » ]

24 of 26
Gideon the Ninth

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Gideon the Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth

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In her debut novel, Tasmyn Muir positions her protagonist, Gideon Nav, amid foreboding gothic spaces and reanimated skeletons. It would be a stretch to describe Gideon as grounded--her awe-inspiring talent as a swordswoman is on repeated display--but she is perfectly happy to puncture the stuffy, self-serious air of her companions with crude jokes, puns and even a well-timed "that's what she said."

The novel's action kicks off when Gideon finally receives a chance to leave her oppressive home planet ... [ Read More » ]

25 of 26
The Divers' Game

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The Divers' Game

by Jesse Ball

The Divers' Game

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Jesse Ball (Census) has fashioned a modern allegory about the brutality of society in his dark dystopian novel The Divers' Game.

In this imagined world, humans are divided into two groups, quads and pats. The former are refugees who flood into this unnamed first-world country, much to the chagrin of the pats, the existing citizens. The clash between these two groups leads to a series of inhumane laws. Quads are relegated to slums in the outskirts of the cities, where the rule of law hardly exists, ... [ Read More » ]

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