NOTABLE BOOKS 2012
CHOSEN BY THE LIBRARIANS
OF THE EMMAUS PUBLIC LIBRARY
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Ackroyd, Peter. Foundation: the History of England From Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors. The first in a series of six books by the noted British historian.
Agus, David. The End of Illness. Agus debunks much medical information we think we know.
Arbesman, Samuel. The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date. What we think we know constantly changes; from an expert on the science of science.
Arrowsmith-Young, Barbara. The Woman Who Changed Her Brain and Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation. How the author overcame learning disabilities.
Ashcroft, Frances. The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body. Some of the facts about your own powered-by-electricity-body will shock you.
Bader, Sarah. Lavender Lover’s Handbook: the 100 Most Beautiful and Fragrant Varieties for Growing, Crafting and Cooking. A most lovely book for gardener-chefs.
Barrett, Paul. Glock: the Rise of America’s Gun. Why they’re favored by cops and criminals.
Belluck, Pam. Island Practice. Adventures and quirky characters met by a doctor on Nantucket.
Bergstein, Rachelle. Women From the Ankle Down: the Story of Shoes and How They Define Us. Not as pictorial as we’d expect, but this book reveals the deep meanings of our shoes.
Berlinerblau, Jacques. How to be Secular: a Call to Arms for Religious Freedom. The author argues that a secular society guarantees freedom in ways a religious one cannot.
Biersdorfer, J.D. iPad: the Missing Manual and iPod: the Missing Manual. Great guides.
Birkhead, Tim. Bird Sense: What it’s Like to be a Bird. A new way to think about birds.
Birmingham, Lucy. Strong in the Rain: Surviving Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami, and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. An intense narrative with many eyewitness accounts.
Black, George. Empire of Shadows: the Epic Story of Yellowstone. Colorful and engrossing.
Blum, Andrew. Tubes: a Journey to the Center of the Internet. A jargon-free peek behind the scenes where cyberspace meets hardware. There’s more to our connections than we realize.
Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. A look at India in transition; winner of the National Book Award.
Borneman, Walter. The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King, the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea. These men are the only admirals to achieve 5-star rank.
Borowitz, Andy, editor. The Fifty Funniest American Writers: an Anthology of Humor From Mark Twain to the Onion. Ha! A generous anthology of American wit and humor.
Bowden, Mark. Worm: the First Digital World War. The author of Black Hawk Down outlines the challenges we face and how they’re not being met the way they should.
Bowman, Matthew. The Mormon People: the Making of an American Faith. Comprehensive history that explains the deep devotion of the faithful.
Bram, Christopher. Eminent Outlaws: the Gay Writers Who Changed America. A decade-by-decade look at some of the most influential writers in American literature.
Brawley, Otis. How We Do Harm: a Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America. From overtreating the rich to undertreating the poor, the American medical system needs reform.
Broome, John. Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World. Climate change and philosophy.
Brown, Craig. Hello Goodbye Hello: a Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings. A chain of true encounters of the rich, famous, infamous, admirable and downright scandalous.
Burroughs, Augusten. This is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude and More, for Young and Old Alike. The author of Running With Scissors tells us to stop obsessing on our own sweet selves.
Cain, Susan. Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Anywhere from one half to one third of Americans are introverts---and that’s a good thing for everybody.
Cantu, Robert. Concussions and Our Kids. An authoritative look at a current crisis in sports.
Carvajal, Doreen. The Forgetting River: a Modern Tale of Survival, Identity, and the Inquisition. A journalist discovers the rich history of her family’s hidden Jewish past.
Chafe, William. Bill and Hillary: the Politics of the Personal. How they depend on one another no matter what; one of the most powerful political marriages in American history.
Chamovitz, Daniel. What a Plant Knows: a Field Guide to the Senses. Plants can have human-like responses to their environment and they know more than we realize.
Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It. 1861 and 1862 volumes have been published so far.
Clegg, Brian. Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives. Most theories of the universe find gravity perplexing; Clegg tries to explain it in math-free terms.
Climate Central. Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Parching Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future. Written by a non-partisan, fact-based group.
Cohen, Linda. 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire, and Change Your Life. A guide to helping others, for people of all faiths.
Collins, Gail. As Texas Goes: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda. A very funny, very articulate writer explains the outsized influence of this big state.
Conran, Terence. Eco House Book. A guide for responsible building and renovating.
Coren, Stanley. Do Dogs Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know. An easy way to learn about what’s really going on between that wet nose and wagging tail.
Cregan, Lisa. House Beautiful Kitchens: Creating a Beautiful Kitchen of Your Own. Advice from designers, architects, and chefs.
Dalai Lama. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. Tolerance and ethics will save us.
DeGeneres, Ellen. Seriously….I’m Kidding. As funny here as she is on television.
Diamandis, Peter. Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think. Finally! An optimist!
Dodson, James. American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf. A sunny, very informative look at the giants of the sport.
Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Whether we’re aware of it or not, recurrent behavior patterns shape and re-shape our brains.
Dyson, George. Turing’s Cathedral: the Origins of the Digital Universe. Alan Turing was a giant of early automation; this thorough, readable history of the computer is fascinating.
Earley, Pete. The Serial Killer Whisperer. A disabled man gets killers to reveal dark secrets.
Eberhardt, Nikolai. Who Are We? The True Story of Humanity. A former Lehigh physicist takes on the history of human behavior.
Fallows, James. China Airborne: Aviation and the Future of China. In this follow-up to his Postcards From Tomorrow Square, Fallows continues his study of a rapidly growing nation.
Feinstein, John. One on One: Behind the Scenes With the Greats in the Game. A sportswriter’s encounters with the great players in football, baseball, basketball, tennis and golf.
Fleischmann, Arthur. Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism. When 10-year old Carly began writing on a computer, it was the first time she ever communicated with her parents.
Fletcher, Catherine. The Divorce of Henry VIII: the Untold Story From Inside the Vatican. Here’s the familiar tale from a new angle which gives us a glimpse of 16th c. diplomacy.
Fortey, Richard. Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: the Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind. They’ve been barely touched by evolution since the Paleozoic Era.
Fox, John. The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game. Ball games have shaped cultures.
Fox, Julia. Sister Queens: The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castille. Daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, these sisters led highly dramatic lives.
Franzen, Jonathan. Farther Away: Essays. He spans the globe considering contemporary issues.
Friedman, Matti. The Aleppo Codex: a True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of An Ancient Book. Dating to the 10th century, the Codex is the most accurate Hebrew Bible.
Galuska, Peter. Thunder on the Mountain: Death at Massey and the Dirty Secrets Behind Big Coal. Flagrant, persistent disregard of safety regulations has resulted in multiple tragedies.
Gertner, Jon. The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. Five decades of brilliant thinkers and their inventions.
Groom, Winston, Shiloh, 1862: The First Great and Terrible Battle of the Civil War. Stirring, vivid history from the author of Forrest Gump.
Groth, Janet. The Receptionist: an Education at the New Yorker. What one woman learned about writers and herself working at the front desk of the great literary magazine.
Gugliotta, Guy. Freedom’s Cap: the United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War. How a decrepit building was transformed to a monumental one----in wartime.
Hadden, Evelyn. Beautiful No-Mow Yards: Fifty Amazing Lawn Alternatives. She even addresses the question of how to placate alarmed neighbors who expect conformity.
Hanley, Victoria. Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market. Young adult books are a thriving part of the publishing industry, one of the few.
Harden, Blaine. Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West. A gripping tale of a man escaping horrific conditions.
Hawthorne, Fran. Ethical Chic: the Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love. A close look at Trader Joes, Timberland, Toms of Maine, Apple, Starbucks and American Apparel.
Herbert, Martha. The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be. New treatments are few, but there are some strategies that work better than others.
Hill, Clint. Mrs. Kennedy and Me. Hill was her bodyguard before and after the assassination.
Hirsch, Lee. Bully: an Action Plan for Teachers, Parents and Communities to Combat the Bullying Crisis. A companion book to the award-winning film.
Holt, Jim. Why Does the World Exist? Synthesizing philosophy and cutting-edge science.
Hughes, Steve. The Homebuilt Winery: 43 Projects for Building and Using Winemaking Equipment. A hands-on, thorough guide from a multi-talented professional.
Humes, Edward. Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. Did you know that America’s biggest export is trash? What does this say about our culture and our future?
Jacobs, Jack. Basic: Surviving Boot Camp and Basic Training. For those thinking of enlisting.
Jaffe, Steven. New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear and Intrigue in Gotham. The definitive history of conflict in the Big Apple.
Jones, Nigel. Tower: an Epic History of the Tower of London. 1000 years of its history.
Kean, Sam. The Violinist’s Thumb and Other Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written in Our Genetic Code. Genes explain amazing things. He also wrote The Disappearing Spoon.
King, Ross. Leonardo and the Last Supper. Engrossing history of a quirky genius and his various masterpieces including the Last Supper and his famous bronze horse.
Kluger, Jerzy. The Pope and I: How the Lifelong Friendship Between a Polish Jew and John Paul II Advanced Jewish-Christian Relations. A remarkable story of a lifelong friendship.
Knelman. Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art. Stolen art funds an enormous global black market, it’s a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
Kozol, Jonathan. Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-five Years Among the Poorest Children in America. Kozol returns to those he portrayed in Amazing Grace and learns remarkable stories.
Kram, Mark. Like Any Normal Day: a Story of Devotion. A high school quarterback suffers a spinal injury and 25 years later makes a right-to-die decision.
Krauss, Lawrence. A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing. According to Krauss, the stars died so we could be born: new mind-blowing theories.
Krist, Gary. City of Scoundrels: the Twelve Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago. A blimp crash and a race riot are just the beginning of one horrific time in Chicago.
Kushner, Harold. The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person. An ancient story has much to teach us today.
Lamott, Anne. Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. When her son became a father at age 19, Lamott responded in frantic and funny ways.
Laskas, Jeanne Marie. Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work. Our hardest workers.
Lehrer, Jonah. Imagine: How Creativity Works. Lehrer uses science to explore the minds of various artists. He also finds that immigrants account for the greatest numbers of new patents.
Lepore, Jill. The Mansion of Happiness: a History of Life and Death. Our view of life has changed much over the years, particularly since the publication of pictures of in-utero fetuses.
Lester, Toby. Da Vinci’s Ghost: the Untold Story of the World’s Most Famous Painting. The spread-armed Vitruvian Man’s image was sent on the Voyager deep-space probe.
Logan, William. Air: the Restless Shaper of the World. The third in Logan’s trilogy that includes Dirt and Oak. Small changes in earth’s air can have massive consequences.
Macintyre, Ben. Double Cross: the True Story of the D-Day Spies. How spies and double agents helped defeat the Nazis. Riveting.
Maddow, Rachel. Drift: the Unmooring of American Military Power. Maddow contends that there is so little oversight of the military that gigantic sums of money are wasted.
Maitland, Leslie. Crossing the Borders of Time: a True Story of War, Exile, and Love Reclaimed. Lovers separated by the Nazi invasion of France are eventually reunited.
Malone, Michael. The Guardian of All Things: the Epic Story of Human Memory. A rich interdisciplinary study that concludes, among other things, that the internet is a universal brain.
Massie, Bob. A Song in the Night: a Memoir of Resilience. Born with hemophilia, Massie attended Harvard and Yale Divinity School and now advocates for corporate responsibility.
Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Book. A thorough and up-to-date resource directed at patients.
McCallum, Jack. Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World And Changed the Game of Basketball Forever. The award-winning Sports Illustrated author makes basketball come alive.
McGee, William. Attention All Passengers: the Airlines’ Dangerous Descent and How to Reclaim the Skies. As the airlines outsource more of their jobs, passengers have suffered.
McGuire, Bill. Waking the Giant: How a Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes. Millions of years of geologic history point to trouble to come.
McMillan, Tracie. The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. Modern marketing too often results in substandard food.
Mendez, Antonio. Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. The amazing story of the Iran hostage crisis on which the movie is based.
Meyer, Dakota. Into the Fire: a Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War. A Medal of Honor winner’s tale of inept leaders and great risk-taking.
Montgomery, David. The Rocks Don’t Lie: a Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood. Very well written explanation of where myths end and science begins.
Moody, Raymond. Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife. Moody writes often on these issues and he’s the one who coined the phrase “near-death experience.”
Moore, Charles. Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans. Plastics pervade the oceans in unimaginable ways.
Moran, Caitlin. How to be a Woman. Provocative insights and funny observations on feminist issues from workplace conflicts to strip clubs to dieting, and her own writing career.
Moss-Sprague, Mary. Stand Up and Garden: the No-digging, No-tilling, No-stooping Approach to Growing Vegetables and Herbs. A wonderful resource for those with tired knees.
Nargi, Lela. Knitting Around the World: a Multistranded History of a Time-Honored Tradition. An excellent global view of a warm and cozy craft.
Natterson-Horowitz, Barbara. Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing. The startling parallels between animal and human health and behavior.
New York Diaries, 1609-2009. Vivid and compelling first-person accounts of a great city..
O’Connor, Anne-Marie. Lady in Gold: the Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Now in New York, this painting is stunning.
O’Reilly, Killing Kennedy: the End of Camelot. The popular Fox News personality follows up his book Killing Lincoln with this study of the JFK assassination.
Owen, Mark. No Easy Day: the Autobiography of a Navy SEAL: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden. Controversial, yes, but his account is the first.
Paul, Christina. Love Isn’t Supposed to Hurt. The CNN anchor’s story of her abusive marriage.
Penn, Thomas.Winter Kings: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England. Not as famous as his son, HenryVII was a paranoid, Machiavellian ruler whose life makes for entertaining reading.
Quammen, David. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. A tour de force of science reporting. Zoonotic diseases include Ebola and AIDS and possibly many more.
Rashid, Ahmed. Pakistan on the Brink: the Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan. A lucid, expert follow-up to his book Descent Into Chaos.
Rendell, Ed. A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. The former governor has lost none of his enthusiasm for blunt analysis of a too-hesitant society.
Roberts, Barbara. The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-lowering Drugs. An eye-opening look at powerful drugs that might not even be that effective.
Roberts, Callum. The Ocean of Life: the Fate of Man and the Sea. A searing account of modern fishing industries and what it will take to save our seas.
Robinson, Gene. God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage. The Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire sees this issue from many sides and takes a gentle, calm approach.
Roffman, Deborah. Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go To” Person about Sex. Helpful approaches and non-clinical advice.
Rutkow, Eric. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of A Nation. A unique history of our forests that spans 400 years of American history.
Sacks, Oliver. Hallucinations. The popular neurologist studies all kinds of hallucinations including seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling things that are not there.
Schofield, Michael. January First: a Child’s Descent into Madness and Her Father’s Struggle to Save Her. A harrowing memoir of childhood schizophrenia that ends with hope.
Sixsmith, Martin. Russia: a 1,000-Year Chronicle of the Wild East. Fascinating history.
Small, Gary. The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life. This guide to optimizing brain health includes a detailed to-do list.
Smith, Hedrick. Who Stole the American Dream? Smith sees the gross inequality of average pay scales of workers vs. CEOs as possibly the biggest threat to American democracy.
Smolenyak, Megan. Hey, America, Your Roots are Showing: Adventures in Discovering News-Making Connections, Unexpected Ancestors, and Long-Hidden Secrets and Solving Historical Puzzles. A breezy, fun book from the “Indiana Jones of Genealogy.”
Solomon, Andrew. Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. Monumental. How parents can learn from children who are very different than themselves.
Steel, Danielle. A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless. The mega-bestselling author fell into a deep depression after the death of her son; helping the homeless proved a great help to her.
Stephenson, Michael. The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die in Battle. The author covers ancient battles to today’s in a one-of-a-kind examination of a difficult topic.
Stott, Rebecca. Darwin’s Ghosts: the Secret History of Evolution. Darwin didn’t do it alone; he stood on the shoulders of scientists’ work stretching back 2000 years.
Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail. A young woman finds strength she didn’t know she possessed while solo hiking 1100 miles. An Oprah book selection.
Sykes, Bryan. DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America. A non-technical introduction to the broad sweep of our genetic history with many surprises concerning Native Americans.
Talbott, Mona. Zuppe: Soups from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome and the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Italian cooking at its cozy best.
Talty, Stephen. Agent Garbo: the Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day. Garbo is mentioned in McIntyre’s book on D-Day; here’s the full story.
Teresi, Dick. The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating-heart Cadavers: How Medicine is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death. Yikes! Who’s dead? Who’s not?
Thomas, Evan. Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World. Ike is revealed to be a clever, crafty, and very insightful leader. But we knew that, didn’t we?
Toobin, Jeffrey. The Oath: the Obama White House vs. the Supreme Court. An expert’s inside look at the inner workings of the Court and Obama’s relationship with it.
Tough, Paul. How Children Succeed: Rethinking Character and Intelligence. The author says that non-cognitive skills of persistence, self-control, and curiosity really determine success.
Tye, Larry. Superman: the High-flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero. The definitive history of an American comic book superhero and pop culture icon.
Velasquez-Manoff, Moises. An Epidemic of Absence: a New Way of Understanding Allergies and Auto-immune Diseases. A consideration of the importance of helpful parasites.
Vernikos, Joan. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death---and Exercise Won’t. Try to never sit for more than an hour.
Wagler, Ira. Growing Up Amish: a Memoir. An eye-opening, unsentimental autobiography.
Wasik, Bill. Rabid: a Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus. A highly informative history of rabies, a disease which influenced our ideas of vampires and werewolves.
Weidensaul, Scott. The First Frontier: the Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America. From the earliest settlers to the French and Indian War.
Weiner, Tim. Enemies: A History of the FBI. A thorough study using recently declassified documents to reveal more than we’ve known before.
Weinstein, Bruce. Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day. A lovely cookbook with a wide variety of meals for every diet.
White, Matthew. The Great Big Book of Horrible Things: the Definitive Chronicle of History’s 100 Worst Atrocities. Mankind has a violent, but strangely interesting history.
Wiencek, Harry. Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves. One reviewer described this as a “deeply unsettling” history that reveals much about a founding father.
Williams, Florence. Breasts: a Natural and Unnatural History. Williams looks at breasts as unique ecosystems that are undergoing chemical assault.
Wilson, Andrew. Shadow of the Titanic: the Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived. New information on the 705 people who did not perish in the North Atlantic shipwreck.
Wolman, David. The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers and the Coming Cashless Society. The author lived for a year without cash to prove it can be done.
Wolmar, Christian. The Great Railroad Revolution: the History of Trains in America. The rise and fall of a monumental American achievement. How we miss the trains.
Wulf, Andrea. Chasing Venus: the Race to Measure the Heavens. The 18th c. effort to track the transit of Venus and measure the solar system; a great scientific enterprise.
Zinczenko, David. Eat This Not That 2013: the No-diet Weight Loss Solution. The author does a great service in revealing the astonishingly high calories in processed and restaurant food.
Abbott, Megan, Dare Me. Skullduggery in a high school cheerleading squad includes murder.
Almond, Steve. God Bless America. Hilarious short stories with much social commentary.
Amirrezvani, Anita. Equal of the Sun. 1579 Iran. The Shah dies without naming an heir and power struggles ensue when the princess refuses to marry. Exquisite.
Amis, Martin. Lionel Asbo: State of England. Dickensian tale of a gritty Liverpool; thugs can make for entertaining reading.
Andersen, Kurt. True Believers. A Supreme Court nominee’s radical past resurfaces.
Attenberg, Jami. The Middlesteins. A masterpiece of Jewish fiction; a poignant family saga of what to do when Mom tops 300 pounds and Dad doesn’t like it.
Ballard, J.G. Millennium People. A grieving widower joins a terrorist gang to learn who killed his wife; there’s more humor in this tale than you might expect. .
Banville, John. Ancient Light. The line between memory and fantasy is the subject here.
Barclay, Linwood. Trust Your Eyes. A Reclusive, computer-obsessed man sees a murder happen online—or does he? Shades of Hitchcock’s Rear Window.
Bass, Jefferson. The Inquisitor’s Key. A thriller involving the Shroud of Turin and the possible bones of Jesus.
Binet, Laurent. HHhH. Czech agents attempt to assassinate Hitler’s right-hand man. Riveting historical fiction.
Blake, Robin. A Dark Anatomy. Georgian England; the early use of forensics solves a murder.
Boyd, William. Waiting for Sunrise. A stylish London actor goes to Vienna for mental health treatment just as WWI begins. Boyd is an under-appreciated author who never fails to satisfy.
Boyle, T.C. San Miguel. Two families struggle to make their lives on an island off California.
Buckley, Christopher. They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? A satire of US/China relations.
Byatt, A.S. Ragnarok: the End of the Gods. A retelling of the finale of the Norse myths by a master novelist; a perfect book for times in which our planet is threatened in so many ways.
Cain, Chelsea. Kill You Twice. A fresh, compelling thriller; the Beauty Killer is back!
Card, Orson Scott. Earth Unaware: the First Formic War. Humans voyaging beyond Pluto are about to encounter some alien life forms.
Carter, Stephen. The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln. Alternative history in which Lincoln is not assassinated, but must fight for his job and reputation in a page-turning courtroom drama.
Castro, Joy. Hell or High Water. Post-Katrina New Orleans: a young woman is kidnapped in a crowded restaurant; this is a fiercely intense suspense novel.
Chabon, Michael. Telegraph Avenue. Two friends run a used record store that’s threatened by corporate development at the same time their wives’ midwifery practice is under attack.
Clark, Clare. Beautiful Lies. London woman hides her humble origins with an exotic persona.
Clark, Marcia. Guilt by Degrees. A homeless man’s murder is linked to cop killing. This is top legal fiction from the former prosecutor of the O.J. Simpson trial.
Cleave, Chris. Gold. Rivalry between Olympic women cyclists; he wrote Little Bee.
Coelho, Paulo. Aleph. A spiritual crisis on the Trans-Siberian Railway by the Chilean author of The Alchemist.
Cooper, Mike. Clawback. The dark side of Wall Street; a riveting financial thriller.
Coplin, Amanda. The Orchardist. Early 20th c. and a solitary farmer is visited by two young women needing his help. One of the best novels of the year.
Crombie.No Mark Upon Her. A rower’s body found along the Thames during the prestigious Henley Regatta; an interesting plot.
Cumming, Charles. A Foreign Country. Why is a top British agent in hiding, and from whom?
Cutter, Kimberly. The Maid: a Novel of Joan of Arc. Penetrating and historically accurate.
Dallas, Sandra. True Sisters. The Mormons’1,300 mile journey west—pushing handcarts---as seen through the eyes of the women.
Dau, Stephen. The Book of Jonas. A refugee boy is sent to Pennsylvania; described by Kirkus Reviews as “a literary tour de force.”
Dean, Debra. The Mirrored World. Three women and their marriages in 18th c. St. Petersburg; sumptuous fiction by the author of The Madonnas of Leningrad.
Delius, Friedrich. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman. Rome, 1943.A young pregnant German woman waits for her husband’s return from fighting in North Africa. A masterpiece.
Desai, Anita. The Artist of Disappearance. Three beautifully-written tales of modern India.
Diaz, Junot. This is How You Lose Her. Sharp, morally-challenging short stories.
Doig, Ivan. The Bartender’s Tale. Montana; a boy learns much hanging around his father’s bar.
Eggers, Dave. A Hologram for the King. An American salesman assigned to Saudi Arabia makes a daring effort for financial security. A moving tale of a man in the midst of globalization.
Engelmann, Karen. The Stockholm Octavo. A man in 18th c. Sweden is told by a fortune teller that he must find eight people who can make or break the king’s future.
Erdrich, Louise. The Round House. Crime on a North Dakota reservation. This year’s National Book Award winner.
Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl. A perfect wife disappears; did her husband kill her?
Follett, Ken. Winter of the World. The second in Follet’s Century trilogy continues the five-family saga through WWII. Read the first, Fall of Giants, and you’ll be hooked.
Ford, Richard. Canada. A masterpiece; a boy’s parents rob a bank, then flee the country.
Fountain, Ben. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. An epic novel of returning Iraq vets who are cajoled into taking part in a nationwide “victory tour.” A wise and memorable book.
Frankel, Laurie. Goodbye for Now. Should we email the dead? A poignant, fascinating tale.
Freemantle, Brian. Red Star Burning. A British spy’s secret marriage causes all sorts of trouble.
French, Tana. Broken Harbor. Dublin. Three bodies in an abandoned housing development. The Irish writer is a master of the psycho-thriller.
Friedman, Donald. Don’t Ever Get Old. A geezer cop on the trail of a Nazi camp guard.
Fury, Dalton. Black Site. Delta Force’s search for Bin Laden; authentic action/adventure.
Gage, Eleni. Other Waters. A psychiatrist in the US goes home to India to settle a dispute regarding property that may be cursed.
Gavin, Rick. Ranchero. A repo man has to find a mint-condition 1969 car; a romp of a tale.
Gebbie, Vanessa. The Coward’s Tale. We love a story where the librarian’s name is Factual Phillips. A charming tale because, of course, librarians are charming.
Goolrick, Robert. Heading out to Wonderful. A gothic tale of a man going wrong by the author of The Reliable Wife.
Haddon, Mark. The Red House. A Welsh holiday brings out the drama of family relationships; by the author of The Strange Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Harkaway, Nick. Angelmaker. LeCarre’s son tells a story featuring a Doomsday machine.
Harkness, Deborah. Shadow of Night is an exciting sequel to her Discovery of Witches.
Harman, Patricia. The Midwife of Hope River.1930’s rural life; historical fiction at its best.
Harris, Robert. The Fear Index. Wall Street as we haven’t seen it--yet---machines come to life.
Hawley, Noah. The Good Father. A father tries to comprehend his son’s shocking crime.
Hayder, Mo. Hanging Hill. A police procedural that skirts the supernatural.
Heller, Peter. The Dog Stars. A post-pandemic society living in an airport and finding hope.
Helprin, Mark. In Sunlight and in Shadow. A love story set in post WWII California.
Henkin, Joshua. The World Without You. A family gathers after a war reporter’s death in Iraq.
Higashino, Keigo. Salvation of a Saint. A marvelous story of detection; a real puzzler by the author of The Devotion of Suspect X.
Hill, Gregory. East of Denver. Incompetent criminals plus a senile father equal black comedy.
Holt, Anne. 1222. A sharp mystery similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
Howe, Katherine. The House of Velvet and Glass.1915 Boston. A family tries spiritualism to connect with loved ones lost on the Titanic; by the author of Deliverance Dane.
Hunter, Stephen. Soft Target. A gunman at the Mall of America. A gripping hostage tale.
Hurwitz, Gregg. The Survivor. A man about to commit suicide sees a crime and intervenes.
Irving, John. In One Person. Vermont setting; narrated by a man struggling with sexual identity.
Jonasson, Jonas. The 100-year Old Man Who Climbed out the Window. A man whose life spanned the world decides it’s too early to settle down and he skips out of the nursing home.
Josefson, Dan. That’s Not a Feeling. A decidedly odd boarding school and its denizens.
Joyce, Rachel. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. A man’s long-ago friend is dying and he walks the length of England to see her one more time. Genteel charm and British quirkiness.
Keesey, Anna. Little Century. A sheep rancher vs. a cattleman; they hate each other but a young woman loves them both.
Keller, Julia. A Killing in the Hills. A tough prosecutor in West Virginia is in grave danger after three men are shot in a fast food restaurant. A twisty, unpredictable plot.
Kingsolver, Barbars. Flight Behavior.An Appalachian woman encounters a remarkable sight that may be an omen of troubles to come.
Landay, William. Defending Jacob. A school killing happens and a father confronts hard realities; how much was his son at fault?
Lawson, Mike. House Blood. A lone researcher has what might be an Alzheimer’s cure, but big pharmaceutical companies are about to muscle their way in.
Lightman, Alan. Mr. G. The Creator himself explains how this whole shebang got started.
Lippman, Laura. And When She Was Good. A Baltimore honor student’s downfall; wit and suspense both.
Lively, Penelope. How it All Began. The butterfly effect: small actions have big consequences for a London teacher. Described by Library Journal as a “feel-good masterpiece.”
Majmudar, Amit. Partitions. When India and Pakistan parted ways; a top historical fiction book.
Malliet, G.M. Wicked Autumn. A village, a vicar, a murder; all the elements in a delightful tale.
Manfredi, Valerio. A Winter’s Night. WWI refugees find shelter in the barn on a remote Italian farm and over the course of a snowy night, they tell their various tales.
Mantel, Hilary. Bring up the Bodies. 2nd in a trilogy following Wolf Hall. Henry VIII’s reign from inside the mind of Thomas Cromwell, his closest advisor. Both books won Booker prizes.
Mathews, Francine. Jack 1939. A vivid, sexy historical novel featuring JFK as a young spy.
Mawer, Simon. Trapeze. A female secret agent in WWII parachutes into France. Very exciting.
Maxwell, Robin. Jane, the Woman who Loved Tarzan. Her side of the adventurous tale.
McCarthy, Morgan. The Other Half of Me. The sad glamour of a rich dysfunctional family in Wales; one reviewer predicts this will be a PBS series someday.
McCullough, Colleen. The Prodigal Son. Deadly poison is missing from a lab; a stunning, shocking novel by the author of The Thorn Birds.
McEwan, Ian. Sweet Tooth. Literary types recruited as spies; is that a good idea?
Mills, Mark. House of the Hunted. Can’t a spy get a break? This one goes to the Riviera for a vacation, but trouble follows right along.
Moehringer, J.R. Sutton. Willy Sutton robbed banks and his story has seldom been told better.
Moore, Christopher. Sacre Bleu; a Comedy d’Art. Moore’s unique take on the artists of Paris.
Moore, Liz. Heft. Outstanding; a reclusive, hugely obese professor befriends a lonely student.
Moore, Susanna. The Life of Objects. An Irish teen works for a rich German family and flees with them when WWII starts.
Moriarity, Laura. The Chaperone. A young Jazz Age singer from Kansas must have a chaperone while in New York while the chaperone has her own plans for being in the big city.
Moriarty, Liane. The Hypnotist’s Love Story. A therapist is stalked by an ex-girlfriend. Witty.
Mortimer, John. Forever Rumpole: the Best of the Rumpole Stories. Long live Rumpole!
Munro, Alice. Dear Life. Short stories by a modern master of the form.
Nissenson, Hugh. The Pilgrim. Plymouth, 1625; an intimate look at the Pilgrims’ lives.
Norfolk, Lawrence. John Saturnall’s Feast. An cook must convince a nobleman’s daughter to eat, and he calls on ancient secrets imparted by his mother who may have been a witch.
Olmstead, Robert. The Coldest Night. Life and love affairs are interrupted by the Korean War.
O’Nan, Stewart. The Odds. A couple on the brink of financial ruin runs away to Niagara Falls.
Otto, Whitney. Eight Girls Taking Pictures. The story of eight fictional photographers whose stories span the 20th century.
Owen, Howard. Oregon Hill. A reporter seeks to revitalize his career by covering a murder; by the author of Littlejohn.
Pavone, Chris. The Expats. A man and wife, both secret agents stationed in Luxembourg, are keeping dangerous secrets from each other.
Pearl, Matthew. The Technologists. MIT brains and technology battle evil in 1860’s Boston.
Pearlman, Elliot. The Street Sweeper. This is a novel about immigrants in New York City, but it’s really about the human condition and issues everyone faces.
Perry, Thomas. Poison Flower. A policewoman is kidnapped; original, gripping crime fiction by one of the most original writers of this genre.
Peters, Ralph. Cain at Gettysburg. Brilliant Civil War fiction; action-packed, accurate history.
Pratchett, Terry. The Long Earth. A 13 yr. old reclusive genius invents a machine to travel to parallel universes. By the master of jolly science fiction.
Quirk, Matthew. The 500. Corruption in D.C? Apparently so; in this novel, 500 within-the-beltway people wield unlimited power. A page-turner.
Rash, Ron. The Cove. A superstitious, lonely woman meets a mysterious stranger in Appalachia.
Rees, Matt. Mozart’s Last Aria. Was Mozart poisoned? A beautiful tale of mystery.
Rees, Rod. The Demi-Monde: Winter. A top sci-fi book and an imaginative cliff-hanger.
Reilly, Matthew. Scarecrow Returns. Five hours to save the world from a doomsday weapon.
Rimington, Stella. The Geneva Trap. Well-plotted; she really knows British intelligence.
Rogan, Charlotte. The Lifeboat. A morally-complex tale of survival among shipwreck victims.
Rowling, J.K. The Casual Vacancy. A vacancy on the town council opens rifts in a quiet town.
Russell, Mary Doria. Doc. That would be Doc Holliday in a vivid look at the Texas frontier.
Shaara, Jeff. A Blaze of Glory: a Novel of the Battle of Shiloh. 1st in a new Civil War trilogy.
Shapiro, B. A. The Art Forger. How did she get in this mess? An artist is forging stolen artworks.
Sharratt, Mary Illuminations: a Novel of Hildegard von Bingen. Upset by her visions, her family sent her to a convent at age eight where she grew up to became a highly respected abbess.
Shepher, Lynn. The Solitary House. Characters from Dickens’ Bleak House appear in this novel that Booklist described as a “Victorian tour de force.”
Simon, Rachel. The Story of Beautiful Girl. Two friends escape from a home for the disabled.
Sloan, Robin. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Can Google solve the mystery of some ancient books and the eccentric folk who visit a bookstore in the middle of the night?
Spiegelman, Peter. Thick as Thieves. Computer geek meets financial wizard. Fine writing.
Stachniak, Eva. The Winter Palace: a Novel of Catherine the Great. Superb, extravagant fiction; the first in a projected trilogy.
Stedman, M. L. The Light Between Oceans. An Australian lighthouse keeper makes a startling discovery.
Steinhauer, Olen. An American Spy. The author’s been called the best spymaster since LeCarre.
Swift, Graham. Wish You Were Here. Everything changes when a man’s brother goes to Iraq.
Todd, Charles. An Unmarked Grave. 1918; a battlefield nurse solves a tough mystery.
Toibin, Colm. The Testament of Mary. In her later years, Mary reflects on the life of her son Jesus and comes to some stunning conclusions. A thought-provoking, astonishing novella.
Trigiani Adriana. The Shoemaker’s Wife. Two star-crossed lovers meet again in Little Italy.
Tsukiyama, Gail. A Hundred Flowers. An outspoken intellectual is arrested during the Cultural Revolution and his family must learn how to cope in the midst of dangerous politics.
Tyler, Anne. The Beginner’s Goodbye. A grieving widower finds comfort in an unlikely way.
Unsworth, Barry. The Quality of Mercy. A slave ship owner is brought to justice. Quality fiction from the late British author.
Vargas Llosa, Mario. The Dreams of the Celt. A man, knighted for denouncing colonial abuse in Africa and South America, turns his attention to Ireland and is punished. Based on fact.
Walter, Jess. Beautiful Ruins. 1960’s Italy. A beautiful actress flees the set of Cleopatra and comes to the tiny Hotel Adequate View. A delightful tale in which Richard Burton pays a visit.
Warren, Dianne. Juliet in August. One day in the lives of characters in a Saskatchewan town; a Canadian prize winner.
Wiesel, Elie. Hostage. A small book that addresses the intense sweep of modern Jewish history.
Wilson, G. Willow. Alif the Unseen. Edgy urban fiction: the Arab Spring releases the jinns.
Winter, Ariel. The Twenty-Year Death. A monumental work that includes three crime novels written in three different classic, hard-boiled, styles.
Wolitzer, Hilma. An Available Man. A widower’s family places a personal ad in his name.
Wright, Tom. What Dies in Summer. A southern gothic featuring teens who discover a body.
Albright, Madeleine. Prague Winter: a Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948. In her fifties, the former Secretary of State discovered her shocking family history.
Anderson, Christopher. Mick. A popular biographer takes on the life of Mick Jagger.
Bown, Stephen. The Last Viking: the Life of Roald Amundsen. Amundsen explored both the North and South Poles and added a vast amount to the understanding of the earth.
Brinkley, Alan. John F. Kennedy. Part of the American Presidents series; a concise biography.
Callow, Simon. Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World. Dickens was a remarkable actor as well as a beloved novelist.
Carnarvon, Fiona. Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle. An aristocrat, Lady Almina proved to be remarkably brave in WWI.
Caro, Robert. The Passage of Power: the Years of Lyndon Johnson. Caro continues his magisterial study of one of the most powerful presidents in American History.
Cohen, Rich. The Fish That Ate the Whale: the Life and Times of America’s Banana King. The spirited life of Samuel Zemurray, a Russian Jewish immigrant who found riches in bananas.
Collins, Gail. William Henry Harrison. Collins, a witty and insightful author, describes Harrison’s life, his early death, and his 32-day career as President. .
Deford, Frank. Overtime: My Life as a Sportswriter. The Sports Illustrated writer and NPR commentator was an athlete himself before becoming a writer in a field that has changed greatly.
Dykstra, Natalie. Clover Adams: a Gilded and Heartbreaking Life. The wife of the eminent historian Henry Adams lived a wealthy and tragic life.
Eade, Philip. Prince Philip; the Turbulent Early Life of the Man Who Married Queen Elizabeth. A highly readable biography that at times reads like a thriller.
Ferguson, Kitty. Stephen Hawking: an Unfettered Mind. An update of her earlier biography, this book makes us appreciate all the more the brilliant physicist and great man of science.
Fisher, Carrie. Shockaholic. The actress continues her revealing and entertaining biography.
Guy, John. Thomas Beckett: Warrior, Priest, Rebel. The first British church/state struggle played itself out the 12th century; a lively, vivid biography of the martyred saint.
Harris, Brayton. Admiral Nimitz: the Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater. Nimitz was the senior officer in the Pacific war; a good introduction for general readers.
Hitchens, Christopher. Mortality. The late essayist had much to say about life and death and literature. He died in 2012 after a cancer diagnosis that he called his journey to “Tumortown.”
Janzen, Rhoda. Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? The author’s follow-up to her popular memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Her religious journey has held many surprises.
Johnson, Paul. Darwin: Portrait of a Genius. A most valuable contribution to our knowledge of the great scientist.
King, Carole. A Natural Woman: a Memoir. Carol King, a towering figure in American pop music, is a songwriter, singer and arranger, and her story is most welcome music history.
Kurlansky, Mark. Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man. What we didn’t know is that Clarence Birdseye had many interests besides frozen food. Fox farming, for example.
Kyle, Chris. American Sniper: the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. A stunning military memoir.
Maraniss, David. Barack Obama: the Story. This is an initial volume that takes Obama’s story up to age 27; a remarkable and remarkably American life.
Marton, Kati. Paris, a Love Story. Marton was married to two influential men, the broadcaster Peter Jennings and the diplomat Richard Holbrooke and her own story is as interesting as theirs.
McKinney, Devin. The Man Who Saw a Ghost: the Life and Work of Henry Fonda. Fonda was an immensely private and complicated man who worked harder than we knew.
McMurtry, Larry. Custer. A beautifully illustrated biography by the Texas novelist.
McNamee, Thomas. The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance. His impact on restaurants and home cooking was immense.
Nothstein, Marty. The Price of Gold: the Toll and Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream.
The Lehigh Valley’s Olympic cyclist opens up about what it takes to win a gold medal.
Pantsov, Alexander. Mao: the Real Story. A definitive work using previously-closed archives.
Pausch, Jai. Dream New Dreams: Reimagining My Life After Loss. Her husband’s memoir,
The Last Lecture, was about living life to the fullest right up to the end. This is her story.
Posnanski, Joe. Paterno. The author spent the last two years of the coach’s life researching this.
Powell, Colin. It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. A straightforward memoir with sound advice and thirteen rules for living.
Powell, Margaret. Below Stairs: the Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey. A rare first-person account of a British servant’s life.
Quindlen, Anna. Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Grace and wisdom from a sparkling career.
Russo, Richard. Elsewhere: a Memoir. The noted novelist’s mother was always a major influence and presence in his life; this is at times funny, surprising and moving.
Rushdie, Salman. Joseph Anton: a Memoir. Rushdie adopted this false name while in hiding after publication of The Satanic Verses; this is a very interesting look at a man under siege.
Shields, Charles. And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut’s Life. Vonnegut might not have been the warmest, easiest person to like, but this biographer finds much to praise in his writings.
Smith, Sally Bedell. Elizabeth the Queen: Inside the Life of a Modern Monarch. Up-to-date enough to include Prince William’s wedding; a worthy tribute to her extraordinary life.
Spitz, Bob. Dearie: the Remarkable Life of Julia Child. Using diaries and correspondence, Spitz creates a fuller picture of the master chef than we’ve had in other books.
West, Jerry. West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life. Unusually candid; he’s literally an icon because the NBA’s silhouette of a basketball player is a photo of West.
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