Monday, November 30, 2020

digital hotlist


It’s time for another While-You’re-Waiting update!  If you’re on hold for these high-demand eBook or eAudio titles, I have some great suggestions to tide you over while you wait!



Waiting for The Guest List by Lucy Foley? Try:

(Libby) Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

The next heart-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager follows a young woman whose new job apartment sitting in one of New York’s oldest and most glamorous buildings may cost more than it pays.

(Libby) Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut—for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

(Hoopla) The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

“My favorite kind of whodunit, kept me guessing all the way through, and reminiscent of Agatha Christie at her best -- with an extra dose of acid.” -- Alex Michaelides, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Silent Patient

(Hoopla) Try Kimberly Belle’s exciting domestic thrillers on Hoopla.

Waiting for The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett?  Try:

(Libby) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

(Libby) The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

"Sexton takes on [Toni Morrison's artful invocation of the ghost] in her new novel The Revisioners. . . She writes with such a clear sense of place and time that each of these intermingled stories feels essential and dramatic in its own way." —Ron Charles, The Washington Post  "A powerful tale of racial tensions across generations." —People

(Hoopla) Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.

(Hoopla) Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather Moore

A powerful story based on true events surrounding Donaldina Cameron and other brave women who fought to help Chinese-American women escape discrimination and slavery in the late 19th century in California.

Waiting for The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett?  Try:

(Libby) Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series

Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling series chronicles the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit Netflix series.

(Libby) The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson

A beloved Viking saga and masterpiece of historical fiction, The Long Ships is a high spirited adventure that stretches from Scandinavia to Spain, England, Ireland, and beyond.  

(Hoopla audio) the Hakon’s Saga novels of Eric Schumacher

(Hoopla audio) the Norsemen Saga novels of James L. Nelson

AD 852. For centuries the Vikings have swept out of the Norse countries and fallen on whatever lands they could reach aboard their longships, and few could resist the power of their violent onslaught. They came at first to plunder and then to settle, an encroachment fiercely resisted wherever they went. Such was the case in the southern lands of Ireland. En route to the Viking longphort there, known as Dubh-linn, Thorgrim Night Wolf and Ornolf the Restless stumble across an Irish ship that carries aboard it a single item: a crown.

Waiting for Anxious People by Fredrik Backman? Try:

(Libby) Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large. As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life—sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. 

(Libby) Nine Perfect Strangers by Jodi Picoult

Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst all of the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know these ten days might involve some real work. But none of them could imagine just how challenging the next ten days are going to be.

(Libby) Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

The lives of four strangers are forever altered when they meet in a Greek seaside village in this compelling novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maeve Binchy.

(Hoopla) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing.

It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.

Waiting for Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner? Try:

(Libby) Beach Read by Emily Henry

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

(Libby) Followers by Megan Angelo

An electrifying story of two ambitious friends and the dark choices they make to become internet famous.

(Libby) Less by Andrew Sean Greer         

A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of "arresting lyricism and beauty" (New York Times Book Review).

(Hoopla) Otherwise Engaged by Lindsey Palmer

Perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jennifer Weiner, OTHERWISE ENGAGED explores the life we seek when the life we have... suddenly goes down the drain.

Similar authors:

Elin Hilderbrand (Libby)

Mary Kay Andrews (Libby and Hoopla)

Nancy Thayer (Libby)

Dorothea Benton Frank (Libby and Hoopla)



Waiting for The Guest List by Lucy Foley? Try:

(Hoopla) The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps, just as a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

(Hoopla) The Woman in Apartment 49 by Ross Armstrong (previously published as The Watcher)

Lily Gullick lives with her husband, Aiden, in a brand-new apartment opposite a building that has been marked for demolition. A keen bird-watcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbors. Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars, and soon her elderly neighbor Jean is found dead. Convinced of foul play, she knows she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.

Similar authors:

Kimberly Belle (Libby and Hoopla)

Catherine Steadman (Libby)

Waiting on The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett? Try:

(Libby) Run by Ann Patchett

"Engaging, surprising, provocative and moving...a thoroughly intelligent book, an intimate domestic drama that nonetheless deals with big issues touching us all: religion, race, class, politics and, above all else, family." -- Washington Post

(Libby) Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic and unforgettable family story and “an odyssey through rural Mississippi’s past and present” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

(Hoopla) Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West

An unforgettable debut novel, Saving Ruby King is a powerful testament that history doesn’t determine the present and the bonds of friendship can forever shape the future.

(Hoopla) Tidewater Sisters by Lisa Wingate

Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now?

Waiting on American Dirt by Jeanne Cummings? Try:

(Libby) Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

Engrossing, beautiful, and deeply imaginative, Out of Darkness, Shining Light is a novel that lends voice to those who appeared only as footnotes in history, yet whose final, brave act of loyalty and respect changed the course of it. An incredible and important book by a masterful writer.” ​—Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing

(Libby) The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea

From a Pulitzer Prize finalist, "the single most compelling, lucid, and lyrical contemporary account of the absurdity of U.S. border policy" (The Atlantic).

(Hoopla) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are driven off their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. 

(Hoopla) Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness by Alfredo Corchado

A crusading Mexican American journalist searches for justice and hope in an increasingly violent Mexico.

(Hoopla) All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands by Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Elizondo Griest weaves seven years of stories into a meditation on the existential impact of international borderlines by illuminating the spaces in between and the people who live there.

Waiting on A Promised Land by Barack Obama? Try:

(Libby) American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America by Michelle Obama

Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest. Mrs. Obama's journey continues across the nation, sharing the stories of other gardens that have moved and inspired her. 

(Libby) Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama

In this poignant letter to his daughters, Barack Obama has written a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation. From the artistry of Georgia O'Keeffe, to the courage of Jackie Robinson, to the patriotism of George Washington, Obama sees the traits of these heroes within his own children, and within all of America’s children.

(Hoopla) Homeland: An Extraordinary Story of Hope and Survival by George Obama

Homeland is the remarkable memoir of George Obama, President Obama’s Kenyan half brother, who found the inspiration to strive for his goal, to better the lives of his own people, in his elder brother’s example.

Explore U.S. presidents on Libby

Waiting on One by One by Ruth Ware? Try:

(Libby) The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

(Libby) The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes a chilling new novel of friendship, secrets, and the dangerous games teenaged girls play.

(Libby and Hoopla) I Found You by Lisa Jewell

“Jewell’s novel explores the space between going missing and being lost….how the plots intersect and finally collide is one of the great thrills of reading Jewell’s book. She ratchets up the tension masterfully, and her writing is lively.” —The New York Times      

Libby and Hoopla) Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell

"The lineage from Faulkner to Woodrell runs as deep and true as an Ozark stream in this book...his most profound and haunting yet." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

Similar authors:

(Libby) Fiona Barton

(Libby and Hoopla) Kimberly Belle

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fantasy Fiction


Last night, the Genre Reading Group met on Zoom to talk about science fiction’s zany sibling, fantasy fiction! 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic—not chores and ill-tempered nanny goats! Surely there must be more to witchcraft than this!

What Tiffany doesn't know is that an insidious, disembodied creature is pursuing her. This time, neither Mistress Weatherwax (the greatest witch in the world) nor the fierce, six-inch-high Wee Free Men can protect her. In the end, it will take all of Tiffany's inner strength to save herself...if it can be done at all.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria Forester—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that stone barrier, Tristran learns, lies Faerie...and the most exhilarating adventure of the young man's life.

Star Wars fan films

Star Wars + Star Trek Fan Fiction YouTube Playlist: 

Star Wars Cops Parody - TROOP (Considered canon by George Lucas): 

The Axanar debacle: 

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told. This is not that fairy tale. There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened. And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.

There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed. 

Witches for Hire by Sam Argent

All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks. 

Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.

Tales of Horror and Fantasy by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, a major figure of English literature, used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling is considered one of England's greatest writers, but was born in Bombay. He was educated in England, but returned to India in 1882, where he began writing fantasy and supernatural stories set in his native continent: "The Phantom Rickshaw," "The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes," and his most famous horror story, "The Mark of the Beast" (1890). This masterwork collection, edited by Stephen Jones (Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist) for the first time collects all of Kipling's fantastic fiction, ranging from traditional ghostly tales to psychological horror.

Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks

Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war tore apart the United States and nearly exterminated humankind. Those who escaped the carnage were led to sanctuary in an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyond. But the cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has now vanished. When Sider Ament, the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, he fears the worst. And when expert Trackers find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: The once safe haven has been made vulnerable to whatever still lurks in the outside wasteland. Together, Ament, the two young Trackers, and a daring Elf princess spearhead plans to defend their ancestral home. And in the thick of it all, the last wielder of the black staff and its awesome magic must find a successor to carry on the fight against the cresting new wave of evil.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true. Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two. This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval

Jo is in a strange new country for university and having a more peculiar time than most. In a house with no walls, shared with a woman who has no boundaries, she finds her strange home coming to life in unimaginable ways. Jo’s sensitivity and all her senses become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.

This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire.


Raiders of the Lost Ark fan film and documentary:

Author list :

Chuck Tingle

J.R.R. Tolkien

Robert Jordan

Brandon Sanderson

Guy Gavriel Kay

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (Book 1 of 9 in the Temeraire series)

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Not since Dune has there been an epic on the scale of Kushiel's Dart-a massive tale about the violent death of an old age and the birth of a new. It is a novel of grandeur, luxuriance, sacrifice, betrayal, and deeply laid conspiracies. A world of cunning poets, deadly courtiers, deposed rulers and a besieged Queen, a warrior-priest, the Prince of Travelers, barbarian warlords, heroic traitors, and a truly Machiavellian villainess... all seen through the unflinching eyes of an unforgettable heroine.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Princess Lissla Lissar is the only child of the king and his queen, who was the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms. Everyone loved the splendid king and his matchless queen so much that no one had any attention to spare for the princess, who grew up in seclusion, listening to the tales her nursemaid told about her magnificent parents. But the queen takes ill of a mysterious wasting disease and on her deathbed extracts a strange promise from her husband: “I want you to promise me . . . you will only marry someone as beautiful as I was.”

The king is crazy with grief at her loss, and slow to regain both his wits and his strength. But on Lissar’s seventeenth birthday, two years after the queen’s death, there is a grand ball, and everyone present looks at the princess in astonishment and whispers to their neighbors, How like her mother she is! On the day after the ball, the king announces that he is to marry again—and that his bride is the princess Lissla Lissar, his own daughter.

Lissar, physically broken, half mad, and terrified, flees her father’s lust with her one loyal friend, her sighthound, Ash. It is the beginning of winter as they journey into the mountains—and on the night when it begins to snow, they find a tiny, deserted cabin with the makings of a fire ready-laid in the hearth. Thus begins Lissar’s long, profound, and demanding journey away from treachery and pain and horror, to trust and love and healing.

Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders

A truly breathtaking new anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, Swords & Dark Magic offers stunning new tales of sword and sorcery action, romance, and dark adventure written by some of the most respected, bestselling fantasy writers working today—from  Joe Abercrombie to Gene Wolfe. An all-new Elric novella from the legendary Michael Moorcock and a new visit to Majipoor courtesy of the inimitable Robert Silverberg are just two of the treasures offered in Swords & Dark Magic—a fantasy lover’s dream.

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.

But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.

Staked by J. F. Lewis

Eric's got issues. He has short-term and long-term memory problems; he can't remember who he ate for dinner yesterday, much less how he became a vampire in the first place. His best friend, Roger, is souring on the strip club he and Eric own together. And his girlfriend, Tabitha, keeps pressuring him to turn her so she can join him in undeath. It's almost enough to put a Vlad off his appetite. Almost.

Eric tries to solve one problem, only to create another: he turns Tabitha into a vampire, but finds that once he does, his desire for her fades -- and her younger sister, Rachel, sure is cute. And when he kills a werewolf in self-defense, things really get out of hand. Now a pack of born-again lycanthropes is out for holy retribution, while Tabitha and Rachel have their own agendas -- which may or may not include helping Eric stay in one piece.

All Eric wants to do is run his strip club, drink a little blood, and be left alone. Instead, he must survive car crashes, enchanted bullets, sunlight, sex magic, and werewolves on ice -- not to mention his own nasty temper and forgetfulness. Because being undead isn't easy, but it sure beats the alternative.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

100 Notable Books of 2020


Today, the editors of The New York Times Book Review posted their list of 100 Notable Books of 2020 in fiction, poetry, memoir and general nonfiction.  If you're looking for gift ideas this holiday season, you may find what you need here! (


The Aosawa Murders BY RIKU ONDA, translated by Alison Watts.

Onda’s strange, engrossing novel — patched together from scraps of interviews, letters, newspaper articles and the like — explores the sweltering day that 17 members of the Aosawa family died after drinking poisoned sake and soda.

The Beauty of Your Face BY SAHAR MUSTAFAH. 

In the Chicago suburbs, a gunman opens fire at a school for Palestinian girls. Mustafah rewinds from the shooting to the principal’s childhood as a newly arrived immigrant. Hers is a story of outsiders coming together in surprising and uplifting ways.


In this plain-spoken and lovingly detailed historical novel, the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony is refracted through the prism of female characters. Despite the novel’s quietness of telling, its currency is the human capacity for cruelty and subjugation, of pretty much everyone by pretty much everyone.

Blacktop Wasteland BY S. A. COSBY

In this gritty thriller, set in rural Virginia, Beauregard “Bug” Montage — the owner of a struggling auto shop — is drifting back into his old life of crime. Cosby has a talent for well-tuned action, raising our heart rates and filling our nostrils with odors of gun smoke and burned rubber.


In Livesey’s exquisite new novel, three siblings on their way home from school find a boy who has been attacked and left for dead in a field. This discovery leads to a mystery that will change the lives of all involved.

Breasts and Eggs BY MIEKO KAWAKAMI, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd

In supple and casual prose, this celebrated Japanese novelist follows sisters in Osaka who are considering breast augmentation and sperm donation, causing two generations of women to reckon with the realities of their physical bodies and the pressures put on them by society.


A brazen act of terrorism in an Indian metropolis sets the plot of this propulsive debut novel in motion, and lands an innocent young bystander in jail. With impressive assurance and insight, Majumdar unfolds a timely story about the ways power is wielded to manipulate and crush the powerless.

A Children's Bible BY LYDIA MILLET

This superb novel begins as a generational comedy — a pack of kids and their middle-aged parents coexist in a summer share — and turns steadily darker, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. But Millet’s light touch never falters; in this time of great upheaval, she implies, our foundational myths take on new meaning and hope.


Greenwell’s narrator is a gay American teacher in Sofia, Bulgaria, who has a series of encounters that are sexually frank and psychologically complicated; the book achieves an unusual depth of accuracy about both physical activity and emotional undercurrent.


At the center of this raucous novel by the National Book Award-winning author of “The Good Lord Bird” are a hard-drinking church deacon and a sudden, inexplicable act of violence. But that’s just one strand of McBride’s tour de force, a book resounding with madcap characters and sly commentary on race, crime and inequality.

The Death of Jesus BY J. M. COETZEE

With the pared-down quality of a fable, the final novel in Coetzee’s Jesus trilogy makes a case for the fantastical worldview of Don Quixote. Young David enters an orphanage, finds followers and imparts wisdom before falling terminally ill — a Christ figure, sure, but not one with easy or predictable parallels.

The Death of Vivek Oji  BY AKWAEKE EMEZI

This steamroller of a story, about coming of age and coming out in Nigeria, centers on what a family doesn’t see — or doesn’t want to see — and whether that blindness contributes to a son’s death.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line BY DEEPA ANAPPARA

This first novel by an Indian journalist probes the secrets of a big-city shantytown as a 9-year-old boy tries to solve the mystery of a classmate’s disappearance. Anappara impressively inhabits the inner worlds of children lost to their families, and of others who escape by a thread.

Earthlings BY SAYAKA MURATA, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

In the Japanese author's second novel, two cousins agree that they're aliens, abandoned at birth among humans. After the traumas of childhood, in adulthood they seek to abandon society -- a.k.a. "the Baby Factory" -- altogether, in favor of a moral vacuum.

Everywhere You Don't Belong BY GABRIEL BUMP

It’s the rare book that can achieve an appropriate balance between heaviness and levity. This debut novel — a comically dark coming-of-age story about growing up on the South Side of Chicago — pulls the feat off not just generously, but seemingly without effort.


An American woman is on the lam with a suitcase full of cash in Osborne’s latest novel, which is set in a Bangkok rattled by monsoons and social unrest. As chaos grows, her refuge, a modern apartment complex, grows more prisonlike. Osborne’s command of mood keeps the reader’s pulse racing.


Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, died at 11, a few years before the playwright wrote “Hamlet.” O’Farrell’s wondrous new novel is at once an unsparingly eloquent record of love and grief and a vivid imagining of how a child’s death was transfigured into art.


This rich, rewarding debut novel follows a Ghanaian seamstress — forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man she has never met — on her journey of self-discovery. “It wasn’t easy,” she declares, “being the key to other people’s happiness, their victory and their vindication.”

Homeland Elegies BY AYAD AKHTAR

The latest novel from Akhtar is about the dream of national belonging that has receded for American Muslims in the years since 9/11. At once deeply personal and unreservedly political, the book often reads like a collection of essays illustrating the author’s prismatic identity.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold BY C PAM ZHANG

Zhang’s mesmerizing tale of two Chinese-American siblings crossing the West during the gold rush, with their father’s corpse in tow, unfolds in a landscape of desolation and struggle that recalls Steinbeck and Faulkner, and in a voice that is all her own.

Hurricane Season BY FERNANDA MELCHOR, translated by Sophie Hughes

This searing novel, the first in English by the Mexican Melchor, dazzles with fury and beauty. Inspired by the wave of gruesome femicides in her home state of Veracruz, the author transposes the violence directed at women to the register of fable.

Writers & Lovers BY LILY KING

A former golf prodigy turned waiter and writer is lonely, broke, directionless — and grieving for her mother, who has died suddenly. King’s hopeful novel follows this young woman’s hardscrabble quest for solvency, peace and passion.

Why I Don't Write: And Other Stories BY SUSAN MINOT

The stories in this collection, Minot’s first since 1989, are concerned with love, death, estrangement, loss and memory, which means that they are concerned with time itself.

The Vanishing Half BY BRIT BENNETT

Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.

Tokyo Ueno Station BY YU MIRI. Translated by Morgan Giles

Yu’s glorious modernist novel is narrated by a voice from the dead: a construction worker doomed to haunt various landmarks near Tokyo’s Ueno Park.


Secluded in a dilapidated country house, their depressed mother in a room upstairs, the teenage siblings at the center of this hypnotically macabre novel mull a sinister deed from their past. Johnson expertly layers the Gothic atmosphere with dread, grief and guilt.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors BY KAWAI STRONG WASHBURN

Washburn has no interest in the Hawaii of resorts and honeymoons; the characters in his singular debut novel live in a modern yet mystical version of the archipelago, one whose essence no conqueror can ever fully eradicate.


Young Shuggie grows up in 1980s Glasgow with a calamitous, alcoholic mother and punishing reminders that his effeminate manner sets him apart from his peers. Pain — physical and emotional — is everywhere in this potent, sure-footed debut, which makes as strong a case as any for love’s redemptive power.


In 1995, on a nameless Caribbean island, the daughter of an American family goes missing. This debut novel is hypnotic, delivering acute social commentary on everything from class and race to familial bonds and community, and yet its weblike nature never confuses or fails to captivate.


A husband and wife try to escape their problems by packing up their small children and taking to the open sea on a boat they barely know how to sail. Trouble follows, but not necessarily the kind you’re expecting. Gaige’s novel gives readers plenty to discuss, including ethical dilemmas, complicated family dynamics and the nature of forgiveness.


In this stunning debut novel, a gay Black graduate student from the South mines hope for some better or different life while he studies biochemistry in the haunted halls of a white academic space. As in the modernist novels of Woolf and Tolstoy cited throughout, the true action of Taylor’s novel exists beneath the surface.


A fellowship at a study center in Germany turns sinister and sets a writer on a possibly paranoid quest to expose a political evil he believes is loose in the world. Kunzru’s wonderfully weird novel traces a lineage from German Romanticism to National Socialism to the alt-right, and is rich with insights on surveillance and power.


This unsparing, beautifully written novel takes as its subject the Vardo witch trials in 17th-century Norway, which even the infamous hysteria in Salem, Mass., several decades later could not match when it came to brutality. For such a book to center on a cast of powerful women characters seems as appropriate to its historical context as it is to our time.

The Mirror & the Light BY HILARY MANTEL

The final novel in Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies) returns to the terror of Henry VIII’s court, where falls from grace are sudden and frequently fatal. For all its political and literary plotting, the book is most memorable for its portraiture, with Henry’s secretary, Thomas Cromwell, as our master painter.

Missionaries BY PHIL KLAY

The four converging narratives of this astounding novel (Klay’s first, after his National Book Award-winning story collection “Redeployment”) capture the complexities of Colombia’s five-decade war. Klay does not shy away from the thorny moral questions and psychological impacts of conflict, and the result is at once terrifying and thought-provoking.


A gregarious bookstore owner dies suddenly, leaving his widow, children and ex-wife to make sense of the messy and colorful life they shared together. Sue Miller’s engrossing novel is infused with generosity and the complicated kind of love readers will recognize from real life.


A sense of estrangement pervades this assured debut novel, which opens as a man flies to Osaka to care for his terminally ill father, leaving his visiting mother and his Black boyfriend to keep each other company. One of the great themes of “Memorial” is the immense power parents wield over their children, even well into adulthood.


This first novel — about a 23-year-old New Yorker who becomes entangled with a white suburban couple and their Black daughter — feels like summer: sentences like ice that crackle or melt into a languorous drip; plot suddenly, wildly flying forward like a bike down a hill.


Sofer’s second novel traces a man’s path from “baffled revolutionary” in Iran to complicit actor in a ruthless regime sure he can undermine the system from inside. It is a master class in layering together a character who is essentially unforgivable but no less captivating.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 BY CHO NAM-JOO. Translated by Jamie Chang

A sensation when it appeared in South Korea in 2016, this novel recounts, in the dispassionate language of a case history, the descent into madness of a young wife and mother — a Korean Everywoman whose plight illuminates the effects of a sexist society.

The King at the Edge of the World BY ARTHUR PHILLIPS

Intrigue and espionage fuel this delectable novel set during the twilight of the reign of Elizabeth I and featuring a Muslim Ottoman physician who is enlisted in the machinations surrounding the choice of the queen’s successor.

Little Eyes BY SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN. Translated by Megan McDowell

In this brilliantly creepy novel, surveillance takes the form of a toylike, camera-equipped pet that becomes a global sensation: Owning one is like inviting a mute stranger into your home.


This uplifting addition to Robinson’s numinous Gilead series centers on an interracial romance in postwar St. Louis that was hinted at but not amplified in the three books that preceded it. The lovers, Jack and Della, find hope and truth in each other, even as the world conspires to keep them apart.



Chang’s new collection explores her father’s illness and her mother’s death, treating mortality as a constantly shifting enigma. A serene acceptance of grief emerges from these poems.


The title of Pico’s restless, intimate and exhilarating new volume of poetry, his fourth, covers varieties of appetite: for sex, for nutrition, for fame, for news, for gossip, for simple companionship. “Feed” lets sympathetic readers pretend to live, for almost 80 pages, inside Pico’s charismatic, uneasy mind.


Betts’s searing third collection surveys the underworlds of incarceration and its aftermath. “There is no name for this thing that you’ve become,” he writes: “Convict, prisoner, inmate, lifer, yardbird, all fail.” What does not fail is the language Betts sends prismatically through his experience to refract the prison-industrial complex.


The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir BY MICHELE HARPER

When Harper was a teenager, she drove her brother to the hospital to get treated for a bite her father had inflicted. There, she glimpsed a world she wanted to join. “The Beauty in Breaking” is her memoir of becoming an emergency room physician. It’s also a profound statement on the inequities in medical care today.

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, MasterMyself, and Win BY MARIA KONNIKOVA

Konnikova, a writer for The New Yorker with a Ph.D. in psychology, decided to study poker for its interplay between luck and determination. This is an account of her journey, which took her much further into the world of high-stakes gambling than she ever imagined.

The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination With the MostMysterious Creature in the Natural World BY PATRIK SVENSSON

Svensson follows those slithery beings in every direction they take him, producing a book that moves from Aristotle to Freud to the fishing trips of his youth.

Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time BY BEN EHRENREICH

The author, a columnist for The Nation, divides his book into two strands: a journal-like description of his life in desert America, in a cabin near Joshua Tree National Park, and his move to Las Vegas, where his world shrinks. Months into lockdown, it feels creepily prescient: We are all in the desert now.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist BY ADRIAN TOMINE

Tomine, now considered a master of the graphic novel form, returns in an autobiographical mode, in a book that lets vent the rage and fragility that are always just beneath the surface of his pristine drawings.

Memorial Drive: A Memoir BY NATASHA TRETHEWEY

At the center of Trethewey’s memoir is the wrenching story of her mother’s murder, by her ex-husband, in 1985. But this haunting elegy by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet is also a work of great beauty and tenderness, an atmospheric evocation of innocence and loss.

Notes on a Silencing: A Memoir BY LACY CRAWFORD

This devastating and erudite memoir chronicles the author’s experience of sexual assault while she was a student at St. Paul’s, an elite boarding school in Concord, N.H. — followed by a decades-long cover-up at the hands of an esteemed institution with money, power and connections, and her own complicated journey of recovery.


The former president’s memoir — the first of two volumes — is a pleasure to read, the prose gorgeous, the detail granular and vivid. From Southeast Asia to a forgotten school in South Carolina, he evokes the sense of place with a light but sure hand. His focus is more political than personal, but when he does write about his family it is with a beauty close to nostalgia.

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir BY ANNA WIENER

At 25, Wiener left a low-paying publishing job and wound up in San Francisco, in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated, morally obtuse world of tech start-ups. Her splendid memoir, stylish and unsparing, is a vital reckoning with an industry awash in self-delusion.


Cornejo Villavicencio was one of the first undocumented students to be accepted into Harvard University. In her captivating and evocative first book, she tells “the full story” of what that means — relying not just on her own experience but on interviews with immigrants across the country.


Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, CreateBeauty, and Achieve Peace BY CARL SAFINA 

Safina, the ecologist and author of many books about animal behavior, here delves into the world of chimpanzees, sperm whales and macaws to make a convincing argument that animals learn from one another and pass down culture in a way that will feel very familiar to us.

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year RivalryThat Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East BY KIM GHATTAS

A Lebanese-born journalist and scholar takes a sweeping look at the unrest in the Middle East, arguing that much of it is the result of the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of aSpeaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party BY JULIAN E. ZELIZER

As Zelizer recounts, Gingrich brought a new slash-and-burn style to Congress in the late 1980s that disrupted old ways and led to repeated Republican successes.

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents BY ISABEL WILKERSON

The Pulitzer-winning author advances a sweeping argument for regarding American racial bias through the lens of caste. Drawing analogies with the social orders of modern India and Nazi Germany, she frames barriers to equality in a provocative new light.

The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X BY LES PAYNE AND TAMARA PAYNE

Thirty years in the making and encompassing hundreds of original interviews, this magisterial biography of Malcolm X was completed by Les Payne’s daughter after his death in 2018. Its strengths lie in its finely shaded, penetrating portrait of the Black activist and thinker, whose legacy continues to find fresh resonance today.

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism BY ANNE CASE AND ANGUS DEATON

This highly important book examines the pain and despair among white blue-collar workers and suggests that the hopelessness they are experiencing may eventually extend to the entire American work force.

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town BY BARBARA DEMICK

Demick tells a decades-long story about Ngaba, a small Sichuan town that has become the center of resistance to Chinese authority. Lately this activism has taken the form of self-immolation — an act of desperation, as Demick’s panoramic reporting comprehensively shows.

The End of Everything: (Astrophysically Speaking) BY KATIE MACK

Many books have been written about the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago. But Mack, a theoretical cosmologist, is interested in how it all ends. She guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery.

Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a NewPath Forward in the Post-Cold War World BY ROBERT M. GATES

With decades of experience at the highest levels of government, Gates presents a critique of past mistakes in American foreign policy and provides a guide for policymakers in the future.

Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter WhoRevealed It to the World BY LESLEY M. M. BLUME

For months after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Americans were told little about the devastating effects on survivors. Blume’s magisterial account of how John Hersey broke the story in The New Yorker is also a warning about the ever-present dangers of nuclear war.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family BY ROBERT KOLKER

It reads like a Greek tragedy: Six of the Galvins’ 12 children developed schizophrenia. This book is much more than a narrative of despair, though; its most compelling chapters involve the scientists who studied the family, looking for genetic clues about the origins of this unfathomable disease.

The Inevitability of Tragedy: Henry Kissinger and His World BY BARRY GEWEN

In this magisterial account, Gewen, a longtime editor at the Book Review, traces the historical and philosophical roots of Kissinger’s famous realism, situating him in the context of Hannah Arendt and a cohort of other Jewish intellectuals who escaped Nazi Germany.

Just Us: An American Conversation BY CLAUDIA RANKINE

As she did in her acclaimed 2014 collection “Citizen,” Rankine here combines essays, poetry and visual art to interrogate the ways race haunts her imagination, and America’s. “Fantasies cost lives,” she writes.

The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A.Baker III BY PETER BAKER AND SUSAN GLASSER

This fascinating biography of the former secretary of state and consummate insider, who was once called “the most important unelected official since World War II,” reveals both Baker’s accomplishments and the compromises he had to make.

97,196 Words: Essays BY EMMANUEL CARRÈRE. Translated by John Lambert

This collection of short pieces by an author widely considered to be France’s leading nonfiction writer underscores Carrère’s incisive style and moral stance; whether he’s writing about a murderer or a movie star, he is also investigating himself, part of a deeply empathetic quest to understand our species.

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of BlackTravel in America BY BY CANDACY TAYLOR

Taylor, a cultural documentarian, traveled to thousands of sites mentioned in the Green Book, the essential guidebook for Black travelers braving American roads during Jim Crow. Highlighting threats such travelers faced, her lively, illustrated history is mindful of the ongoing struggle for Black social mobility today.

A Peculiar Indifference: The Neglected Toll of Violence onBlack America BY ELLIOTT CURRIE

This essential book by a veteran legal scholar argues that the extraordinary violence against Black lives is a result of the nation’s refusal to address the structural roots of the problem.

A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Searchof a Faith BY TIMOTHY EGAN

In his ninth book, this self-described “lapsed but listening” Irish Catholic travels 1,200 miles from Canterbury to Rome along the Via Francigena and tries to decide what he believes. If this book doesn’t settle the question, it will at least fortify faith in scrupulous reporting and captivating storytelling.

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the ColdWar — a Tragedy in Three Acts BY SCOTT ANDERSON

Covering the years 1944 to 1956, Anderson’s enthralling history of the early years of the Cold War follows four C.I.A. operatives as their initial idealism eventually turns into betrayal and disillusionment, fueled by creeping right-wing hysteria at home and cynical maneuvering abroad.

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980 BY RICK PERLSTEIN

More than a book about Ronald Reagan, the conclusion of Perlstein’s four-volume saga on the rise of conservatism in America is absorbing political and social history, with sharp insights into the human quirks and foibles that were so much a part of the late 1970s.

The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison EDITED BY JOHN F. CALLAHAN AND MARC C. CONNER

In his lifetime Ellison’s only novel was the masterpiece “Invisible Man,” but for six decades he corresponded with some of the greatest writers of his day. This magnificent collection captures his wit, style, ambition and personal travails, as well as his powerful insights into Black artistic expression.

Shakespeare in a Divided America: What His Plays Tell UsAbout Our Past and Future BY JAMES SHAPIRO

Shapiro has long created Shakespeare treats for the common reader, but this time he outdoes himself. From John Quincy Adams’s racist attacks on “Othello” to the notorious Trump-as-Julius-Caesar Central Park production in 2017, he reminds us how divided we’ve been since our very beginnings, with the historical-tragical constantly muscling out the pastoral-comical.

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World BY SARAH STEWART JOHNSON

Johnson, a Georgetown planetary scientist, oscillates between a history of Mars science and an account of her own journey seeking sparks of life in the immensity. In prose that swirls with lyrical wonder, she recalls formative moments in her life and career.

Soul Full of Coal Dust: A Fight for Breath and Justice inAppalachia BY CHRIS HAMBY

Hamby powerfully recounts two stories, both miserable: the effect that working in coal mines has had on the health of miners, and the decades-long battle for federal help to force companies to pay for their medical care.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, andDefiance During the Blitz BY ERIK LARSON

Larson’s account of Winston Churchill’s leadership during the 12 turbulent months from May 1940 to May 1941, when Britain stood alone and on the brink of defeat, is fresh, fast and deeply moving.

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder inAppalachia BY EMMA COPLEY EISENBERG

Decades after two young women were murdered there, a small town continues to grapple with the crime. This evocative and elegantly paced examination of the murders takes a prism-like view.

Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search forMeaning in an Evolving Universe BY BRIAN GREENE

Few humans share Greene’s mastery of both the latest cosmological science and English prose. Here the best-selling physicist takes on our deepest mysteries: consciousness, creativity and the end of time.

The Vapors: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and theRise and Fall of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital of Vice BY DAVID HILL

Hill grew up in Hot Springs, Ark., decades after its 20th-century heyday as the boozy, freewheeling hangout of choice for gamblers, mobsters and crooked politicians; his book recreates the giddy era with a delightfully light touch and a focus on the nightclub of the title.

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music BY ALEX ROSS 

With enormous intellectual range and subtle artistic judgment, Ross’s history of ideas probes the nerve endings of Western society as they are mirrored in more than a century of reaction to Richard Wagner’s oeuvre, from George Eliot to “Apocalypse Now.”

War: How Conflict Shaped Us BY MARGARET MACMILLAN 

This is a short book but a rich one with a profound theme. MacMillan argues that war — fighting and killing — is so intimately bound up with what it means to be human that viewing it as an aberration misses the point. War has led to many of civilization’s great disasters but also to many of civilization’s greatest achievements.

Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions BY JEFFREY SELINGO

Selingo challenges the facade of meritocracy in his absorbing examination of America’s obsession with getting into college. Schools, he argues persuasively, are looking out for their own interests, not yours.

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justicein Indian Country BY SIERRA CRANE MURDOCH 

This painstakingly reported and beautifully written book, Murdoch’s first, examines the effects of fracking on a North Dakota reservation through the eyes of a remarkable Native American woman who, determined to solve a murder related to the oil boom, exposes the greed and corruption that fueled it.



By turns consciously tender and fiercely witty, this is an unalloyed charmer about Chloe Fong, a stubborn Chinese-British sauce maker, and Jeremy Yu, the half-Chinese Duke of Lansing, who’s head over heels for her, but can’t seem to say so.

The Tunnel BY A. B. YEHOSHUA. Translated by Stuart Schoffman

In this novel, Zvi Luria, a retired engineer in Tel Aviv, is in the early stages of dementia and takes a job in the desert to keep his mind sharp. The project involves building a road through an area where a Palestinian family lives, hiding out amid ancient ruins. Yehoshua masterfully entwines social commentary with a portrait of a mind in decline.

The Memory Monster BY YISHAI SARID, translated by Yardenne Greenspan

This brilliant short novel serves as a brave, sharp-toothed brief against letting the past devour the present. Sarid tells the story of a tour guide to the Nazi death camps and how his mind begins to slowly unravel as his knowledge of the mechanics of genocide becomes an obsession.

Minor Detail BY ADANIA SHIBLI translated by Elisabeth Jaquette

This slim, haunting novel begins with the rape and murder of a Palestinian girl in 1949, then shifts to present-day Ramallah, where a young woman tries to piece together what happened. Shibli turns her astonishing command of sensory detail into a rich study of memory and violence.

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir BY WAYÉTU MOOR

Following her magical realist debut novel, “She Would Be King,” Moore’s immersive, exhilarating memoir also has elements of the fantastical — framed by her family’s harrowing escape from civil war in Liberia.

A Dominant Character: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J. B. S. Haldane BY SAMANTH SUBRAMANIAN

Haldane, the British biologist and ardent communist who helped synthesize Darwinian evolution with Mendelian genetics, was once as famous as Einstein. Subramanian’s elegant biography doubles as a timely allegory of the fraught relationship between science and politics.

The Hardhat Riot: Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution BY DAVID PAUL KUHN

Kuhn highlights one day, May 8, 1970, when blue-collar workers went on a rampage against antiwar protesters, noting that the country’s politics have never been the same.

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl BY JONATHAN C. SLAGHT

Slaght is a wildlife biologist with a singular mission, to conserve an elusive and enormous raptor in the eastern wilds of Russia. The book is an ode to the rigors and pleasures of fieldwork in hard conditions.

The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War BY MICHAEL GORRA

Gorra’s complex and thought-provoking meditation on Faulkner is rich in insight, making the case for the novelist’s literary achievement and his historical value — as an unparalleled chronicler of slavery’s aftermath, and its damage to America’s psyche.

This Is All I Got: A New Mother’s Search for Home BY LAUREN SANDLER

In 2015, Sandler was volunteering at a homeless shelter when she met Camila, a pregnant resident who was determined to find a permanent, safe place to raise her child. This book charts her path through red tape, educational challenges, family crises and moments of joy amid unimaginable struggle.

The Weirdest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous BY JOSEPH HENRICH

Henrich combines evidence from his own lab with the work of dozens of collaborators across multiple fields to make an ambitious case for the distinctiveness of Western psychology.

A Woman Like Her: The Story Behind the Honor Killing of a Social Media Star BY SANAM MAHER

This fascinating portrait of Qandeel Baloch, Pakistan’s first big female internet sensation, is also a skillfully reported account of a country in which conservative mores conflict with the pace of social change, and in which women all too often pay the price.