This Week's Best New Books

1 of 26
The Wicked Redhead

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The Wicked Redhead

by Beatriz Williams

The Wicked Redhead

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In Beatriz Williams's 2017 novel The Wicked City, redheaded flapper Geneva "Gin" Kelly surprised herself and everyone else by falling madly in love with a Prohibition agent. Things got (even) more complicated when her new beau, Oliver, enlisted Gin to help lay a trap for Duke Kelly, her notorious bootlegger stepfather. In The Wicked Redhead, Williams picks up both Gin's story and that of Ella Gilbert, a woman living in 1990s Greenwich Village, who suspects her building holds Prohibition-era ghosts. ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 26
We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

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We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

by Laura McKowen

We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

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"You are a human. Not an addict, or an alcoholic, or any of the worst things you've ever done. Addiction is just an experience, one of many that can shape a life. It's not unique. It's not a flaw. It's not even that interesting."

This is the compassionate, forgiving message that writer and sobriety guru Laura McKowen wants to share with the 21 million people in the U.S. who struggle with substance addiction. But don't be misled by her statement that addiction isn't "even that interesting." Her story--that ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 26
The Tenant

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The Tenant

by Katrine Engberg

The Tenant

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Copenhagen Police detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner are the far-from-standard-issue pair who drive Katrine Engberg's crime series. The Tenant, originally published in 2016, is the first of four Kørner and Werner novels and the first to be published in the United States. Here's hoping the rest of the series makes it across the Atlantic.

"No one dies in my building," insists landlady Esther de Laurenti, but someone has: her 21-year-old tenant Julie Stender. Before Julie's ... [ Read More » ]

4 of 26
The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

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The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

by John F. Callahan , Marc C. Conner, editors

The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison (1913-1994) completed only one novel in his lifetime, but he was an accomplished essayist and letter writer. In a letter to Richard Wright, he wrote, "Letters come with difficulty." But "there was a time when I was more myself when writing a letter than at any other time." His voluminous correspondence is part memoir and part astute observations on literary and social issues. John F. Callahan, Ellison's literary executor, provides outstanding biographical overviews before each chapter. ... [ Read More » ]

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The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

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The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired

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Parents everywhere can breathe easier: "There's no such thing as flawless child-rearing." There is, however, a way to help children become empathetic and independent individuals. The goal, as psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel and psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson define it, is "emotionally balanced, resilient, insightful, and empathetic" children. By applying the "Four S's"--making a child feel safe, seen, soothed and secure--and consistently responding to their needs, parents can create the ideal relationship ... [ Read More » ]

6 of 26
The Majesties

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The Majesties

by Tiffany Tsao

The Majesties

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Since comparisons to Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians seem unavoidable, here's what might be familiar: yes, crazy, rich, Asian characters populate Tiffany Tsao's The Majesties. Differences, however, immediately overshadow superficial similarities, most obviously from the very first sentence: "When your sister murders three hundred people, you can't help but wonder why--especially if you were one of the intended victims." As the sole survivor of her sister's deadly machinations, Gwendolyn--called ... [ Read More » ]

7 of 26
A Long Petal of the Sea

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A Long Petal of the Sea

by Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea

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In the wake of the Spanish Civil War, thousands of Spaniards fled the victorious dictator's harsh regime. Thanks to the intervention of the poet Pablo Neruda, more than 2,000 Spanish refugees emigrated to Chile aboard a French steamer, the Winnipeg, in 1939. Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits) traces the lives of a refugee couple, Roser and Victor Dalmau, and their connection to a powerful Chilean family in her sweeping novel A Long Petal of the Sea. 

Roser is a young piano prodigy ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 26
Life in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford: The Biography

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Life in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford: The Biography

by Laura Thompson

Life in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford: The Biography

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Beautiful, aristocratic and controversial, the Mitford sisters are still famous, largely because the oldest, Nancy, enriched her eight novels with details from her family's eccentric lives. In Life in a Cold Climate, Laura Thompson (The Six: Lives of the Mitford Sisters) investigates this enigmatic woman through her books and letters, and through interviews with two of her sisters, casting a brilliant light upon a writer whose glamour kept her books from receiving the respect they deserved.

Nancy ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 26
The Runaway Princess

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The Runaway Princess

by Johan Troïanowski

The Runaway Princess

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If someone collected the stream-of-consciousness storytelling of the world's most imaginative children, it might read something like The Runaway Princess.

In the first of the graphic novel's three parts, "The Princess Runs Away (and Makes Some Friends)," Princess Robin of Seddenga flees from the castle. Who can blame her for skipping etiquette class when outside the castle walls is the Aquatic Carnival in Noor, the City of Water? On the way, she meets four abandoned brothers in the forest and leads ... [ Read More » ]

10 of 26
Dark and Deepest Red

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Dark and Deepest Red

by Anna-Marie McLemore

Dark and Deepest Red

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Anna-Marie McLemore's fifth novel, the National Book Award-longlisted Dark and Deepest Red, is an artful, spellbinding YA reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes."

Lala and her Tante Dorenia moved to Strasbourg because, as Tante says, "What we are, they have made it a crime in our own country. So we will go somewhere no one knows us." She refers to a law that forces the Romani out of home after home: "Whoever harms a Gypsy commits no crime." Then "la fièvre de la danse" takes ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 26
Black Is a Rainbow Color

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Black Is a Rainbow Color

by Angela Joy, illus. by Ekua Holmes

Black Is a Rainbow Color

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With Black Is a Rainbow Color, debut author Angela Joy pens a loving tribute to all the ways black is beautiful. Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ekua Holmes's brilliant collage illustrations elevate the text's themes of resilience and strength.

This multifaceted look into varying definitions and descriptions of what black is begins with the literal ("Black is a crayon, tangled in a box... Black is the dirt where sunflowers grow") before moving into more figurative explorations ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 26
The Glittering Hour

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The Glittering Hour

by Iona Grey

The Glittering Hour

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The romance see-sawing at the axis of Iona Grey's The Glittering Hour easily could have been weighed in the wrong direction by its cliched premise: poor boy meets rich girl, and a star-crossed affair ensues outside the stuffy parlors of 1920s-era London. Yet the novel escapes stereotype oversaturation through its delicate prose and tender treatment of passion. As nine-year-old Alice Carew languishes in the nursery of her family's frigid estate, she awaits letters from her mother in Burma, where her ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 26
Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War

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Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War

by Jonathan Rosenberg

Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War

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According to historian Jonathan Rosenberg, classical music has little relevance in the contemporary United States. But that wasn't always true. For much of the 20th century, classical music occupied a prominent role in American cultural and political life. In Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War, Rosenberg explores the surprising ways in which classical music in the U.S. became repeatedly tangled in international politics.

It is a complicated and ... [ Read More » ]

14 of 26
A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success

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A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success

by Maye Musk

A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success

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Maye Musk, who has risen to fame as an older model ("Who knew things would take off when I went silver?!"), grew up in Pretoria, South Africa, regularly hearing the Afrikaans saying "A farmer makes a plan." In A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success, she lays out how having an escape plan enabled her and her three young kids (one of whom is tech entrepreneur Elon) to flee her abusive husband. And in 1990, it was having a plan that gave her the chutzpah to move ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 26
Sidney Lumet: A Life

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Sidney Lumet: A Life

by Maura Spiegel

Sidney Lumet: A Life

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In Sidney Lumet: A Life, Columbia University film professor Maura Spiegel (The Breast Book) provides a discerning chronicle of the life of the groundbreaking American director. Known for seminal films such as 12 Angry Men and Network, Lumet's directorial career spanned five decades in film, television and theater. Born into a Polish-Jewish family, he was a child actor in Yiddish theater, radio shows, Broadway and film. He started working as a television director in 1950, when directors "were making ... [ Read More » ]

16 of 26
The Sacrament

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The Sacrament

by Olaf Olafsson

The Sacrament

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Olaf Olafsson (One Station Away) delivers a spellbinding mystery in his sixth novel, The Sacrament.

The story follows Sister Johanna, a French nun who is called to Iceland years after she investigated alleged abuse at a Catholic school there. Present-tense narration depicts her journey as she leaves behind her convent and travels to Paris, which brings back memories of her formative youth. Flashbacks reveal her relationship with a young Icelandic woman named Halla, and the machinations of an overbearing ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 26
Of Morsels and Marvels

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Of Morsels and Marvels

by Maryse Condé, trans. by Richard Philcox

Of Morsels and Marvels

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"The art of cooking is a gift. Like all the rest, nobody knows where it comes from." Maryse Condé is a scholar of Francophone literature and a winner of the 2018 Alternative Nobel literature prize, but here she brings readers into the world of her passion for food, for the creative processes of cooking. In Of Morsels and Marvels, translated from the French by her husband, Richard Philcox, Condé takes readers into her memories of food, feeding others and finding joy and beauty in the ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 26
No Good for Digging

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No Good for Digging

by Dustin M. Hoffman

No Good for Digging

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Dustin M. Hoffman's stories (One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist) are ballads for the working class who toil in the shadows, Studs Terkel's "walking wounded." In No Good for Digging, 31 short tales include the weirdly fantastical (magicians, Ouija board inspectors, diviners) as well as the everyday (plumbers, salesmen, prostitutes). All are treated with the same reverence, as they try to grind out a living against the odds and sometimes against each other.

Many of these tales are poignant metaphors for the ... [ Read More » ]

19 of 26
Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

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Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

by Robert Harms

Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa

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Historian Robert Harms brings his considerable expertise to bear on the bloody means by which the Congo River Basin was exploited for commercial gain in Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa. The Congo River Basin, rich in rubber and more, was largely dense rain forest that covered parts of six modern-day nations. As he did in The Diligent, his excellent history of the slave trade, Harms follows a few important--and deeply flawed--individuals who helped pave the way ... [ Read More » ]

20 of 26
Race to the Sun

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Race to the Sun

by Rebecca Roanhorse

Race to the Sun

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Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning) is a wildly fast-paced adventure based on Diné (Navajo) mythology.

Seventh-grader Nizhoni Begay wants fame--any kind (Internet or school) will suffice. What she's not so sure she wants is her newfound ability to see monsters: "Monsters wear human skin more often than fairy tales would lead you to think." When one of these monsters kidnaps her father, Nizhoni, her younger brother Mac, best friend Davery and newly introduced Diné ... [ Read More » ]

21 of 26
Me and Banksy

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Me and Banksy

by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Me and Banksy

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In Me and Banksy, Tanya Lloyd Kyi bites off a lot--cyberbullying, the trade-off between security and privacy, the artist's role in society--but no more than she can chew, and no more than readers can digest.

The middle schoolers at Mitchell Academy are uneasy when, in the putative interest of student safety, the administration introduces some changes: indoor security cameras and ID tags that the kids must scan to enter the building. The students' skepticism is borne out when embarrassing videos of ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 26
Just Watch Me

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Just Watch Me

by Jeff Lindsay

Just Watch Me

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In this exciting thriller from Dexter creator Jeff Lindsay, a corrupt Chicago pharmaceutical billionaire unveils a $50-million statue weighing more than 10 tons. The mayor is paid to give a speech praising the billionaire at the dedication ceremony. Master thief Riley Wolfe then steals both the statue and the billionaire. In broad daylight. In front of a crowd and armed security.

Riley was paid to steal the statue by a cartel drug lord, who wanted it as a trophy. But Riley took the billionaire to ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 26
Homie: Poems

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Homie: Poems

by Danez Smith

Homie: Poems

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Celebrated poet Danez Smith (Don't Call Us Dead) delivers a rapturous cry for all their friends and lovers in the profoundly moving collection Homie.

Smith writes with both power and precision, and their poetic forms are as diverse as their topics. Homie teems with stream-of-conscious prose poetry and in equal measure gleams with lapidary stanzas of more formalized verse. Even part of the book's acknowledgements section is set in poetic fashion. Smith's personal style mixes modern ... [ Read More » ]

24 of 26
The General Zapped an Angel

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The General Zapped an Angel

by Howard Fast

The General Zapped an Angel

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Originally published in 1970, The General Zapped an Angel collects nine science fiction and fantasy tales from the late American author and TV writer Howard Fast (Spartacus). Inventively strange and thought-provoking, Fast's tales satirize the human condition, focusing on greed. His characters' fixations on seeing their visions realized leads them into ethically treacherous ground: a warmonger shoots an angel and wants just to bury it; an alien race grants a mouse human cognition and telepathy yet ... [ Read More » ]

25 of 26
Deep State

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Deep State

by Chris Hauty

Deep State

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At the start of Chris Hauty's tense thriller Deep State, scrappy army boxer Hayley Chill abruptly exits the military to become a White House intern under President Richard Monroe, a divisive, Russia-loving blowhard. She receives a hostile reception from the other interns, who all come from money and Ivy League-educations and mistake her West Virginia twang for a lack of intelligence.

But Chief of Staff Peter Hall and President Monroe view her as a cut above the rest of the wannabes within her department, ... [ Read More » ]

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American Dirt

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American Dirt

by Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt

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Lydia Quixano Perez is jolted from her comfortable middle-class existence in Acapulco when she becomes the target of a drug cartel boss's wrath. His reach is far and his influence is wide. Mexico is no longer safe for Lydia. She's left with no choice but to flee for her life and that of her eight-year-old son, Luca. So they head for the United States and the hope of refuge. Jeanine Cummins (A Rip in Heaven; The Crooked Branch) tells the harrowing story of their journey with chilling detail and a
... [ Read More » ]

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