100 Notable Books of 2020
Название: 100 Notable Books of 2020
Размер: 116 mb, 1,02 Gb
Год издания: 2020
The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review
FICTION AND POETRY
THE AOSAWA MURDERS, by Riku Onda. Translated by Alison Watts. (Bitter Lemon, paper, $14.95.)
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. (Norton, $26.95.)
Outside|Chicago, agunman opens fire at a school for Palestinian girls. Mustafah rewinds from the shooting to the principal’s childhood as a new immigrant, a story of outsiders coming together in surprising and uplifting ways.
BEHELD, by TaraShea Nesbit. (Bloomsbury, $26.)
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. (Flatiron, $26.99.)
In this gritty rural thriller, the owner of a struggling auto shop drifts back to his old life of crime. The well-tuned action evokes the odors of gun smoke and burned rubber.
THE BOY IN THE FIELD, by Margot Livesey. (HarperCoiiins, $26.99.)
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 Bettand David Boyd. (Europa, $27.)
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 BURNING, by Megha Majumdar. (Knopf,$25.95.)
A brazen act of terrorism in an Indian city sets this propulsive debut in motion, and lands an innocent young bystander in jail. With impressive assurance and insight, Majumdar unfolds a story about the ways power is wielded and manipulated to crush the powerless.
A CHILDREN’S BIBLE, by Lydia Millet. (Norton, $25.95.)
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.
CLEANNESS, by Garth Greenwell. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.)
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.
DEACON KING KONG, by James McBride. (Riverhead, $28.)
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. McBride’s tour de force resounds with madcap characters and sly commentary on race, crime and inequality.
THE DEATH OF JESUS, by J. M. Coetzee. (Viking, $27.)
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, to be sure, but one with no easy or predictable parallels.
THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI, by Akwaeke Emezi. (Riverhead, $27.)
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. (Random House, $27.)
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 and outsiders.
THE DUKE WHO DIDN’T, by Courtney Milan. (Self-published, 241 pp., paper, $15.99, e-book, $4.99.)
Tender and 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 resists his feelings for her.
EARTHLINGS, by Sayaka Murata. Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori. (Grove Press, $26).
In the Japanese author’s second novel, two cousins agree that they’re aliens, abandoned at birth among humans. After the traumas of childhood, they seek to quit society altogether.
EVERYWHERE YOU DON'T BELONG, by Gabriel Bump. (Algonquin, $25.95.)
It’s the rare book that can balance heaviness and levity. This debut — a dark comedy about growing up on the South Side of Chicago — pulls the feat off generously, without visible effort.
FEED, by Tommy Pico. (Tin House, paper, $15.95.)
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 simple companionship. “Feed” lets sympathetic readers pretend to live, for almost 80 pages, inside Pico’s charismatic, uneasy mind.
FELON: Poems, by Reginald Dwayne Betts. (Norton, $26.95.)
Betts’s searing third collection surveys prison 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 poet’s prismatic language.
THE GLASS KINGDOM, by Lawrence Osborne. (Hogarth, $27.)
An American woman is on the lam with a suitcase full of cash in Osborne’s novel, set in a Bangkok rattled by unrest. As her apartment refuge grows more prisonlike, Osborne’s command of mood keeps the reader’s pulse racing.
HAMNET: A Novel of the Plague, by Maggie O'Farrell. (Knopf, $26.95.)
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.
HIS ONLY WIFE, by Peace Adzo Medie. (Algonquin, $25.95.)
This rich, rewarding debut follows a Ghanaian seamstress, forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man she has never met, on her journey of self-discovery.
HOMELAND ELEGIES, by Ayad Akhtar. (Little, Brown, $28.) Akhtar’s novel is about the dream of national belonging that has receded for American Muslims since 9/11. Deeply personal and unreservedly political, it often reads like a collection of essays illustrating the author’s prismatic identity.
HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD, by C Pam Zhang. (Riverhead, $2G.)
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.
HURRICANE SEASON, by Fernanda Melchor. Translated by Sophie Hughes. (New Directions, $22.95.)
This searing novel, the first in English by the Mexican Melchor, dazzles with fury and beauty. Inspired by the wave of femicide in her home state of Veracruz, the author transmutes violence to fable.
JACK, by Marilynne Robinson. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.)
This uplifting addition to Robinson’s numinous Gilead series centers on an interracial romance in postwar St. Louis that was hinted at 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.
KIM JIYOUNG, BORN 1982, by Cho Nam-Joo. Translated by Jamie Chang. (Liveright, $20.)
A sensation when it appeared in South Korea in 2016, this novel coolly recounts a young mother’s descent into madness.
THE KING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, by Arthur Phillips. (Random House, $27.)
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 to influence the choice of the queen’s successor.
LITTLE EYES, by Samanta Schweblin. Translated by Megan McDowell. (Riverhe|ad, $26|.)
In this brilliantly creepy nojvel, surveillance takes the form of a toylike, camera-equipped pet: Owning one is like inviting a mute stranger into your home.
LUSTER, by Raven Leilani. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.)
This first novel, about a 23-year-old New Yorker entangled with a white suburban couple and their Black daughter, features sentences that crackle and a plot that races like a bike down a hill.
MAN OF MY TIME, by Dalia Sofer. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.)
Sofer’s 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.
MEMORIAL, by Bryan Washington. (Riverhead, $27.)
A sense of estrangement pervades this assured novel, which opens as a man flies to Osaka to care for his father, leaving his visiting mother and his Black boyfriend to keep each other company.
THE MEMORY MONSTER, by Yisha| Sarid. (Restless Books, $20.)
This brilliant short novel, about an obsessed tour guide| to the Nazi death camps, is a sharp-toothed brief against letting the past devour the present.
THE MERCIES, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. (Little, Brown, $27.)
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.
MINOR DETAIL, by Adania Shibli. (New Directions, paper, $15.95.)
This slim, haunting novel opens with the rape and murder of a Palestinian girl in 1949, then shifts to present-day Ramallah as a young woman tries to determine what happened.
THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT, by Hilary Mantel. (Holt, $30.)
The final novel in Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” trilogy returns to the terror of Henry VIII’s court, where falls from grace are quick and often fatal. For all its political and literary plotting, the book is most memorable for its character portraits.
MISSIONARIES, by Phil Klay. (Penguin Press, $28.)
The converging narratives of this astounding novel (Klay’s first, after his prizewinning story collection “Redeployment”) capture the complexities of Colombia’s five-decade war. Klay does not shy from the thorny moral questions and psychological impacts of conflict, and the result is at once terrifying and thought-provoking.
MONOGAMY, by Sue Miller. (Harper/HarperCollins, $28.99.)
A gregarious bookstore owner dies suddenly, leaving his widow, children and ex-wife to make sense of the messy and colorful life they shared. Miller’s engrossing novel is infused with generosity and complicated love.
OBIT: Poems, by Victoria Chang. (Copper Canyon, paper, $17.)
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 poe|ms.
REAL LIFE, by Brandon Taylor. (Riverhead, $26.)
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.
RED PILL, by Hari Kunzru. (Knopf, $27.95.)
A fellowship in Germany turns sinister and sets a writer on a quest to expose a political evil he believes is loose in the world. Kunzru’s wonderfully weird novel is rich with insights on surveillance and power.
SAINT X, by Alexis Schaitkin. (Celadon, $26.99.)
In 1995, on a nameless Caribbean island, the daughter of an American family goes missing. This hypnotic debut delivers acute social commentary on everything from class and race to familial bonds and community.
SEA WIFE, by Amity Gaige. (Knopf, $26.95.)
A husband and wife try to escape their problems by packing up their small children and taking to the sea on a boat they barely know how to sail. Trouble follows, but not necessarily the kind you expect.
SHARKS IN THE TIME OF SAVIORS, by Kawai Strong Washburn. (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $27.)
Washburn has no interest in the Hawaii of resorts and honeymoons; the characters in his singular debut live in a modern yet mystical version of the archipelago that no conqueror can ever fully eradicate.
SHUGGIE BAIN, by Douglas Stuart. (Grove, $27.)
Young Shuggie grows up in 1980s Glasgow with a calamitous, alcoholic mother and punishing reminders that his effeminate manner sets him apart. Pain — physical and emotional — is everywhere in this potent, sure-footed debut, which makes a strong case for love’s redemptive power.
SISTERS, by Daisy Johnson. (Riverhead, $26.)
Secluded in a dilapidated country house, their depressed mother in a room upstairs, the teenagers at the center of this macabre novel mull a sinister deed from their past. Johnson expertly layers the Gothic atmosphere with dread, grief and guilt.
TOKYO UENO STATION, by Yu Miri. Translated by Morgan Giles. (Riverhead, $25.)
Yu’s glorious modernist novel is narrated by a voice from the dead: a construction worker haunting various Tokyo landmarks.
THE TUNNEL, by A. B. Yehoshua. Translated by Stuart Schoffman. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.)
A retired engineer in the early stages of dementia takes a job in the desert outside Tel Aviv to keep his mind sharp. Yehoshua skillfully entwines social commentary with a portrait of a mind in decline.
THE VANISHING HALF, by Brit Bennett. (Riverhead, $27.)
Bennett’s gorgeous 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.
WHY I DON’T WRITE: And Other Stories, by Susan Minot. (Knopf, $25.)
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.
WRITERS & LOVERS, by Lily King. (Grove, $27.)
A young waiter and writer is lonely, broke, directionless and grieving for her mother, who has died suddenly. King’s hopeful novel follows her quest for solvency, peace and passion.
THE BEAUTY IN BREAKING: A Memoir, by Michele Harper. (Riverhead, $27.)
In her teens, Harper 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. This memoir of becoming an emergency room physician is also a profound statement on inequities in medical care.
BECOMING WILD: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace, by Carl Safina. (Holt, $29.99.)
All ecologist and animal behaviorist delves into the world of chimpanzees, sperm whales and macaws to argue that animals learn from one another and pass down culture.
THE BIGGEST BLUFF: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win, by Maria Konnikova. (Penguin Press, $28.)
Konnikova, a writer for The New Yorker with a Ph.D. in psychology, decided to study poker for its interplay between luck and grit. Her journey took her further into the world of high-stakes gambling than she ever imagined.
BLACK WAVE: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East, by Kim Ghattas. (Holt, $30.)
A Lebanese-born journalist and scholar argues that much of the Middle East’s unrest stems from the competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
THE BOOK OF EELS: Our Enduring Fascination With the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World, by Patrik Svensson. (Ecco, $28.99.)
Svensson follows those slithery beings in every direction, moving from Aristotle to Freud to the fishing trips of his youth.
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party, by Julian E. Zelizer. (Penguin Press,
Gingrich’s slash-and-burn style disrupted Congress in the late 1980s and led to repeated Republican successes.
CASTE: The Origins of our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. (Random House, $32.) 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. (Liveright, $35.)
Thirty years in the making, this magisterial biography of Malcol|m X was completed by Les Payne’s daughter after his death in 2018. It offers a finely shaded, penetrating portrait of the Black activist and thinker, whose legacy continues to resonate.
DEATHS OF DESPAIR AND THE FUTURE OF CAPITALISM, by Anne Case and Angus Deaton. (Princeton University, $27.95.)
This important book examines the pain of white blue-collar workers and suggests that their hopelessness may eventually extend to the entire American work force.
DESERT NOTEBOOKS: A Road Map for the End of Time, by Ben Ehrenreich. (Counterpoint, $26.)
The author, a columnist for The Nation, divides his book into two strands: a journallike description of h|is life in desert America, in a cabin near Joshua Tree National Park, and his move to Las Vegas, where his world shrinks.
A DOMINANT CHARACTER: The Radical Science and Restless Politics of J. B. S. Haldane, by Samanth Subramanian. (Norton, $40.)
Haldane, the British biologist and ardent communist who helped synthesize Darwinian evolution with Mendelian genetics, was once as famous as Einstein. This elegant biography draws out the fraught link between science and politics.
THE DRAGONS, THE GIANT, THE WOMEN: A Memoir, by Wayétu Moore. (Graywolf, $26.) Like her
debut novel, “She Would Be King,” Moore’s immersive memoir has elements of the fantastical, framed by her family’s harrowing escape from war in Liberia.
EAT THE BUDDHA: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town, by Barbara Demick. (Random House, $28.)
Demick tells a decades-long story about Ngaba, a small Sichuan town that has be-come the center of résistance to Chinese authority, lately by way of self-immolation.
THE END OF EVERYTHING: (Astrophysically Speaking), by Katie Mack. (Scribner, $26.)
Many books hâve been written about the creation of the universe 13.8 billion years ago. But Mack, a theoretical cosmologist, is interested in how it ail ends. She guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery.
EXERCISE OF POWER: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World, by Robert M. Gates. (Knopf, $29.95.)
With decades of foreign policy experience, Gates offers a corrective to U.S. missteps.
FALLOUT: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World, by Lesley M. M. Blume. (Simon & Schuster, $27.)
Blume’s magisterial account relates how John Hersey broke the story of the atom bomb’s effects on survivors.
THE HARDHAT RIOT: Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution, by David Paul Kuhn. (Oxford University, $29.95.)
Kuhn highlights one day, May 8,1970, when blue-collar workers attacked antiwar protesters. Politics have never been the same.
HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: Inside the Mind of an American Family, by Robert Kolker. (Doubleday, $29.95.)
It reads like Greek tragedy: Six of the Galvins’ 12 children developed schizophrenia. More than a narrative of despair, though, this book also follows the scientists who sought clues to the disease.
THE INEVITABILITY OF TRAGEDY: Henry Kissinger and His World, by Barry Gewen. (Norton, $30.)
Gewen, a longtime editor at the Book Review, traces the roots of Kissinger’s realism, situating him in a cohort of Jewish intellectuals who escaped Nazi Germany.
JUST US: An American Conversation, by Claudia Rankine. (Graywoif, $30.)
Rankine combines essays, poetry and visual art to interrogate the ways race haunts her, and America.
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG-DISTANCE CARTOONIST, by Adrian Tomine. (Drawn + Quarterly,
$29.95.) - N/a
Tomine’s autobiographical graphic novel vents the rage and fragility beneath the surface of his pristine drawings.
THE MAN WHO RAN WASHINGTON: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III, by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. (Doubleday, $35.)
This fascinating biography of the former secretary of state plumbs his accomplishments as well as the compromises he had to make.
MEMORIAL DRIVE: A Daughter’s Memoir, by Natasha Trethewey. (Ecco, $27.99.)
A haunting elegy and a work of great beauty and tenderness, this memoir by a Pulitzer Prizewinning poet tells the wrenching story of her mother’s murder by her ex-husband.
97,196 WORDS: Essays, by Emmanuel Carrère. Translated by John Lambert. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.)
This collection underscores Car-rère’s incisive style and moral stance; whether writing about a murderer or a movie star, he is also investigating himself.
NOTES ON A SILENCING: A Memoir, by Lacy Crawford. (Little, Brown, $27.)
This devastating, erudite memoir chronicles the author’s sexual assault as a student at St. Paul’s, an elite boarding school in Concord, N.H. — followed by a decades-long cover-up and her own complicated recovery.
OVERGROUND RAILROAD: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America, by Candacy Taylor. (Abrams, $35.)
Taylor traveled to thousands of places cited in the Green Book, the essential guide for Black drivers during Jim Crow. Her lively history is mindful of the ongoing struggle for social mobility
OWLS OF THE EASTERN ICE: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl, by Jonathan C. Slaght. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.)
An ode to the rigors and pleasures of fieldwork, by a biologist determined to conserve an elusive raptor in the wilds of Russia.
A PECULIAR INDIFFERENCE: The Neglected Toll of Violence on Black America, by Elliott Currie. (Metropolitan, $27.99.)
This essential book by a veteran legal scholar argues that violence against Black lives stems from the nation’s refusal to address its structural roots.
A PILGRIMAGE TO ETERNITY: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith, by Timothy Egan. (Viking, $28.)
Egan, a “lapsed but listening” Catholic, travels 1,200 miles to Rome and scrupulously examines his belief.
A PROMISED LAND, by Barack Obama. (Crown, $45.)
The former president’s memoir, the first of two volumes, is a pleasure: the prose gorgeous, the detail vivid. Its focus is more political than personal, but he evokes family with a beauty close to nostalgia.
THE QUIET AMERICANS: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War — a Tragedy in Three Acts, by Scott Anderson. (Doubleday, $30.)
Anderson’s enthralling history follows four C.I.A. operatives as their initial idealism sours.
REAGANLAND: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980, by Rick Perlstein. (Simon & Schuster, $40.)
The conclusion of Perlstein’s four-volume saga on conservatism in America is absorbing political and social history, with sharp insights into the foibles of the late 1970s.
THE SADDEST WORDS: William Faulkner's Civil War, by Michael Gorra. (Liveright, $29.95.)
Gorra’s complex meditation is rich in insight, arguing for Faulkner’s historical value as a chronicler of slavery’s aftermath.
THE SELECTED LETTERS OF RALPH ELLISON, edited by John F. Callahan and Marc C. Conner. (Random House, $50.)
For six decades the author of “Invisible Man” corresponded with the greatest writers of his day. This magnificent collection captures his wit and his powerful ideas on Black creativity.
SHAKESPEARE IN A DIVIDED AMERICA: What His Plays Tell Us About Our Past and Future, by James Shapiro. (Penguin Press, $27.)
Shapiro analyzes American approaches to Shakespeare to show how our rifts endure.
THE SIRENS OF MARS: Searching for Life on Another World, by Sarah Stewart Johnson. (Crown, $28.99.)
Johnson, a planetary scientist, oscillates in lyrical prose between a history of Mars science and her own journey seeking sparks of life in the immensity.
SOUL FULL OF COAL DUST: A Fight for Breath and Justice in Appalachia, by Chris Hamby. (Little, Brown, $30.)
Hamby powerfully recounts two stories: the poor health of coal miners, and the battle for federal help to force companies to pay for their medical care.
THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, by Erik Larson. (Crown, $32.)
This account of Churchill’s leadership in the turbulent year from May 1940 to May 1941, when Britain stood on the brink of defeat, is fresh, fast and moving.
THE THIRD RAINBOW GIRL: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, by Emma Copley Eisenberg. (Hachette, $27.)
Decades after tWO young women were killed there, a small town still grapples with the crime. This evocative book takes a prismatic view.
THIS IS ALL I GOT: A New Mother’s Search for Home, by Lauren Sandler. (Random House, $27.)
Sandler charts a homeless woman’s path through joy and struggle as she seeks a permanent place to raise her child.
UNCANNY VALLEY: A Memoir, by Anna Wiener. (MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.)
At 25, Wiener took a job in the hypercompetitive, morally obtuse world of tech start-ups. Her stylish, unsparing memoir reckons with an industry awash in self-delusion.
THE UNDOCUMENTED AMERICANS, by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio. (One World, $26.)
Cornejo Villavicencio was one of the first undocumented students accepted to Harvard. Her evocative first book tells “the full story” of what that means — relying not just on her own experience but on interviews with immigrants across the country.
UNTIL THE END OF TIME: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe, by Brian Greene. (Knopf, $30.)
The renowned cosmologist uses physics to take on our deepest mysteries.
THE VAPORS: A Southern Family, the New York Mob, and the Rise and Fall of Hot Springs, America’s Forgotten Capital of Vice, by David Hill. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.)
Hill nimbly recreates the 20th-century heyday of Hot Springs, Ark., as a hangout for gamblers, mobsters and crooked politicians.
WAGNERISM: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, by Alex Ross. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $40.)
Ross displays vast intellectual range and nuance to probe the nerve endings of Western society through its reactions to Richard Wagner’s oeuvre.
WAR: How Conflict Shaped Us, by Margaret MacMillan. (Random House, $30.)
This Short book has a rich theme: Fighting and killing are intimately bound up with what it means to be human, and war has led to great achievements as well as disasters.
THE WEIRDEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous, by Joseph Henrich. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $35.)
Henrich draws on multiple fields to make an ambitious case for the distinctiveness of Western psychology.
WHO GETS IN AND WHY: A Year Inside College Admissions, by Jeffrey Selingo. (Scribner, $28.)
Selingo challenges the facade of meritocracy in this absorbing study of America’s obsession with higher education.
A WOMAN LIKE HER: The Story Behind the Honor Killing of a Social Media Star, by Sanam Maher. (Melville House, $27.99.)
This fascinating portrait of Qandeel Baloch, Pakistan’s first big female internet sensation, is also a skillful account of the clash between traditional values and social change.
YELLOW BIRD: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country, by Sierra Crane Murdoch. (Random House, $28.)
This beautiful and painstaking book, Murdoch’s first, examines the effects of fracking on a North Dakota reservation. □
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