When Will There Be Good News? (currently on my nightstand)Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown)
Unrelated characters and plot lines collide with momentous results in Atkinson's third novel to feature ex-cop turned PI Jackson Brodie.
Roberto Bolaño, trans. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Bolaño's sprawling masterpiece revolves around a passel of academics, a reclusive German writer and a fictionalized Juarez, Mexico. Pure brilliance.
Harlan Coben (Dutton)
Edgar-winner Coben's unnerving thriller follows a sadistic suburban killer in a New Jersey community with his usual mastery.
The Brass Verdict
This beautifully executed crime thriller brings together two popular Connelly characters, LAPD Det. Harry Bosch and L.A. lawyer Mickey Haller.
Master of the Delta
Thomas H. Cook (Harcourt)
Edgar-winner Cook examines the slow collapse of a prominent Southern family in this magnificent tale of suspense set in 1954.
Tony D'Souza (Harcourt)
This story of an Indian-American family's immigrant experience in Chicago is loaded with humor and pathos. Young in writer-years, D'Souza writes with a seasoned hand.
The Plague of Doves
Louise Erdrich (Harper)
Erdrich's 13th novel, a multigenerational tour de force of sin, redemption, murder and vengeance, finds its roots in the 1911 slaughter of a farming family near Pluto, N. Dak.
Tana French (Viking)
Fans of psychological suspense will embrace Irish author French, who blurs the boundaries between victim and cop, memory and fantasy, in this stunning sequel to her debut, In the Woods.
Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Diaspora, myth and a fascinating language mash-up propel the Rubik's cube of plots in Ghosh's picaresque epic. The cast is marvelous and the plot majestically serpentine, but the real hero is the English language, which has rarely felt so alive and vibrant.
Mo Hayder (Atlantic Monthly)
Readers looking for visceral thrills need look no further than this British crime novel involving African witchcraft.
The Lazarus Project
Aleksandar Hemon (Riverhead)
Dueling story lines about Central European immigrants dovetail into a masterful account of the immigrant experience and the quest for identity in MacArthur genius Hemon's second novel, an NBA finalist.
A.L. Kennedy (Knopf)
Kennedy's highly stylized and immeasurably sad sixth novel (after Paradise) follows former Royal Air Force tail gunner Alfred Day as he relives his experiences in a WWII German prison camp.
Hari Kunzru (Dutton)
A reformed London radical's past returns to haunt him in Kunzru's divine novel.
Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
The gulf that separates expatriate Bengali parents from their American-raised children—and that separates the children from India—remains Lahiri's subject for this faultless follow-up to The Namesake.
Lazar channels the Rolling Stones, Kenneth Anger and a Manson family associate in this piercing examination of the dread and exhilaration of the late 1960s.
Nam Le (Knopf)
The stories in Le's stunning debut collection cover a vast geographic territory and are filled with exquisitely painful and raw moments of revelation, captured in an economical style as deft as it is sure.
The Given Day
Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
In a splendid flowering of the talent previously demonstrated in his crime fiction (Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River), Lehane combines 20th-century American history, a gripping story of a family torn by pride and the strictures of the Catholic Church, and the plot of a multifaceted thriller.
Stuart MacBride (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Scottish author MacBride's dry wit turns what could have been a gratuitously gory slasher story into a crackling thriller.
How the Dead Dream
Lydia Millet (Counterpoint)
Millet is as lyrical, haunting and deliciously absurd as ever in this Heart of Darkness–style journey into massive loss.
Joseph O'Neill (Pantheon)
A Dutch-born equities analyst gets swept up by a fast-talking, crooked-dealing Bangladeshi cricket enthusiast in post-9/11 New York City in O'Neill's beautifully written and intelligent novel.
Donald Ray Pollock (Doubleday)
They don't come much grittier than this debut collection set in Knockemstiff, Ohio, a grimy pocket of derelicts, perverts and criminals.
Richard Price (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Price trains his sharp eye and flawless ear on Manhattan's Lower East Side in this manic crescendo of a novel that explores the repercussions of a seemingly random shooting.
Ron Rash (Ecco)
This implacably grim tale of greed and corruption gone wild—and of eventual, well-deserved revenge—follows the dealings of a Depression-era lumber baron and his callous new wife.
Tim Winton (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Two daredevil Australian teens get involved with a dangerous surfer (and his more dangerous wife) in this taut story of death, life, pleasure and thrill-seeking.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
David Wroblewski (Ecco)
A Wisconsin mute hides out in the woods with hyperintelligent dogs in Wroblewski's contemporary riff on Macbeth.
Sandi Ault (Berkley Prime Crime)
Ault smoothly blends a murder mystery plot with Native American lore in this impressive sequel to her debut, Wild Indigo.
Lie Down with the Devil
Linda Barnes (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Boston PI Carlotta Carlyle suspects her mob-associated fiancé of infidelity after he disappears in this utterly compelling 12th outing.
Ghost at Work
Carolyn Hart (Morrow)
A ghost turns sleuth in this intriguing first in a new series by veteran Hart, who's won Agatha, Anthony and Macavity awards.
The Private Patient
P.D. James (Knopf)
Adam Dalgliesh, the charismatic police commander, investigates a private plastic surgery clinic after the murder of a patient in what fans will hope is not his last case.
The Messengers of Death: A Mystery in Provence
Pierre Magnan, trans. from the French by Patricia Clancy (St. Martin's Minotaur)
French author Magnan blends elegant clue-laying and deft characterizations that strike to the core of human frailties in his second mystery set in Provence.
Death's Half Acre
Margaret Maron (Grand Central)
Corruption and murder stalk rural Colleton County, N.C., in Maron's outstanding 14th mystery to feature Judge Deborah Knott and her extended family.
James Sallis (Walker)
Poetic prose and the richly described rural Southern backdrop lift Sallis's sublime third novel to feature philosophical sheriff John Turner.
Fear of Landing
David Waltner-Toews (Poisoned Pen)
Set in the repressive Indonesia of the early 1980s, this compelling debut introduces an unlikely detective, a Canadian veterinarian.
Inger Ash Wolfe
In this bracingly original mystery set in rural Ontario, a middle-aged female police inspector investigates the murder of an elderly cancer patient.
How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)
Henry Alford (Twelve)
In this rich and humorous narrative, Alford focuses on the stories of the elderly as he sets off a prolonged meditation on the question: What is wisdom?
Nothing to Be Frightened Of Julian Barnes (Knopf)
In this virtuosic memoir, Barnes makes little mention of his personal or professional life, but grants readers access to an unexpectedly large world, populated with Barnes's daily companions and his chosen ancestors (“most of them dead, and quite a few of them French”).
The Journal of Hélène Berr
Hélène Berr, trans. from the French by David Bellos (Weinstein)
Berr's searing record of the devastation of Paris's Jewish community during the Nazi occupation is also a moving self-portrait of a passionate young Jewish Frenchwoman who tried to aid her people and carry on her life with dignity before she perished in Bergen-Belsen.
The Solitary Vice: Against Reading
Mikita Brottman (Counterpoint)
Sharp, whimsical and impassioned, Brottman's look at the pleasures and perils of compulsive reading is itself compulsively readable and will connect with any book lover.
Abraham Lincoln: A Life
(Johns Hopkins Univ.)
Drawing on a vast amount of new research, Lincoln scholar Burlingame has written the best biography of the 16th president to appear in many decades. This two-volume boxed set will supplant Carl Sandburg's as the authoritative work on Lincoln's life.
The Forever War
Dexter Filkins (Knopf)
With wrenching immediacy, Filkins's kaleidoscope of vignettes depicts the violent theater of the absurd he encountered reporting on the struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq since 1998.
Outliers: The Story of Success
Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown)
Gladwell tears down the myth of individual merit to explore how culture, circumstance, timing, birth and luck account for success—and how historical legacies can hold others back despite ample individual gifts.
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Annette Gordon-Reed (Norton)
This extraordinary work of scholarship, an NBA finalist, brings to life not only Sally Hemings, slave and mistress to Thomas Jefferson, but the family's tangled blood links with slaveholding Virginia whites over an entire century.
Standard Operating Procedure
Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris
Gourevitch and Morris's history of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison is broad, deep and highly disturbing, arguably as important and powerful as Gourevitch's 1998 Rwanda investigation, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families.
David Hackett Fischer
(Simon & Schuster)
With his characteristically outstanding style, Fischer offers the definitive biography of an extraordinary and flawed man: Samuel de Champlain (1567–1635): spy, explorer, courtier, soldier and founder and governor of New France (today's Quebec).
The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America
David Hajdu (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
After writing about the folk scene of the early 1960s in Positively 4th Street, Hajdu goes back a decade to examine the censorship debate over comic books, casting the controversy as a prelude to the cultural battle over rock music.
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
Mark Harris (Penguin Press)
In examining the five films nominated for the 1967 Best Picture Oscar, Harris widens his scope to show Old Hollywood and New Hollywood clashing over changing cultural values, an outdated Production Code and the civil rights movement.
Maggots in My Sweet Potatoes: Women Doing Time
Susan Madden Lankford
Photographs, interviews, statistics and exhaustive research combine in this moving, eye-opening account of California women caught in a cycle of prison and poverty. Looking at the situation from all angles, photographer and first-time author Lankford achieves a vital and very personal portrait of America's broken penal system.
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570–1215
David Levering Lewis (Norton)
Lewis gives a superb portrayal of the fraught half-millennium during which Islam and Christianity uneasily coexisted on the European continent, forging a sophisticated, socially diverse and economically dynamic culture.
The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music
Steve Lopez (Putnam)
With self-effacing humor, fast-paced yet elegant prose and unsparing honesty, Lopez tells an inspiring story of heartbreak and hope as he tries to help an accomplished though homeless violinist find his path off the streets.
The Dark Side
Jane Mayer (Doubleday)
This hard-hitting exposé, an NBA finalist, by New Yorker correspondent Mayer examines the war on terror with a meticulous reconstruction of the battle within the Bush administration over antiterrorism policies: harsh interrogations, indefinite detentions without due process, extraordinary renditions and secret CIA prisons.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir
McCracken tells her own story in this touching and often unexpectedly funny memoir about her life before and after losing her first child in the ninth month of pregnancy.
How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken
Daniel Mendelsohn (Harper)
Mendelsohn displays his intellectual breadth in these elegant, wide-ranging critical essays, drawing on his training as a classicist to look at contemporary culture, from The Glass Menagerie to Kill Bill.
The Soul of the Rhino: A Nepali Adventure with Kings and Elephant Drivers, Billionaires and Bureaucrats, Shamans and Scientists, and the Indian Rhinoceros
Hemanta Mishra with Jim Ottaway Jr. (Lyons)
This mesmerizing account follows Mishra's 30 years as a leader of Nepal's conservation efforts, implementing programs to help eliminate rhino poaching and increase the animal's population. Mishra's political triumphs and setbacks are bolstered by fascinating scenes of Nepal's cultural life and the vivid, varied wildlife.
Rogue Economics: Capitalism's New Reality
Loretta Napoleoni (Seven Stories)
Examining the worldwide economy of illegal, criminal and terrorist activities, Napoleoni takes readers to the dark side of free trade, covering the sex industry, Internet fraud, piracy, human slavery, drug trafficking and even the subprime mortgage lending scandal. Fans of Freakonomics and Eric Schlosser's consumer exposés will find this grim read quite gratifying.
Descent into Chaos
Ahmed Rashid (Viking)
Long overshadowed by the Iraq War, the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan and Central Asia finally receives a searching retrospective as Rashid surveys the region to reveal a thicket of ominous threats and lost opportunities.
Epilogue: A Memoir
In poignant flashes of everyday moments and memories, Roiphe tells an unflinching and unsentimental story of widowhood's stupefying disquiet, of surviving love and living on.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
Alice Schroeder (Bantam)
Schroeder strips away the mystery that has long cloaked the world's richest man to reveal a life and fortune erected around a lucid and inspired business vision and unimaginable personal complexity.
The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War
Asne Seierstad (Basic)
In this searing journey through a traumatized Chechnya, Norwegian journalist Seierstad highlights children, women and other victims of the war in a gallery of portraits drawn from her reporting—sometimes undercover—from the region.
Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives
Jim Sheeler (Penguin)
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sheeler offers an unflinching look at the soldiers who have died in Iraq and their devastated families in this NBA finalist's eloquent tribute that should be required reading for all Americans.
Audition: A Memoir
Barbara Walters (Knopf)
This mammoth, compulsively readable memoir offers an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor, bracing honesty and unflagging energy.
The Post-American World
Newsweek editor and popular pundit Zakaria delivers a largely optimistic forecast of where the 21st century is heading, predicting that despite its record of recent blunders at home and abroad, America will stay strong, buoyed by a stellar educational system and the influx of young immigrants.
Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen
José Andrés (Clarkson Potter)
Andrés brings everyday Spanish cooking to the American table in a collection that will appeal to both cooks new to Spanish cooking and experts.
Mario Batali (Ecco)
The latest from veteran cookbook author and restaurateur Batali contains enough ingenious, imaginative riffs to keep even the most seasoned of grillmasters experimenting; an essential collection for any serious backyard cook.
How to Cook Everything: 2000 Simple Recipes for Great Food
Mark Bittman (Wiley) (one of my faves)Ten years have brought many changes to the U.S. culinary landscape, and Bittman's new edition of his contemporary classic reflects that. Whether the first edition is on their shelves or not, home cooks of all skill levels will want to get this one.
Urban Italian: Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food
Andrew Carmellini (Bloomsbury)
In one of the more creative yet accessible Italian cookbooks to come along, New York chef Carmellini presents spectacular recipes while opening a window onto his life with food.
BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking
Shirley O. Corriher (Scribner)
James Beard Award–winner Corriher offers a no-nonsense approach to cakes, muffins, breads and cookies, showing that baking is, above all things, a science.
Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion
Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore
Moonen shares his expertise—from how to shop for fish to how to clean it and how to cook it—in this essential cookbook for home chefs.
No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge
(Simon & Schuster)
Seaman (who died this year) and Eldridge articulate the myths, controversies, statistics, economics and prevailing protocols that feed continued confusion regarding women's health during what the authors see as an overmedicalized but profoundly natural experience.
Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin
Kenny Shopsin and Carolynn Carreño (Knopf)
Shopsin hates publicity the way a magnet must hate metal filings, but this supposedly reluctant restaurateur now adds to his own legend by releasing a totally hilarious and surprisingly touching treatise on cooking, customer loyalty and family bonds.
A Platter of Figs: And Other Recipes
David Tanis (Artisan)
Both a meditation on the powerful rites of cooking and serving a meal and a gentle but serious education in doing both, this book by the part-time head chef at Berkeley's Chez Panisse is an impressive ode to the simple beauty of food.
Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance
Polly Young-Eisendrath (Little, Brown)
Young-Eisendrath identifies a “threatening and perplexing problem” she calls the self-esteem trap, and encourages overbearing parents to let kids develop autonomy and experience the consequences of their decisions.
© 2008, Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(note that this is just a partial list. For reasons of space i have not included Religion, Kids, Sci Fi etc)