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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Notable Books
This list has been compiled for use by the general reader and by librarians who work with adults. The Notable Books Council, ALA Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), has selected the titles for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. All titles were published in 2015.
Black River. By S. M. Hulse. Houghton, $24 (9780544309876).
This modern literary western explores a man’s redemptive journey and the possibility (and cost) of forgiveness.
The Book of Aron. By Jim Shepard. Knopf, $23.95 (9781101874318).
The perspective of a boy whose only goal is to live another day gives a sharp edge to the mind-numbing tragedies of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Delicious Foods. By James Hannaham. Little, Brown, $26 (9780316284943).
Themes of race, addiction, wage slavery, and corporate greed coalesce in this startling, darkly comic coming-of-age odyssey.
Did You Ever Have a Family. By Bill Clegg. Simon & Schuster, $26 (9781476798172).
This novel explores the aftermath of a tragedy and its rippling effects in a small Connecticut town.
Fortune Smiles. By Adam Johnson. Random, $27 (9780812997477).
Stories that showcase humanity: quirky, disturbing, endearing, striving, resigned, and fascinating.
In the Country. By Mia Alvar. Knopf, $25.95 (9780385352819).
Exploring the Filipino experience, spanning decades and continents, these fully rendered tales express wonder and sadness leavened with humor.
A Little Life. By Hanya Yanagihara. Doubleday, $30 (9780385539258).
A visceral, provocative story of four New York City lives marred by ambition, abuse, and addiction.
The Prophets of Eternal Fjord. By Kim Leine. Tr. by Martin Aitken. Norton, $29.95 (9780871406712).
An epic and evocative tale of colonialism in Greenland; translated from the Danish.
The Sellout. By Paul Beatty. Farrar, $26 (9780374260507).
Poking the underbellies of many sacred cows, this biting social satire examines race, culture, and politics in modern America.
The Sympathizer. By Viet Thanh Nguyen. Grove, $26 (9780802123459).
A half-French, half-Vietnamese man serves as a double agent after the war and struggles with the contradictions of his identity and loyalties.
This Is the Life. By Alex Shearer. Washington Square, $16 (9781476764405).
Spare prose mixes with heart-wrenching humor in this gem of a story about two brothers coping with terminal illness.
The Tsar of Love and Techno. By Anthony Marra. Hogarth, $25 (9780770436438).
Beauty and humanity are found in the darkest and grimmest of places in these interconnected pieces.
Between the World and Me. By Ta-Nehisi Coates. Spiegel & Grau, $24 (9780812993547).
Framed as a letter to the author’s teenage son, this chronicle of race in America works as memoir, meditation, and call to action.
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. By Erik Larson. Crown, $28 (9780307408860).
A race to the finish, even though we know it won’t end well.
The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World. By Joel K. Bourne. Norton, $27.95 (9780393079531).
An agricultural revolution supported our booming population in the twentieth century, but we’ll need another one to sustain us in the years to come.
The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. By Lillian Faderman. Simon & Schuster, $35 (9781451694116).
An authoritative, affecting account of the effort to establish and solidify legal rights and cultural acceptance in the U.S.
Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. By Ari Berman. Farrar, $27 (9780374158279).
A sobering and impassioned popular history of the fight for universal suffrage in the U.S.
The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission. By Jim Bell. Dutton, $27.95 (9780525954323).
An enthusiastic account of our reach for intergalactic space—and the people who made it possible.
M Train. By Patti Smith. Knopf, $25 (9781101875100).
Part memoir, part travelogue, and, ultimately, an elegy to her beloved husband; written by an iconic American artist.
Nagasaki: Life after Nuclear War. By Susan Southard. Viking, $28.95 (9780670025626).
Bearing witness to hibakusha, those left behind.
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. By Charlotte Gordon. Random, $30 (9781400068425).
From A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to Frankenstein, this dual biography provides fresh insight about these groundbreaking authors.
The Soul of an Octopus: A Playful Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. By Sy Montgomery. Atria, $26 (9781451697711).
A charming, revelatory journey into the world of cephalopods.
Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva. By Rosemary Sullivan. Harper, $35 (9780062206107).
A portrait of a woman unable to escape the terrible shadow of her father.
The Wright Brothers. By David McCullough. Simon & Schuster, $30 (9781476728742).
A strong work ethic and keen observation fueled the quest to conquer manned flight.
Bastards of the Reagan Era. By Reginald Dwayne Betts. Four Way, $15.95 (9781935536659).
Drugs, violence, and incarceration during a period of fear and chaos, told in a brutal and haunting poetic voice.
Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. By Joy Harjo. Norton, $26.95 (9780393248500).
Folklore, history, personal journeys, and modern times are entwined in this absorbing work by a Native American poet.
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