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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, has selected the titles for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge or for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. Titles were selected from books published from November 2009 through November 2010.
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. By Lynne Olson. 2010. Random, $28 (9781400067589).
In this compelling portrait, three influential individuals persuade a reluctant president to come to the aid of a beleaguered nation in the early days of WWII.
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss. By Edmund de Waal. 2010. Farrar, $25 (9780374105976).
Blending history, biography and art, this personal account elegantly traces the fate of a European Jewish family and its collection of 264 netsuke.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. By Rebecca Skloot. 2010. Crown, $26 (9781400052172).
A science writer uncovers the fascinating story of an African American woman’s cancer cells harvested for medical research, thereby raising important questions of bioethics.
Just Kids. By Patti Smith. 2010. Ecco, $27 (9780066211312).
The poet and musician’s endearing memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe captures life and art in New York City during the ’60s and ’70s.
Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition. By Daniel Okrent. 2010. Scribner, $35 (9780743277020).
This intoxicating history of the Eighteenth Amendment reveals the surprising relationship between Prohibition and other social movements and explores its lasting impact on American life.
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. By Nathaniel Philbrick. 2010. Viking, $29.95 (9780670021727).
An epic encounter between two iconic individuals is vividly portrayed in fluid, evocative, and decidedly objective prose.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. By Barbara Demick. 2010. Spiegel & Grau, $26 (9780385523905).
Chronicling the experiences of six people, this powerful account draws back the curtain on the brutality of life under a totalitarian regime.
The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness. By Oren Harman. 2010. Norton, $27.95 (9780393067781).
This moving work provides insight into the mind of a tormented genius attempting to understand an elusive aspect of human nature.
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival. By John Vaillant. 2010. Knopf, $26.95 (9780307268938).
Russia’s ecological and cultural history serves as the backdrop for this riveting adventure tale of man versus beast.
Travels in Siberia. By Ian Frazier. 2010. Farrar, $28 (9780374278724).
Stricken by “Russia love,” a writer sets out to experience all things Siberian and takes us along for the rollicking journey.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. By Isabel Wilkerson. 2010. Random, $30 (9780679444329).
The twentieth-century exodus of more than six million black Americans from the South is sensitively retold through the lives of three who left.
Washington: A Life. By Ron Chernow. 2010. Penguin, $40 (9781594202667).
A landmark biography provides insights into the complexities of this Founding Father’s character and brings him fully to life within the context of his times.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. By Tom Franklin. 2010. Morrow, $24.99 (9780060594664).
Two men—one black, one white—must confront the secrets surrounding their childhood friendship following the disappearance of two girls in rural Mississippi.
Freedom. By Jonathan Franzen. 2010. Farrar, $28 (9780374158460).
This incisive portrait of the fractured Berglund brood captures the zeitgeist of contemporary America.
The Lonely Polygamist. By Brady Udall. 2010. Norton, $26.95 (9780393062625).
In this bighearted novel, Golden Richards and his clan navigate their chaotic lives as each clamors to be noticed.
The Lotus Eaters. By Tatjana Soli. 2010. St. Martin’s, $24.99 (9780312611576).
The adrenaline high that danger offers infects photojournalist Helen Adams as she documents the war in Vietnam.
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War. By Karl Marlantes. Atlantic, $25(9780802119285).
An ambitious and idealistic U.S. Marine faces the horror, heroism, futility, and pragmatism of war in this visceral portrayal of life in-country.
Nashville Chrome. By Rick Bass. Houghton, $24 (9780547317267).
This lovely and unsettling account of pop trio the Browns reels you in as though the concept of rags to riches were brand new.
Next. By James Hynes. 2010. Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur, $23.99 (9780316051927).
Welcome to the worst day of Kevin Quinn’s life as he battles the anxieties of the modern world in steamy Austin, Texas.
Room. By Emma Donoghue. 2010. Little, Brown, $24.99 (9780316098335).
Five-year-old Jack vividly narrates the story of his life confined in a room with his mother in this unsettling exploration of resilience and hope.
Skippy Dies. By Paul Murray. 2010. Faber and Faber, $28 (9780865479432).
Filled with warmth and humor, this coming-of-age novel set in a Dublin boys’ school is a sprawling homage to adolescence, string theory, doughnuts, and unrequited love.
The Surrendered. By Chang-rae Lee. 2010. Riverhead, $26.95 (9781594489761).
The complex, entangled lives of three people forever scarred by the Korean War are sympathetically portrayed in gorgeous prose.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. By David Mitchell. 2010. Random, $25 (9781400065455).
A young clerk attempts to establish himself in the artificial and intense world of Dejima, the Dutch trading colony in 1800s Japan.
A Visit from the Goon Squad. By Jennifer Egan. 2010. Knopf, $24.95 (9780307592835).
A ’70s punk band becomes the touchstone for a motley crew who spin their interconnected stories over time and distance.
Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems. By Tony Hoagland. 2010. Graywolf, paper, $15 (9781555975494).
These poems capture the absurdities and loneliness of American life using matter-of-fact language and humor.
Wait: Poems. By C. K. Williams. 2010. Farrar, $25 (9780374285913).
A lifetime of experience is distilled into a slim but significant volume of verse by this Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning poet.
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