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Behold the Dreamers. By Imbolo Mbue. Random, $28 (9780812998481).
A Cameroonian family struggles to achieve the American dream during the Great Recession.
Christodora. By Tim Murphy. Grove, $27 (9780802125286).
A powerful novel about the impact of HIV and AIDS on individual lives, the activist community that developed in response, and the ways that the virus reverberates through decades and generations.
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. By Max Porter. Graywolf, $14 (9781555977412).
A surreal and poetic look at a passage in life when nothing feels quite right, the time after losing someone you love. What’s real? What’s imagined?
Homegoing. By Yaa Gyasi. Knopf, $26.95 (9781101947135).
A historical novel of two countries and the descendants of two half sisters: one sold into slavery in the U.S., the other remaining in Ghana.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things. By Iain Reid. Simon & Schuster, $22.95 (9781501126925).
Things are not as they seem as a couple ponders the meaning of it all on an eerie road trip to nowhere.
Missile Paradise. By Ron Tanner. Ig, $16.95 (9781632460097).
Drama and satirical humor intertwine to create an insightful story of regret, exposing American privilege and its effects on the Marshallese people.
The Nix. By Nathan Hill. Knopf, $27.95 (9781101946619).
When his absent mother gets arrested for an activist crime, a halfhearted college professor (who spends more time gaming than working) undertakes an offbeat voyage of self-discovery.
The Sport of Kings. By C. E. Morgan. Farrar, $27 (9780374281083).
A Kentucky horse farmer breeds Thoroughbreds, but his focus on controlling the outcomes of lives both equine and human has far-reaching consequences.
To the Bright Edge of the World. By Eowyn Ivey. Little, Brown, $26 (9780316242851).
From the wildly adventurous story of the Alaskan frontier to the innovative presentation on these pages, this historical novel blends folklore, science, feminism, and the then-new art of photography.
The Underground Railroad. By Colson Whitehead. Doubleday, $26.95 (9780385537032).
A shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share, with characters as fully realized as the train that carries them to “freedom.”
An Unrestored Woman. By Shobha Rao. Flatiron, $24.99 (9781250073822).
Women recover, or lose themselves, amid the backdrop of war, power struggles, and politics after the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan.
The Unseen World. By Liz Moore. Norton, $26.95 (9780393241686).
When she loses her computer scientist father to Alzheimer’s, young Ada Sibelius becomes aware of how little she truly knows about him. From Alan Turing to the next incarnation of Second Life, this character-driven novel is part mystery and part meditation on humanity.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? By Frans de Waal. Norton, $27.95 (9780393246186).
Inquiries into the intelligence of different species offer fresh perspectives on what we can learn from them about the human mind.
At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails. By Sarah Bakewell. Other, $25 (9781590514887).
A heady mix of biography, philosophy, and social history (with drinks!).
Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. By Patrick Phillips. Norton, $26.95 (9780393293012).
The expulsion of the entire African American community from Forsyth County, Georgia, in 1912 established it as a white-only region, a condition that persisted into the 1980s with the support of local officials.
The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland. By Dan Barry. Harper, $26.99 (9780062372130).
Spanning decades, a group of men with intellectual disabilities marginalized by society work tirelessly in a turkey-processing plant in Iowa under exploitative conditions.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. By Matthew Desmond. Crown, $28 (9780553447439).
Built on the painful struggles of individual families, this insightful ethnographic study elevates housing insecurity as a leading social-justice issue.
Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams. By Louisa Thomas. Penguin, $29.95 (9781594204630).
A nuanced portrait of a multitalented and widely traveled woman often overshadowed by other members of America’s first political dynasty.
The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. By Patricia Bell-Scott. Knopf, $30 (9780679446521).
The correspondence of two trailblazing women embodies the tension between the need for immediate action on civil rights versus the political philosophy of picking one’s battles.
The Gene: An Intimate History. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. Scribner, $30 (9781501138751).
A cancer physician and researcher uses his family history to frame the story of genetics, in all its danger and wonder.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. By Margot Lee Shetterly. Morrow, $27.99 (9780062363596).
This compelling narrative of the unsung heroines who helped the U.S. win WWII and reach the stars has been made into a movie.
In the Darkroom. By Susan Faludi. Holt, $32 (9780805089080).
A feminist writer’s investigation into her parents’ lives leads to an examination of our contemporary ideas of national and individual identity, gender, and family.
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. By Ruth Franklin. Norton/Liveright, $35 (9780871403131).
From early feminism to Tarot cards, reluctant polyamory to motherhood, drug use and literary daring, this is an in-depth and compassionate portrait of a complex writer.
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. By Nathaniel Philbrick. Viking, $30 (9780525426783).
The grueling course of the Revolutionary War tested its generals harshly, leading one of them to abandon the cause.
Cannibal. By Safiya Sinclair. Univ. of Nebraska, $17.95 (9780803290631).
Sharp observations of our off-kilter world will spark readers’ emotions while engaging their minds.
The Rain in Portugal. By Billy Collins. Random, $26 (9780679644064).
Dealing with ordinary life, death, and language, this collection is thoughtful, witty, and lyrical.
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