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February 15, 2016 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 2010 through November 2011.
Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet. By Jennifer Homans. 2010. Random, $35 (9781400060603).
An elegant, authoritative work traces the evolution of classical dance from the sixteenth century to today, highlighting social and cultural dimensions of this traditional art form.
Arguably: Essays. By Christopher Hitchens. 2011. Twelve, $30 (9781455502776).
The late polymath and public intellectual displays his considerable range and biting wit in these thoughtful, incisive pieces that provoke and challenge.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President. By Candice Millard. 2011. Doubleday, $28.95 (9780385526265).
An era of great corruption and change in U.S. history is illuminated through the tragic story of two men: one destined for greatness, the other a madman.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. By Siddhartha Mukherjee. 2010. Scribner, $30 (9781439107959).
The history of these diseases and their treatments are examined through the stories of those seeking to discover a cure and the individuals affected.
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. By James Gleick. 2011. Pantheon, $28.95 (9780375423727).
This comprehensive study, a melodious interplay between science and literature, documents the transmission of human knowledge from talking drums to the Internet.
Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion. By Janet Reitman. 2011. Houghton, $28 (9780618883028).
An investigation of the origins, personalities, and controversies of this uniquely American religious movement.
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. By Manning Marable. 2011. Viking, $30 (9780670022205).
The definitive work on the life of Malcolm X and his transformation from petty thief to charismatic leader during the turbulent civil rights era.
The Memory Palace. By Mira Bartók. 2011. Free Press, $25 (9781439183311).
A beautifully wrought memoir chronicles the 17-year estrangement of the author and her homeless, schizophrenic mother and the painful reunion that brings them together.
Right Turn at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time. By Mark Adams. 2011. Dutton, $26.95 (9780525952244).
In this humorous travelogue, the author sprinkles historical anecdotes with investigative reporting as he retraces the steps of early explorers into ancient Peru.
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. By Stephen Greenblatt. 2011. Norton, $26.95 (9780393064476).
A meditation on the power of literature that examines how a medieval book hunter’s serendipitous discovery of an ancient prose poem provides a theoretical bridge to the Renaissance.
Thinking, Fast and Slow. By Daniel Kahneman. 2011. Farrar, $30 (9780374275631).
An entertaining look at the complexities and oddities that characterize our mental processes, from the only psychologist ever to have won the Nobel Prize for Economics.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. By Laura Hillenbrand. 2010. Random, $27 (9781400064168).
An Olympic runner’s physical and inner strength is tested by the experience and aftermath of a plane crash, 42 days at sea, and Japanese imprisonment.
The Art of Fielding. By Chad Harbach. 2011. Little, Brown, $24.95 (9780316126694).
One man’s failure to attain perfection on the baseball field reveals the pain and beauty that life offers in this psychologically astute novel.
The Cat’s Table. By Michael Ondaatje. 2011. Knopf, $26 (9780307700117).
An adventurous 21-day ocean voyage filled with a rich assortment of characters and escapades resonates for a boy on his way to a new life.
Light Lifting. By Alexander MacLeod. 2011. Biblioasis, paper, $16.95 (9781897231944).
Seven fearless short stories explore the limits of physical and emotional endurance in muscular prose.
Lost Memory of Skin. By Russell Banks. 2011. Ecco, $25.99 (9780061857638).
A surprisingly sympathetic exploration of the lives and treatment of sex offenders and how this reflects on our society.
Say Her Name. By Francisco Goldman. 2011. Grove, $24 (9780802119810).
A poetic novelization of the author’s struggle to cope with his young wife’s accidental death.
Selected Stories. By William Trevor. 2010. Viking, $35 (9780670022069).
These finely sculpted and timeless stories provide a greater appreciation for finding beauty in the minutiae of daily life.
The Sense of an Ending. By Julian Barnes. 2011. Knopf, $23.95 (9780307957122).
A sixtysomething retiree living near London searches through his memories to discern what role, if any, he may have played in a decades-old tragedy.
The Sisters Brothers. By Patrick deWitt. 2011. Ecco, $24.99 (9780062041265).
A darkly comic and quixotic western about two brothers whose divergent worldviews are presented with originality and sparkling prose.
Swamplandia! By Karen Russell. 2011. Knopf, $24.95 (9780307263995).
An inventive story set in an alligator theme park navigates boundaries between childhood and adulthood, imagination and reality, in an American landscape both familiar and surreal.
The Tiger’s Wife. By Téa Obreht. 2011. Random, $25 (9780385343831).
After the death of her beloved grandfather, a young doctor navigates family history, folklore, and love across ethnic barriers in a war-torn country.
The Tragedy of Arthur. By Arthur Phillips. 2011. Random, $26 (9781400066476).
In an adulthood marred by family dysfunction, an author who dislikes Shakespeare reluctantly finds himself in possession of the Bard’s lost gem. Or does he?
We the Animals. By Justin Torres. 2011. Houghton, $21 (9780547576725).
This searing portrait of a troubled, mixed-race working-class family centers on the youngest son as he struggles to find his identity amid affection and abuse.
Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. By Sheila Black and others. 2011. Cinco Puntos, paper, $19.95 (9781935955054).
A collection of poems and essays that provides insight into the lives of the estimated 50 million Americans with disabilities.
Illuminations. By Arthur Rimbaud. Tr. by John Ashbery. 2011. Norton, $24.95 (9780393076356).
A vigorous new translation of the French prodigy’s last poems as rendered by one of America’s finest contemporary poets.
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