This Week's Best New Books

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White House Warriors

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White House Warriors

by John Gans

White House Warriors

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In his fascinating debut, policy strategist John Gans sheds light on one of the most enigmatic and profoundly influential institutions of the American government: the National Security Council (NSC). Written for policy wonks and political novices alike, White House Warriors is laid out as a chronology, tracing the NSC from its post-World War II inception, under President Truman's National Security Act of 1947, to its present-day incarnation and mode of operation under President Trump. Gans, in remarkable ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 25
Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

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Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

by Sonali Dev

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

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Sonali Dev (A Change of Heart; A Bollywood Affair) gives readers an entertaining twist on Jane Austen's classic tale, reimagined in a contemporary family drama. Brilliant neurosurgeon Trisha Rajes is a socially inept member of a wealthy, multi-generational Indian American family. After a teenage error in judgment leaves her semi-estranged from her family, workaholic Trisha focuses on her career. British chef DJ Caine is well on his way to fame and fortune when his beloved sister becomes ill. He leaves ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 25
Naturally Sweet Baking: Healthier Recipes for a Guilt-Free Treat

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Naturally Sweet Baking: Healthier Recipes for a Guilt-Free Treat

by Carolin Strothe, Sebastian Keitel

Naturally Sweet Baking: Healthier Recipes for a Guilt-Free Treat

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... [ Read More » ]

4 of 25
The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found

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The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found

by Violet Moller

The Map of Knowledge: A Thousand-Year History of How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found

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For centuries, the pursuit of knowledge has been revered. The Library of Alexandria, founded by Ptolemy I around 300 BC, was the center of scholarship in the ancient world. By 500 AD, the Roman Empire collapsed, cities retreated and the ascendant Christian Church had little interest in pagan knowledge. The Library of Alexandria fell into ruin, and innumerable texts vanished--but not all knowledge was lost.

In The Map of Knowledge, historian Violet Moller examines how classical ideas from ancient ... [ Read More » ]

5 of 25
The Absence of Sparrows

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The Absence of Sparrows

by Kurt Kirchmeier

The Absence of Sparrows

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On a summer day in the small town of Griever's Mill (population 3,004), "a roiling mass" of darkness rolls in, leaving "a sky that looked like a liquid bruise and sounded like a steel bridge on the verge of collapse." Eleven-year-old Ben and his 12-year-old brother, Pete, witness the harrowing aftermath: across the globe, adults are turning into obsidian glass statues. To make matters worse, the glassified victims soon start shattering. When an enigmatic voice on the radio suggests a radical plan ... [ Read More » ]

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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

by Tanya Boteju

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

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It's the summer before senior year, and Nima has been "wizened by two major disappointments": her mom left inexplicably over a year ago and the straight friend she's crushed on for three years doesn't want to be her girlfriend. Wanting to escape the monotony of what life has become, she seeks a way to prove she's not just "simple, awkward, humdrum Nima," but instead a person worthy of "framing and displaying on someone's wall."

When she dares to attend a drag show, Nima is befriended by the "gregarious ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 25
The Island

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The Island

by Ragnar Jónasson, trans. by Victoria Cribb

The Island

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In The Darkness, Hulda Hermannsdóttir was on the cusp of forced retirement from the Reykjavík police department. The Island, which begins 25 years earlier, finds the detective agitating for a higher-ranking job that's opening at the station. Meanwhile, one of her colleagues is blackmailing another detective to ensure the conviction of a circumstantially guilty man whose 20-year-old daughter was murdered at the family's summer house.

Ten years later, Hulda, who lost the job she wanted ... [ Read More » ]

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The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

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The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

by Brenda Wineapple

The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation

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In 1868, three years after Abraham Lincoln's death, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson marked a time of great divide and turmoil in the United States. It also brought an opportunity: removing Johnson from office would help advance the rights of African Americans, continuing one of Lincoln's signature goals.

The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation effectively captures the tumultuous events and pivotal characters from this crucial time in American history. Through ... [ Read More » ]

10 of 25
Disappearing Earth

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Disappearing Earth

by Julia Phillips

Disappearing Earth

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Julia Phillips, a Fulbright Fellow, stuns with her elegant and suspenseful debut, Disappearing Earth. Set over the course of a year on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, the novel opens on a warm August afternoon. Two young girls are playing by the shore when a strange, limping man kidnaps them under the ruse of asking for help getting back to his car. The chapters that follow offer intimate portraits of people who knew the girls or were members of their tight-knit community. The characters ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 25
A Deceptive Devotion

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A Deceptive Devotion

by Iona Whishaw

A Deceptive Devotion

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Canadian author Iona Whishaw spins another engrossing tale of murder, Russian assassins, British spies and local Canadian constabulary while deftly braiding the many story threads into a twisty plot in A Deceptive Devotion. In September 1947, retired spy Lane Winslow is happily contemplating her upcoming marriage to Inspector Darling when an elderly Russian woman seeks her aid. She takes the destitute lady into her home while Darling searches for the woman's missing brother. Meanwhile, in the Soviet ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 25
Coders: The Making of a New Art and the Remaking of the World

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Coders: The Making of a New Art and the Remaking of the World

by Clive Thompson

Coders: The Making of a New Art and the Remaking of the World

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If asked to name professions that impact our lives, many would list doctors, firefighters or others involved in life-saving professions. But on a daily basis, it's computer programmers who are "among the most quietly influential people on the planet." In Coders, Wired columnist Clive Thompson examines the architects of the digital world and their impact on every corner of society. Thanks to coders, we have unprecedented opportunities to access information, complete complex tasks and express individuality--all ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 25
The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness

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The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness

by Ali Wenzke

The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity and Finding Happiness

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When Ali Wenzke moved to Knoxville, Tenn., she thought she was moving to her dream town. Six months later, her family still hadn't settled into their new life, and Ali found herself lonelier than she'd ever been before. No stranger to moving (10 moves in 11 years!), Wenzke took a good hard look at where she had gone wrong and started a popular website for others struggling with the same problems. Now, in The Art of Happy Moving: How to Declutter, Pack, and Start Over While Maintaining Your Sanity ... [ Read More » ]

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A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time

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A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time

by Antonia Malchik

A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time

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Going for a walk, or even stepping out the door on two feet, is a fundamentally human activity. But over the last few centuries, much of humanity has gradually lost, or is losing, the access and ability to walk without impediment and without fear. In her first book, A Walking Life, journalist Antonia Malchik delves into the repercussions of a sedentary life and explores the benefits--social, political, physical and spiritual--of reclaiming walking as an essential practice. "We walk," she says, "to ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 25
Things My Son Needs to Know About the World

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Things My Son Needs to Know About the World

by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World

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Following five successful novels--including A Man Called Ove and Us Against You--Swedish author Fredrik Backman turns to nonfiction. It should come as no surprise that this collection of essays to his young son is splendidly entertaining. As Backman generously offers a peek into the wisdom he bestows on his progeny, readers will find all the humor, profound insight and compassion that make his fiction so irresistible.

Backman claims that parents "actually haven't got a clue what we're really doing--having ... [ Read More » ]

16 of 25
Orange World and Other Stories

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Orange World and Other Stories

by Karen Russell

Orange World and Other Stories

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Karen Russell, the author of Swamplandia!, offers eight fantastical tales in Orange World and Other Stories. In "The Prospectors," two friends must survive a night at a party of denial-ridden ghosts. In "Bog Girl," a young boy falls in love with a girl he discovers buried in peat and mud in a nearby swamp. Other standouts from the collection include the post-apocalyptic, poisonous Everglades of "The Gondoliers" and the bargain a woman makes with the devil to save her family by breast-feeding a fiend ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 25
Hurricane Season

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Hurricane Season

by Nicole Melleby

Hurricane Season

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Sixth-grader Fig knows a lot about artist Vincent van Gogh now that she's studying his life in art class. Fig isn't interested in art but she enrolled because "art and music, the whole language her dad spoke and played and hummed, made very little sense to her." Fig's dad was once a famous pianist and composer; she believes that learning more about his "language" will help her connect with him. Now, though, he lives in extremes: buzzing with frantic energy, trying to create his art, or barely able ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 25
Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

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Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

by David Macaulay

Crossing on Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

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The Way Things Work Now author David Macaulay takes readers on a transatlantic voyage in this homage to designer William Francis Gibbs's Blue Riband-winning steamship, the SS United States.

As a child, Macaulay emigrated to the United States with his family. Macaulay, his mother and his siblings journeyed to their new home on the ocean liner Gibbs spent 30 years imagining, researching and refining. Crossing on Time tells the story of both the ship's evolution and the Macaulay family's move. Accompanied ... [ Read More » ]

19 of 25
If She Wakes

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If She Wakes

by Michael Koryta

If She Wakes

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Tara Beckley, a senior at Maine's Hammel College, has one simple assignment: drive a visiting professor to a conference dinner. But Professor Oltamu insists on stopping along the way for them to step out and for him to take her picture. Before they can get back in the car, a van rams into them, killing Oltamu and flinging Tara into the cold river.

She wakes in a hospital room with her sister, Shannon, telling her mom and Mom's boyfriend that they should never give up on her. Who and what is Shannon ... [ Read More » ]

20 of 25
Hybrida

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Hybrida

by Tina Chang

Hybrida

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Tina Chang is the poet laureate of Brooklyn and, based on the content of her collection Hybrida, the title is well-deserved. This is a searing, often devastating book of poems that centers on her mixed race child, Roman, and her alarm over his well-being as black men and women are regularly killed by the police: "I envision, now, my son rising, arms above him,/ like hosanna out of a car." Yet Chang is never content to create a hundred stanzas out of a single idea. The book is a weaving of a hundred ... [ Read More » ]

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How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir

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How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir

by Kate Mulgrew

How to Forget: A Daughter's Memoir

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Actress Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager, Orange Is the New Black) follows up her candid and thoughtful 2015 memoir, Born with Teeth, with an equally forthright and emotionally raw tale of caring for her parents at the end of their lives.

When her father is diagnosed with stage-four cancer that has spread from his lungs to brain stem, liver and kidneys, Mulgrew's return visit to her home state of Iowa is extended indefinitely. Six years earlier, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 25
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

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Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

by Casey Cep

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

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The residents of rural Coosa County, Ala., could be forgiven for being leery of Reverend Willie Maxwell. After all, five people close to him, including two wives, died mysteriously--leaving life insurance policies in Maxwell's name. In her first book, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, journalist Casey Cep explores both the strange case of Maxwell's life and death, and how famous Alabama native Harper Lee came out of seclusion and shook off her demons to try to chronicle ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 25
The Favorite Daughter

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The Favorite Daughter

by Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter

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Jane is rising from the ashes following a year of medicated mourning for her brilliant daughter, Mary. Her husband has become distant and absent; her remaining daughter, Betsy, the "average" one, is combative and angry. Jane is determined to regain her image as a perfect O.C. wife.

As Jane narrates her "coming out" plan in the days before Betsy's graduation and a celebration of life in Mary's honor, it becomes apparent the details of Jane's "complicated grief" diagnosis have been meticulously researched, ... [ Read More » ]

24 of 25
Empty Words

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Empty Words

by Mario Levrero, trans. by Annie McDermott

Empty Words

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Uruguayan novelist Mario Levrero's Empty Words, his first to be translated into English, documents the quest of a writer who decides to improve his handwriting in order to conquer his personal problems. This plan goes awry, yet what emerges is charming, hilarious and often insightful. Much like Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes, Empty Words is a book about writing itself and the frustrations of the creative process. Even when the narrator tries to focus on the task at hand, he inadvertently begins ... [ Read More » ]

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A Craftsman's Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning

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A Craftsman's Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning

by Eric Gorges, Jon Sternfeld

A Craftsman's Legacy: Why Working with Our Hands Gives Us Meaning

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Eric Gorges describes the  television show he hosts, A Craftsman's Legacy, as "a celebration [of crafts], but it's also a demonstration, a lesson." In his book of the same name, co-written with author Jon Sternfeld (A Stone of Hope), that celebration and demonstration moves from the screen to the page, as Gorges documents the many lessons he's learned from various crafts and craftsmen (and women) across the country.

Each chapter of A Craftsman's Legacy is based on topics like focus, respect, ... [ Read More » ]

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