Superforecasting: The Art And Science Of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner. (Broadway) At the heart of this book are so-called “superforecasters,” otherwise ordinary people who are preternaturally skilled at predicting world events. The authors summarize their strategies, which prove to be deceptively straightforward: Overcome personal biases, base decisions on logic and always question assumptions.
The Double Life Of Liliane by Lily Tuck. (Grove) In this loosely autobiographical novel, Liliane, the daughter of Germans fleeing Nazism and World War II, lands in the United States with her mother and later shuttles between New York and Europe after her father moves to Italy. Tuck packs her wartime coming-of-age story with recognizable relics of a mid-20th-century childhood.
Spectacle: The Astonishing Life Of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk. (Amistad/HarperCollins) Taken from the Congo and displayed, starting in 1906, in the monkey house of what is now the Bronx Zoo, Ota Benga was caged with an orangutan in what was essentially a propaganda effort to equate Africans with apes. Much of Benga’s story has already been told from his captors’ perspectives; here, Newkirk draws on historical documents to reconstruct his procurement, exploitation and tragic end.
The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor. (Riverhead) A fictional neighbor of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Millie, is at the center of this novel, which imagines their domestic lives on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the mid-1900s. Millie and Ethel become friends, bonding over motherhood, as suspicions about the Rosenberg family come to the fore and Millie engages in some illicit behavior of her own.
Blue: The Lapd And The Battle To Redeem American Policing by Joe Domanick. (Simon & Schuster) This study of the Los Angeles Police Department starts in the early 1990s, as the city erupted in a toxic mix of drugs, crime and racial tensions. The central figure of the story is William J. Bratton, who came from New York in 2002 to lead the department’s reform efforts, and whom Domanick largely credits for improving what many feared was an incorrigibly corrupt and brutal police force.
A Strangeness In My Mind by Orhan Pamuk. Translated by Ekin Oklap. (Vintage) The life and desires of Mevlut, a street vendor in Istanbul, are the focus of this kaleidoscopic novel, which weaves together his story with that of his city. The narrative “finds its most meaningful moments in the side streets of storytelling,” Martin Riker wrote in The Times.
Mess: One Man’s Struggle To Clean Up His House And His Act by Barry Yourgrau. (Norton) Given an ultimatum by his girlfriend – choose her or his hoard of clutter – Yourgrau opted to discard what he had accumulated and chronicle the process. His memoir is a poignant meditation on the accrual of physical, and emotional, baggage.
New York Times