A Rage For Order: The Middle East In Turmoil from Tahrir Square to ISIS, by Robert F. Worth. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) A masterly account of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and the region’s decline into violence and anarchy, by a former New York Times foreign correspondent. Times reviewer Kenneth M. Pollack called the book “a marvel of storytelling, with the chapters conjuring a poignancy fitting for the subject.”
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay. (Melville House) Linked narratives brimming with delightful, esoteric detail unfold in three Venices: 16th-century Italy; 1950s Venice Beach, California; and the Venetian casino in Las Vegas in 2003. A card counter, the man hired to track him down and an oblique book of poems weave through a series of schemes in this novel, with a structure that recalls David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas.”
Free Speech: Ten Principles For A Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash. (Yale University) Protected speech is under siege on a wide front and is caught up in a number of modern controversies, from the role of government surveillance to the criminalization of hate speech and the prosecution of whistleblowers.Garton Ash examines 10 such cases, framed with his call for “more free speech but also better speech.”
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. (Ecco/HarperCollins) A $2 million trust fund is set aside for the Plumb siblings, who are counting on their shares to rescue them from financial straits. But months before they are set to receive the money, Leo, the eldest, squanders a majority of the sum after a car accident; the ensuing family drama of “first-world problems proves to be an enjoyable comedy of manners as Sweeney artfully skewers family dynamics,” Patricia Park wrote in The Times.
LaRose by Louise Erdrich. (Harper Perennial) While hunting buck, Landreaux does the worst thing imaginable: He accidentally kills his best friend’s child. As penance, he offers his own son, LaRose, to the grieving parents, setting in motion a powerful story of ancestry, justice and forgiveness.
Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore. (Vintage) Gould – a New York eccentric friendly with many of the early 20th century’s best-known artists – decided to record everything anyone said to him, aiming to “widen the sphere of history as Walt Whitman did that of poetry.” The project, known as “The Oral History of Our Time,” acquired a near-mythic status – and then some wondered if it ever existed at all. Lepore, a New Yorker staff writer and Harvard historian, sets out to discover the manuscript’s fate.
New York Times