My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit. (Spiegel & Grau) Drawing on historical documents, interviews and private diaries and letters – as well as his own family’s story – Shavit, a columnist for Haaretz, examines the entirety of the Israeli experience, expressing both solidarity with and criticism of his countrymen. “Shavit’s book is an extended test of his own capacity to maintain his principles in full view of the brutality that surrounds them,” Leon Wieseltier wrote in the New York Times.
Remember Me Like This, by Bret Anthony Johnston. (Random House) In Johnston’s enthralling first novel, the Campbells of Southport, Texas, are reunited four years after their 11-year-old son, Justin, was abducted. But as the summer unfolds and we inhabit the family’s changed household, Justin’s homecoming exposes wounds that may never fully heal.
Hrc: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. (Broadway) Seven years after her defeat in the 2008 Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has emerged as the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. This is an immersive, broadly sympathetic look at her time as secretary of state and what the authors, both Washington journalists, call “one of the great political comebacks in history.”
Thirty Girls, by Susan Minot (Vintage Contemporaries) Minot’s novel approaches the atrocities wrought by the Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony with probing intelligence, interweaving the stories of two women: Esther Akello, one of 30 Ugandan teenage girls abducted from a Catholic boarding school and held captive by Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, and Jane Wood, an American writer traveling across Africa and hoping to give voice to young people like Esther.
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Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books, by Wendy Lesser. (Picador) From such perspectives as “Character and Plot,” “Grandeur and Intimacy” and “Authority,” Lesser distills several decades of thinking about literature as a critic, novelist, memoirist, biographer and editor.
Family Life, by Akhil Sharma (Norton) Sharma’s semi-autobiographical novel – one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014 – tells the story of an Indian family that immigrates to Queens in the late 1970s and has just begun to build a new life when their elder son suffers severe brain damage in a swimming pool accident. Our reviewer, Sonali Deraniyagala, called this book “deeply unnerving and gorgeously tender at its core.”
Money: The Unauthorized Biography – From Coinage to Cryptocurrencies, by Felix Martin. (Vintage) This tour de force of political, cultural and economic history describes how the Western idea of money emerged in the ancient world and was shaped over the centuries by tensions between sovereigns and the emerging middle classes.
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