We Recommend

My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante

This is part one of a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila, who represent the story of a nation and the nature of friendship.The story begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow – and as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge – Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other.

The Perfect Scent, by Chandler Burr
Chandler Burr

No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances. Now, writing with wit and elegance, he juxtaposes the stories of the perfumes – one created by a Frenchman in Paris for an exclusive luxury-goods house, the other made in New York by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Coty, Inc., a giant international corporation.

Behold the Dreamers, by Mbolo Mbue
Imbolo Mbue

In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende's son Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon.

Lab girl, by Hope Jahren
Hope Jahren

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. She also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away. Told through Jahren's remarkable stories, she talks about the things she's discovered in her lab, as well as how she got there; about her childhood, about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work "with both the heart and the hands".

Blue Light Yokohama, by Nicolas Obregon
Nicolás Obregón

Newly reinstated to the Homicide Division and transferred to a precinct in Tokyo, Inspector Iwata is facing superiors who don't want him there and is assigned a recalcitrant partner, Noriko Sakai, who'd rather work with anyone else. After the previous detective working the case killed himself, Iwata and Sakai are assigned to investigate the slaughter of an entire family, a brutal murder with no clear motive or killer. As Iwata investigates, it becomes clear that these murders are not the first, and Iwata finds himself on the trail of a ruthless killer.

The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, by David W.E. Hone
David W.E. Hone

This book tracks the rise of these dinosaurs, and presents the latest research into their biology, showing off more than just their impressive statistics – tyrannosaurs had feathers, and fought and even ate one another. Indeed, David Hone tells the evolutionary story of the group through their anatomy, ecology, and behavior, exploring how they came to be the dominant terrestrial predators of the Mesozoic age.

Private life of Mrs. Sharma, by Ratika Kapur
Ratika Kapur

Renuka Sharma is a dutiful wife holding the fort in a modest rental in Delhi while her husband tries to rack up savings in Dubai. Working as a receptionist and committed to finding a place for her family in the New Indian Dream of air-conditioned malls and high paid jobs at multi-nationals, life is going as planned until the day she strikes up a conversation with an uncommonly self-possessed stranger at a Metro station. Because while Mrs Sharma may espouse traditional values, India is changing all around her, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if she came out of her shell a little, would it?

The six: the lives of the Mitford sisters, by Laura Thompson
Laura Thompson

The Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege in the early years of the 20th century, they became prominent as "bright young things" in the high society of interwar London. Then, as the shadows crept over 1930s Europe, the stark – and very public – differences in their outlooks came to symbolize the political polarities of a dangerous decade. The intertwined stories of their stylish and scandalous lives – recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson – hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after WWII.

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Bradley
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

In this novel for children, a young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Tomboy Survival Guide, by Ivan E. Coyote
Ivan Coyote

Celebrated trans storyteller Ivan Coyote, whose previous books include Gender Failure (with Rae Spoon) and One in Every Crowd a collection for LGBT youth –  has written a funny and moving memoir told in stories, in which they recount the pleasures and difficulties of growing up a tomboy in Canada's north.

A Time to Dance, by Padma Venkatraman
Padma Venkatraman

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance – so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.

Wear and tear : Threads of my life, by Tracy Tynan
Tracy Tynan

The memoirs of a celebrity costume designer describe her upbringing in the fashionable celebrity circles of her literary parents, her family's artistic but traumatizing approaches to shopping and how the fashion-savvy perspectives of her early years shaped her relationships and career.

The One-in-a-Million Boy, by Monica Wood
Monica Wood

When Quinn's young son suddenly dies, he seeks forgiveness for his shortcomings by completing one of his son's Boy Scout badges, where he forges a friendship with Ona, a 104-year-old woman.

Jim Henson, by Brian Jay Jones
Brian Jay Jones

A comprehensive portrait of the iconic cultural figure includes coverage of his Mississippi childhood and college forays into early Muppet TV projects to his years with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and his considerable achievements in non-Muppet productions.

The break, by Katherena Vermette
Katherena Vermette

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break – a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house – she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg's North End is exposed.

Schulz and Peanuts, by David Michaelis
David Michaelis

A portrait of the late creator of the Peanuts comic strip evaluates how his career was shaped by his midwestern working-class origins, family losses, and wartime experiences, offering insight into how familiar storylines closely reflected Schulz's private life.

Why did you lie, by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the US to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea. They have one thing in common: they all lied. And someone is determined to punish them.

Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel
Sylvain Neuvel

17 years ago a girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today she is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

The snow child, by Eowyn Ivey
Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart and In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone – but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

The hidden life of trees, by Peter Wohlleben
Peter Wohlleben

A forester's fascinating stories, supported by the latest scientific research, reveal the extraordinary world of forests and illustrate how trees communicate and care for each other.

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier

Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers...

Vancouver Noir, 1930-1960, by Diane Purvey and John Belshaw
Diane Purvey

Historical visions of Vancouver city, both of what it was and what some of its citizens hoped it would either become or conversely cease to be. The photographs – most of which look like stills from period movies featuring detectives with chiselled features, tough women, and bullet-ridden cars – speak to the styles of the Noir era and tell us something special about the ways in which a city is made and unmade.

Another Brooklyn, by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson

Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything – until it wasn't. For August and her girls, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant – a part of a future that belonged to them. But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where ghosts haunted the night and where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

What the F: What swearing reveals about our language, our brains, and ourselves, by Benjamin K. Bergen
Benjamin K. Bergen

Smart as hell and funny as f***, this book explains why we can't stop swearing and what it tells us about our language and brains. Everyone swears. Only the rare individual can avoid ever letting slip an expletive. And yet, we ban the words from television and insist that polite people excise them from their vocabularies. That's a shame. Not only is swearing colorful, fun, and often powerfully apt, as the author shows us, the study of it can provide a new window onto how our brains process language.

Trashed, by Derf
Derf

A disturbing look at our throwaway culture through the eyes of Derf Backderf who draws on his experiences as a trash collector on a sanitation crew in the 1970s and 1980s in small town Ohio.