1. Between the World and Me By Ta-Nehisi Coates
This work is something to behold. “Between the World and Me” is a riveting meditation on the state of race in America that has arrived at a tumultuous moment in America’s history of racial strife.
2. Black Flags By Joby Warrick
The Islamic State, whose radical Islamic warriors have inflicted their brutality across the globe from the Middle East to Paris, was founded as al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2004 by a Jordanian thug,Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In “Black Flags,” Joby Warrick analyzes his continuing influence on the Islamic State long after his death in 2006. Most important, he shows in painful but compulsively readable detail how a series of mishaps and mistakes by the U.S.
3. The Book of Aron By Jim Shepard
In the summer of 1942, German soldiers expelled almost 200 starving children from an orphanage in the Warsaw Ghetto and packed them into rail cars bound for Treblinka. Drawing on his imagination and dozens of historical sources, Shepard brings the Warsaw orphanage to life in this novel about a poor Polish boy and his friendship with the caretaker of the orphans, the pediatrician Janusz Korczak.“The Book of Aron” is a story of such candor about the complexity of heroism.
4. Destiny and Power By Jon Meacham
In Meacham’s telling, Bush indeed lacked an ideological vision, was as overmatched in domestic policy as he was masterful on the global stage, benefited from his family’s influence, and remains overshadowed “by the myth of his predecessor and the drama of his sons’ political lives.” What Meacham so skillfully adds to this understanding — through extraordinary detail, deft writing and, thanks to his access to Bush’s diaries, an inner monologue of key moments in Bush’s presidency — is the insight that none of these supposed flaws hindered the man from meeting the needs of the nation.
5. Fates and Furies By Lauren Groff
Spanning decades, oceans and the whole economic scale, “Fates and Furies,” holds the story of one extraordinary marriage. Groff’s flexible style can be impressionistic enough to turn from “Fates” to “Furies.”
6. Future Crimes By Marc Goodman
Welcome to the new world of criminal technology, where robbers have been replaced by hackers and victims include all of us on the Web. Goodman wrote his book to shed light on the latest in criminal and terrorist tradecraft and to kick off a discussion.
7. A Little Life By Hanya Yanagihara
Yanagihara’s novel illuminates human suffering pushed to its limits, drawn in extraordinary, eloquent detail. Through her decade-by-decade examination of people’s lives, Yanagihara draws a deeply realized character study that inspires as much as devastates.
8. Negroland By Margo Jefferson
Margo Jefferson was an African American girl from a good family that had money, connections and expectations of excellence.“Negroland” is not about raw racism but about subtleties and nuances, presumptions and slights that chip away at one’s humanity and take a mental toll.
9. Purity By Jonathan Franzen
“Purity”traces the unlikely rise of a poor, fatherless child named Pip. Written with fluency, this novel offers a constantly provocative series of insights.
10. Welcome to Braggsville By T. Geronimo Johnson
Johnson is a master at stripping away our persistent myths. “Welcome to Braggsville” is not just a broadside against the South; it’s equally irritated with liberalism’s self-righteousness.