Correspondent Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations for the season's best books from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Daniel Goldin and Lucia Silva. Their selections include comics about philosophy, novels about building families, and a box set that dives into the process of writing.
December 15, 2009 What makes a good book-club selection? Most of Lynn Neary's picks are quick reads. All are fiction. And, because some of the best conversations occur when people don't agree, a few are calculated to spark debate. So have a glass of wine, maybe a bite to eat, and let the discussions begin.
December 6, 2009 If you're the kind of person who's always believed that a book can teach you to do anything, this year's crop of cookbooks will prove you right. Cooks lacking confidence will find comfort in detailed instructions and comprehensive how-tos.
December 11, 2009 Holiday season have you feeling a touch homicidal? Critic Maureen Corrigan offers a selection of sleuth stories and hard-boiled whodunits to satisfy all your deepest literary desires.
December 23, 2009 Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.
December 18, 2009 Granta editor John Freeman picks the year's top five debuts by fiction writers. The list includes three collections of short stories and two novels. Freeman says the era of the splashy debut might be gone, but these authors demonstrate, despite their short publishing histories, that first-time writers can still make a big impression.
December 2, 2009 Some books you simply can't keep to yourself. Glen Weldon shares the titles he's recommended this year — from a history of women in comics, to a collection of very short short stories — what unites these books is the urge they spark to send them out into the world so that they might sink their hooks into someone else.
December 14, 2009 Book reviewer Alan Cheuse selects the highlights of this holiday season: futuristic dystopias; things that go bump in the night; portraits from Norman Rockwell's America; gay New York; a celebration of our immigrant adventures; one writer's journey to manhood; and, of course, Long John Silver.
December 4, 2009 2009's top works of foreign fiction, as picked by critic Jessa Crispin, feature a geography as wide ranging as their topics: genetic research, civil unrest, sibling resentment, and fairy-tale depictions of government corruption.
December 8, 2009 Critic Jonathan Hunt's picks include love stories between historical figures; fantasy and supernatural fiction that doesn't concern vampires or werewolves; and time traveling mysteries.
December 29, 2009 If these books prove anything, it's that the legacy of nonfiction storytelling is still very much alive. Steve Weinberg's picks reflect the depth and diversity of the 2009 current affairs library, ranging from investigations of the role of women in America to a look at what it means to sit supreme on the highest court in the U.S.
December 17, 2009 From an anti-lawn manifesto, to "sophisticated plant porn at its finest," Ketzel Levine shares this year's yield of great gardening books. She finds that geeky plant lust is officially outre, and memoirs of urban homesteads of produce and poultry are a budding new genre.
December 14, 2009 Heller McAlpin's picks include: the story of a lifelong crush on Albert Camus, a humorous take on middle-aged malaise, and a no-nonsense look at mortality. The sharp, fresh writing in these memoirs will bring you headfirst into each author's world, with your heart following close behind.
November 24, 2009 Reviewer John McAlley selects gems from the worlds of fine art, fashion, photography, science, lit-crit and cartoons. These luxe volumes will be gracing coffee tables long after the lights and wrapping paper are gone.