June 29, 2010 Bestsellerdom doesn't necessarily bring with it a promise of quality, so we've hand-selected five titles from the NPR Bestseller List: an acutely observed first novel with satiric punch, three works of fiction from established authors at the top of their game, and a startlingly powerful science thriller from a nonfiction newcomer.
June 10, 2010 The characters in Aimee Bender's latest novel could be modern-day descendants of J.D. Salinger's Glass family. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake tells the story of Rose, a precocious young girl with a blessing — and a curse: She can taste the emotions of those who cook her food.
May 19, 2010 Private Life, the new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley, centers around the marriage between a small-town girl and an eccentric astronomer in the first years of the 20th century.
May 14, 2010 Andrea Levy's The Long Song revisits slavery in Jamaica. Born to a slave mother and a white father, Levy's main character July serves and eventually befriends her mistress Caroline — a bond that is repeatedly threatened by a divided, slave-driven society.
April 21, 2010 The best-selling author explores her darker side in Every Last One, a tale about a mother whose ordinary suburban life is shattered when her family is violently traumatized by a trusted friend.
April 17, 2010 The author of Life of Pi returns with a story that arranges a stuffed donkey and monkey in an allegory about the Holocaust. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says Beatrice and Virgil is ambitious and at times artful, but ultimately misguided.
March 30, 2010 Chang-rae Lee's The Surrendered follows three lives — an American soldier, a Korean orphan and a missionary wife — brought together by the Korean War and shaped by the violence they survived.
March 11, 2010 The first novel by Danielle Trussoni follows the struggle between nefarious human-angel hybrids and the band of mortals trying to keep them in check. Trussoni, author of the acclaimed memoir Falling Through the Earth, maintains a balance between literary artistry and complex adventure.
February 23, 2010 Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says the new novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni takes the shape of Scheherazade's tales, as nine people begin sharing their life stories after being trapped in the basement passport office of San Fransisco's Indian Consulate after an earthquake.
January 28, 2010 Author Gail Godwin's novel, Unfinished Desires, spins a tale of love, envy and reckoning at a Catholic girls' school in North Carolina. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says the book is a "spellbinding psychological ghost story, near operatic in intensity."
January 13, 2010 At 61 years old, the protagonist of Noah's Compass has lost his teaching job and is settling into a new, smaller apartment, when an act of violence changes his life. Noah's Compass is Tyler's 18th novel.
January 5, 2010 Jane Ciabattari says that Elizabeth Gilbert's new memoir, Committed, retains the winning voice of her hugely successful Eat, Pray, Love while mapping the author's wavering conviction to avoid marriage at all costs.
November 6, 2009 Intricate plotting, intermittent erotic tension and the author's powerful moral imagination combine to make Paul Auster's latest novel an absorbing literary thriller.
October 19, 2009 Richard Powers' Generosity features a preternaturally buoyant Algerian refugee who is found to have a gene for happiness. Is joyousness catching? Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says it is.