Like an old bluesman riffing through a tale of love, loss, and redemption, Allman in this fiercely honest memoir, sings the sto-ry of the band's early days, its glory times playing the Fillmore East, and the struggles to pull the band back together after Duane's and Berry's deaths.
Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature
Daniel Levin Becker (Harvard Univ.)
Composed in playfully erudite prose—exactly what you'd expect from an Oulipian—this intellectually stimulating journey into the infamous and provocative OuLiPo (the French acronym stands for "workshop for potential literature") is suffused with the tale of Levin Becker's artistic coming-of-age amid the ghosts of Perec, Duchamp, and Calvino.
Beevor offers a kaleidoscopic view of WWII, which, he says, was an amalgamation of many wars that he depicts both in closeup views of individual combatants and wide-angle views of battles around the world.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Katherine Boo (Random House)
Boo's compassionate, beautifully written, and carefully researched first book takes readers to the Mumbai slum of Annawadi, where her memorable cast, far removed from India's economic miracle, struggles with socioeconomic and political realities, and the injustices of daily life.
On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature
Melanie Challenger (Counterpoint)
Analyzing our "estrangement from nature" in the 20th century, Challenger's moving and lyrical first nonfiction book medi-tates on big picture questions as she travels from a writer's solitary cabin on England's Ding Dong Moor to Antarctica with the British Antarctic Survey, back to the North Yorkshire town of Whitby and on to the tundra of the Arctic.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis
Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Egan develops the story of Edward Curtis in a fashion befitting the pre-eminent photographer of Native Americans at the turn of the 20th century—just as Curtis's masterful portraits increasingly evinced depth and character as he came to know his sub-jects, so too does each page of this stunning biography pulse with timeless vitality.
Reading Elie's stately and gorgeous prose is much like losing yourself in Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations, for his dazzling study convincingly demonstrates that the music of Bach is the most persuasive rendering of transcendence there is.
The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times
Arlie Russell Hochschild (Holt)
Hochschild's provocative and entertaining study analyzes troubling developments in the global marketplace, where it's possi-ble to outsource burials at sea or potty-training a child to a growing community of "experts."
The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
Joyce Johnson (Viking)
Johnson offers a vivid and intimate biography of the artist as a young man, up through the genesis of On the Road: struggling with family tragedy and his French-Canadian identity, and determined to find his literary voice.
Fresh out of college, 22-year-old Krug moves to California with her French boyfriend, ready to begin their gilded lives. But just a few weeks after they arrive, Louise suffers a massive cavernous angioma, and the best laid plans, etc. In elegantly spare prose, Krug details the tragedy that prompted her to relinquish a dream in order to live her life.
Claude Lanzmann, trans. by Frank Wynne (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Best-known for his 9.5-hour Holocaust documentary, Shoah, Lanzmann's first book—dictated at the age of 84—is an impas-sioned and stirring memoir, wherein the acclaimed director ruminates personally and historically on some of the 20th century's most important events and figures.
A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald
Errol Morris (Penguin Press)
The compelling newest from Academy Award–winning documentary director Morris is the product of more than two decades of research into the case of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, convicted in 1979 of the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two daugh-ters. Though MacDonald remains behind bars, Morris's exhaustive investigation leaves little room to doubt his innocence.
In this detailed, in-the-moment re-enactment, Strayed delineates the travails and triumphs of three grueling months as she hiked solo the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,663-mile wilderness route stretching from the Mexican to the Canadian borders, inter-twined with a raw examination of emotional devastation brought on by the death of the author's mother.
My American Revolution: Crossing the Delaware and I-78
Robert Sullivan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Sullivan (Rats; The Meadowlands) makes a nostalgic, witty, and always informative topographic retrospective of the sites perti-nent to the American Revolution throughout the Middle Colonies, especially New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
The Ice Balloon: S.A. Andrée and the Heroic Age of Arctic Exploration
Alec Wilkinson (Knopf)
Spurred by an eerie photo of an enormous balloon downed in a wilderness of white, flanked by two marooned figures, Wilkinson, a longtime contributor to the New Yorker, details S.A. Andrée's doomed 1897 bid for the North Pole via hydrogen balloon.
How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance
Marilyn Yalom (Harper Perennial)
Yalom's witty and enchanting tour of French literature—from Abélard and Héloïse in the 12th century to Marguerite Duras in the 20th and Philippe Sollers in the 21st—asks how the French manage their romances, marriages, affairs, and obsession with love and sex, and will send readers in search of these classic texts.