Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet
Jennifer Homans (Random)
In an important and groundbreaking work of dance history, Homans restores ballet to its rightful place among the performing arts.
Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
Michael Korda (Harper)
This biography of British soldier and adventurer T.E. Lawrence celebrates a life spent subverting authority in the most glamorous-and bizarre-ways.
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
Jane Leavy (Harper)
With storytelling bravado and fresh research, Leavy weaves around her own story the milestone dates in the Mick's career. In Leavy's hands, the life of Mantle no longer defies logic: it seems inevitable.
Edmund Morris (Random)
Morris's concluding volume in his accomplished biography narrates Roosevelt's postpresidential life with the same insight and style he displayed in his Pulitzer-winning first volume.
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner)
Mukherjee's sweeping account of the long war on cancer pits an army of dedicated doctors and scientists, impassioned activists and courageous patients against a wily enemy whose secrets are at last being uncovered.
The Grace of Silence: A Memoir
Michele Norris (Pantheon)
In this eloquent and affecting memoir on race, Norris, cohost of NPR's All Things Considered, examines her childhood growing up in Minneapolis, as well as her family's Alabama roots and secrets.
Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed
Judy Pasternak (Free Press)
An unforgettable exposé of a sorrowful-and unresolved-chapter in American history: how uranium mining on Native American territory in the 1970s has led to horrifying cancer rates and birth defects among four generations of Navajos-and how the U.S. government (who funded the mining) long abdicated responsibility.
Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran-A Journey Behind the Headlines
Scott Peterson (Simon & Schuster)
A veteran reporter on the region brings us the best account we have of Iran-its rich history, artistic legacies, profound internal contradictions-in a copious, balanced, and readable narrative.
Listen to This
Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Music critic Ross utilizes a wide musical scale-classical music in China; opera as popular art; sketches of Schubert, Björk, Kiki and Herb-as a way of understanding the world.
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error
Kathryn Schulz (Ecco)
A mirthful and wise diagnosis of what ails us: Schulz dances us through science, psychology, and literature in a sparkling history of (and ode to) human error.
Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?
James Shapiro (Simon & Schuster)
Shapiro looks at why people believe Shakespeare was not Shakespeare, while delivering up sly portraits of self-delusion and how not to read great literature.
Bomber County: The Poetry of a Lost Pilot's War
Daniel Swift (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
Swift tells the story of his grandfather, an RAF bomber pilot shot down in 1943, washed up on a beach, and buried twice, as a way to examine the iconography of war and the popular notion that WWII failed to produce great poetry.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. I
Mark Twain (Univ. of California)
The great American humorist is his own best character in this first volume of his unexpurgated autobiography that doubles as a razor-sharp portrait of the human comedy.
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
John Vaillant (Knopf)
When a Siberian tiger begins attacking hunters with a savagery that seems personal, Vaillant launches a thrilling investigation into the conflict between man and nature, and life in post-perestroika Russia.
Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the American Woman
Sam Wasson (HarperStudio)
Wasson highlights Blake Edwards's memorable Breakfast at Tiffany's, recapturing the era's sexual ploitics, fashion, and Hollywood glamour.