In her deeply personal new book, In Other Words, acclaimed novelist Jhumpa Lahiri notes that “writing in another language represents an act of demolition, a new beginning.” It’s a neat summing-up of what takes place in this brief, meditative memoir—Lahiri’s first work of nonfiction—as she shares the story of her passion for Italian and how she set out to master it.
Only a society riven by fear and desperation would have incubated a figure as initially uncredentialed and unimpressive as Adolf Hitler. A school dropout and frequent vagrant, Hitler had no achievements to speak of until he served honorably in the German army during the Great War.
New York Times correspondent Rod Nordland’s The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet, the True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped an Honor Killing reveals the highlights of this tale in its lengthy subtitle. We know the end before we know the beginning (the young couple doesn't die a tragic death with love unfulfilled), just as we know that this is a story of young lovers who, like Shakespeare's classic couple, must defy their parents and their culture to be together at any cost.
From his rare centenarian perch, Pulitzer Prize winner and World War II epic novelist Herman Wouk surveys the ups and downs of his long literary life—and the deep faith that has accompanied him throughout—in his delightfully sanguine memoir, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author.
Journalist and globe-trotter Eric Weiner, perhaps best-known for his bestselling book The Geography of Bliss, continues his pursuit of big questions in The Geography of Genius. Why, he wonders, do some conditions give rise to networks of innovators who transform the world? As such a question suggests, Weiner is thinking about genius in a fresh way.
In The Road to Little Dribbling, as in all of Bill Bryson’s travel books, you can be assured of two constants: first, that your guide is a sensualist who immerses himself (and thus, the reader) in all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes he encounters on his wanderings; and second, that along the way he will spot surprises, incongruities and contradictions that he obligingly transmutes into laughter.
Like so many teenage girls, Ruth Wariner and her friends used to spend hours back in the 1980s dreaming and talking of future romances. But despite living in a fundamentalist “plural marriage” colony in Mexico that had broken away from the Mormon church, most of them did not hope for a polygamous future as a “sister wife.” They knew all too well what that meant.
With an unsparing eye for all the details, Kevin Hazzard takes readers on a chaotic ride through a city’s crack houses and road carnage, a hospital’s turbulent mental health ward and still-smoldering scenes of domestic violence.
Esteemed historian Ian Buruma turns his attention to a happy marriage in his elegant new book, Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War. While his grandparents might seem a more limited subject than his recent Year Zero: A History of 1945, this family love story is deeply intertwined with history. Using their correspondence during both the First and Second World Wars as his primary source, Buruma crafts a finely observed portrait of an assimilated Jewish family in England between the wars.
No relationship is more fraught than the one between father and son; the son is always trying to please his father, and the father is feeling guilty about whether he loves his son enough. Now imagine that your dad is a gonzo journalist who has famously hung out with Hell’s Angels and loved his booze, drugs and guns. In Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson, Juan F. Thompson lucidly and longingly tells us just what it was like being the only child of the notorious writer.