The author captures America's literary, artistic, musical and cinematic high points from the 1929 crash to World War II.
Reflections on human interconnectedness with nature and how forgetting this imperils the planet.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (Little, Brown)
From the author of "Everything is Illuminated": A plea against cruelty to animals that draws on his family history and circumstances as a young father.
Imperial by William T. Vollmann (Viking)
Another epic-sized work from an author known for a mix of empathy and distance and for looking at everything with an outsider's eye.
L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City by John Buntin (Harmony)
A dual biography of two dueling figures from Los Angeles' past: mobster Mickey Cohen and LAPD Chief William Parker.
The Lost Origins of the Essay edited by John D'Agata (Graywolf)
In praise of the essay: selected dialogues, character sketches, spiritual memoirs and satires, lists of aphorisms and more.
Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding (Bloomsbury)
A chilling account of the demise of a small Iowa farming town because of the proliferation of the methamphetamine culture.
Not Now, Voyager: A Memoir by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Counterpoint)
Not a memoir exactly but a meditation, a series of riffs on the nature of coming and going, on what that offers and what it takes away.
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit (Viking)
Disasters bring out an altruistic side of people, at least briefly, the author says.
Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen by David Sax (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The history of a people found in a sandwich.