It took over five years for Nathaniel Rich to finish his first novel — maybe because he was writing The Mayor's Tongue secretly, first as a college student, and then while writing film criticism during the day.
In 2003, Richard Rubin set out to talk to every American veteran of World War I he could find. With help from the French, he tracked down dozens of centenarian vets and recorded their stories in a new book called The Last of the Doughboys.
The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.
Symbologist Robert Langdon faces a Dante-themed riddle in Dan Brown's Inferno. It debuts at No. 1.
The Guns at Last Light concludes Rick Atkinson's World War II trilogy. It debuts at No. 4.
At No. 13, a pilot fights to survive after a devastating pandemic in Peter Heller's The Dog Stars.
An expanded edition of Wreck This Journal encourages creative destruction. It debuts at No. 14.
Also: Mary Karr on addiction and David Foster Wallace; Maria Semple calls Jonathan Franzen her "big daddy."
Can you imagine your own superhero? That's the question author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka posed to kids on a recent afternoon at a school in Washington, D.C. Krosoczka also described how he overcame a difficult childhood to become the author of the beloved Lunch Lady series.
In June, NPR's Backseat Book Club will read Katherine Applegate's tale of Ivan, a gorilla who lives in a shopping mall. Ivan enjoys watching TV and painting, but a newcomer to the mall — a baby elephant — forces Ivan to face his own past.
Also: Amazon to begin publishing fan fiction; Paul Ryan and Elizabeth Warren are writing books; Keith Richards' exorbitant library fines.
A poor father sells his daughter to a wealthy, childless couple, dividing her from her beloved brother and setting a chain of stories in motion in Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. Moving and morally complex, this is the most ambitious book yet from the author of The Kite Runner.
A Manhattan judge upholds a lower court ruling that $210 million worth of unredeemed gift cards from the defunct book chain are no longer valid.
After years trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to adopt. What they thought would be a relatively simple process was instead a long and painful one. In her latest novel, Gilmore channels these autobiographical experiences into fiction.
Also: shameless book blurbs; new plays from Ayad Ahktar; and a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone draws a record price at auction.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest, Americanah, follows the trials and tribulations of Ifemelu, a middle-class Nigerian immigrant to America. Reviewer Jennifer Reese calls Americanah a "rich and gloriously detailed tapestry ... hung on the sturdy scaffolding of a sweet love story."