"Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster"
(Villard), by Jon Krakauer
Author Jon Krakauer went to the Himalayas researching a story on the growing commercialization of the highest mountain on Earth. What he came back with is a personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Mount Everest.
" ...after finishing this raw, emotionally intense book, readers will be haunted, as Krakauer was, by the tragedy," said Library Journal.
"The Bible As It Was" (Harvard), by James L. Kugel
A complement to the Hebrew Bible that takes the reader through its most important stories -- from the Creation to the Promised Land. Published by Harvard University Press, James Kugel's book has been highly acclaimed by reviewers and librarians.
"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Anne Fadiman
Painstaking research provides a glimpse into the cultural medicine traditions of the Hmong population in Merced County, California. When a Hmong family is forced to turn to Western medicine, they comes up against an emergency medical system that has little knowledge of their culture and tradition.
"American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence" (Knopf), by Pauline Maier
A "compelling story" from the author of "From Resistance to Revolution", this book offers insight into the political background of the American Revolution.
"How the Mind Works" (Norton), by Steven Pinker
Pinker explores the mysteries of human thought and behavior, explaining how natural selection shaped the brain to help human's survive in a hunting-and-gathering environment.
"Cold Mountain" (Atlantic Monthly), by Charles Frazier
In this blockbuster first novel, former college lit instructor Charles Frazier weaves a tale of two Civil War journeys; Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, deserts the military to walk home to his love, Ada, a Charleston-raised preacher's daughter struggling to discover her own destiny in the remote hills of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains.
"Underworld" (Scribner), by Don DeLillo
"Booklist Magazine" said DeLillo's "stylistically magnificent, many-voiced, and soulful novel" links two dissimilar events in 1951 -- a decisive baseball game between the Giants and Dodgers and the detonation of an atom bomb by the Soviet Union.
"American Pastoral" (Houghton Mifflin), by Philip Roth
The tragic impact of the Vietnam War on a relationship between father and daughter. The father believes in the American Dream, but his daughter has a different dream, to get America out of Vietnam. She kills to achieve it.
"Dreams of My Russian Summers" (Arcade), by Andrei Makine
"Dreams" recounts a Frenchwoman's marvelous tales of Russia before and after the 1917 revolution, as told to her grandson.
"The Blue Flower"(Mariner/Houghton), by Penelope Fitzgerald
"An astonishing book," said "The New York Times Book Review" of this fictionalized biography of the 18th century German poet, Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg, who was one of Germany's great romantic poets. By the author of "Offshore," which won the Booker Prize.
"Walking in the Shade: Volume Two of My Autobiography, 1949-1962" (HarperCollins), by Doris Lessing
Offering a meditation on the psychological, sociological and historical roots of her generation's behavior, Lessing gives insight into the ideological and political madness of the post-war era.
"Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life" (Viking), by J.M. Coetzee
Coetzee, author or "Waiting for the Barbarians" and the Booker Prize-winning "Life and Times of Michael K" tells his personal story of growing up under apartheid in South Africa with a father he cannot respect and a mother he both adores and despises.
"Library Journal" praised its "richly detailed interior monolog" and "honest intensity."
"Virginia Woolf" (Knopf), by Hermione Lee
An evocative portrait that shows how Virginia
Woolf looked, sounded, dressed and how she wrote. "Booklist Magazine" called it a "pleasantly readable, comprehensive study of Woolf's life."
"Ernie Pyle's War: America's Eyewitness to World War II" (Free Press), by James Tobin
A tribute to a man called the greatest war correspondent ever. Pyle's dispatches from the front lines during World War II etched his name forever in the hearts and minds of Americans as the great chronicler of the common soldier's experience.
"American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson" (Knopf), by Joseph Ellis
A spirited biography of the third U.S. president -- one that abstains from both Jefferson's worship and Jefferson bashing -- American Sphinx shows readers the protean personality, the deep deviousness, the multiple voices that lent themselves so brilliantly to Jefferson's political career.
An energetic collection of poetry. "Hillman's poems take off," wrote reviewer Max Winter. "Reading her poems is actually refreshing, like California weather or an unexpected telephone call," he said.
"Questions for Ecclesiastes" (Story Line), by Mark Jarman
"A dazzling example of how the sonnet shifts in form and remains a powerful means of conveying a poetic statement, " said "Seattle Weekly."
"Does Your House Have Lions" (Beacon), by Sonia Sanchez
African-American poet Sonia Sanchez "transforms a black and anguished migration of the oppressed -- her own brother's AIDS-wracked body -- into a ritual of memory, forgiveness, and song."
"Black Zodiac" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Charles Wright
Wright, a professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, is a 1983 National Book Award winner. "Library Journal" said his poetry "reads like a slightly mad, language-drenched tour of a variety of odd but tantalizingly familiar landscapes."
"Desire" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Frank Bidart
"Publisher's Weekly" said "The Roman Empire, Greek and Roman mythologies and a lover's death are alluded to throughout this fifth collection, heightening a pervasive sense of tragedy." Bidart teaches English at Wellesley College.
"Making Waves" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Mario Vargas Llosa
"Library Journal" said "the eminent Peruvian novelist ... addresses topics as diverse as the work of Surrealist film maker Bruel, the World Cup of 1982, and the Lorena Bobbitt grotesquerie. ...There are some gems here."
"The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets" (Harvard), by Helen Vendler
"Kirkus" said, "Vendler offers an illuminating companion for Bardolators of all levels and stripes" ... in this "immensely enriching account of Shakespeare's complex verse."
"God and the American Writer" (Knopf), by Alfred Kazin
Kazin brings a lifetime of thought and reading to bear in this study of what the meaning of God has been for American writers, and how those writers, from the New England Calvinists to William Faulkner, have expressed that meaning.
"The End of the Novel of Love" (Beacon), by Vivian Gornick
"The Reader's Catalog" said, "Gornick ... shows us how women novelists have increasingly questioned the inevitability of love and marriage as the path to self-knowledge and fulfillment."
"The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century " (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by John Brewer
Brewer charts the growth of the literary and artistic milieus from 17th century England, with a radical reconsideration of the roots of modernity in a crucial century poised between the old ways and the new world to come.