Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Expansive, richly detailed, and moving, this novel about a pair of star-crossed Nigerian lovers who emigrate to America and Britain offers sharp observations about society and manners on three continents.
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Waldman's powerfully intelligent debut draws you in with its up-to-the-moment sociology of literary Brooklyn. But its real power comes from its insights into male narcissism, as embodied in Nate, one of the most appallingly memorable literary characters of the year.
The Letters of Leonard Bernstein edited by Nigel Simeone
Bernstein's letters don't go very deep into his psychology or artistic process, but they are a hugely entertaining chronicle of a enviable life, and a trove of musical and show-business gossip.
My Struggle: Volume One by Karl Ove Knausgaard
This Norwegian literary sensation lives up to its reputation. A kind of downmarket, provincial Proust, Knausgaard tells his life story with a kind of religious, life-or-death commitment rare in contemporary fiction.
Zibaldone by Giacomo Leopardi
Leopardi's massive notebooks, translated into English for the first time, record the inner life of one of the 19th century's most audacious and afflicted spirits.
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