From the NYT Book Review:
The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
FICTION & POETRY
ALIF THE UNSEEN. By G. Willow Wilson. (Grove, $25.) A young hacker on the run in the Mideast is the protagonist of this imaginative first novel.
ALMOST NEVER. By Daniel Sada. Translated by Katherine Silver. (Graywolf, paper, $16.) In this glorious satire of machismo, a Mexican agronomist simultaneously pursues a prostitute and an upright woman.
AN AMERICAN SPY. By Olen Steinhauer. (Minotaur, $25.99.) In a novel vividly evoking the multilayered world of espionage, Steinhauer’s hero fights back when his C.I.A. unit is nearly destroyed.
BLASPHEMY. By Sherman Alexie. (Grove, $27.) The best stories in Alexie’s collection of new and selected works are moving and funny, bringing together the embittered critic and the yearning dreamer.
THE BOOK OF MISCHIEF: New and Selected Stories. By Steve Stern. (Graywolf, $26.) Jewish immigrant lives observed with effusive nostalgia.
BRING UP THE BODIES. By Hilary Mantel. (Macrae/Holt, $28.) Mantel’s sequel to “Wolf Hall” traces the fall of Anne Boleyn, and makes the familiar story fascinating and suspenseful again.
IN ONE PERSON. By John Irving. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) Irving’s funny, risky new novel about an aspiring writer struggling with his sexuality examines what happens when we face our desires honestly.
A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME. By Wiley Cash. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $24.99.) An evil pastor dominates Cash’s mesmerizing first novel.
MARRIED LOVE: And Other Stories. By Tessa Hadley. (Harper Perennial, paper, $14.99.) Hadley’s understatedly beautiful collection is filled with exquisitely calibrated gradations and expressions of class.
ALL WE KNOW: Three Lives. By Lisa Cohen. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) The vanished world of midcentury upper-class lesbians is portrayed as beguiling, its inhabitants members of a stylish club.
AMERICAN TAPESTRY: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. By Rachel L. Swarns. (Amistad/HarperCollins, $27.99.) A Times reporter’s deeply researched chronicle of several generations of Mrs. Obama’s family.
AMERICAN TRIUMVIRATE: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf. By James Dodson. (Knopf, $28.95.) The author evokes an era when the game was more vivid and less corporate than it seems now.
ARE YOU MY MOTHER? A Comic Drama. By Alison Bechdel. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22.) Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother.
BARACK OBAMA: The Story. By David Maraniss. (Simon & Schuster, $32.50.) This huge and absorbing new biography, full of previously unexplored detail, shows that Obama’s saga is more surprising and gripping than the version we’re familiar with.
LINCOLN’S CODE: The Laws of War in American History. By John Fabian Witt. (Free Press, $32.) A tension between humanitarianism and righteousness has shaped America’s rules of warfare.
LITTLE AMERICA: The War Within the War for Afghanistan. By Rajiv Chandrasekaran. (Knopf, $27.95.) A beautifully written and deeply reported account of America’s troubled involvement in Afghanistan.
MEMOIR OF A DEBULKED WOMAN: Enduring Ovarian Cancer. By Susan Gubar. (Norton, $24.95.) A feminist scholar recounts her experience and criticizes the medical treatment of a frightening disease in a voice that is straightforward and incredibly brave.
MY POETS. By Maureen N. McLane. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) Part memoir and part criticism, this friendly book includes essays on poets canonical and contemporary, as well as lineated poem-games.
THE OBAMAS. By Jodi Kantor. (Little, Brown, $29.99.) Michelle Obama sets the tone and tempo of the current White House, Kantor argues in this admiring account, full of colorful insider anecdotes.