The Selected Writings of Pauline Kael
Library of America, $40
Witty, entertaining and often exhilarating, this wide-ranging collection of pieces captures the film critic at her best.
Jean Strouse, preface by Colm Tóibín
New York Review Books, $17.95 paper
The acclaimed biographer of financier J.P. Morgan chronicles the brief but brilliant life of the younger sister of William and Henry James.
The Almanac of American Politics, 2012
Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon
University of Chicago Press, $85, paper
A must for political junkies, the almanac offers timely narrative profiles of all 50 states and 435 House districts and profiles of every member of Congress.
And so It Goes
Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
Charles J. Shields
Henry Holt, $30
The first authorized biography of the writer who changed the conversation in American letters.
Back to Work
Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy
Alfred A. Knopf, $23.95
The former president offers a plain-spoken, personal picture of ways to revive our economy and get the U.S. "back into the future business."
Backward Ran Sentences
The Best of Wolcott Gibbs From the New Yorker
Edited by Thomas Vinciguerra
Bloomsbury, $18. Paper
A collection of profiles, stories and criticism by one of the leading figures of the New Yorker's early days.
The Invention of a Novelist
Harvard University Press, $29.95
How young Dickens overcame a difficult childhood and early obstacles to become one of the world's greatest novelists.
Betty & Friends
My Life at the Zoo
Along with acting, the actress shares another lifelong passion, animal welfare advocacy, in a book that celebrates zoos and the importance of caring for animals.
Alfred Knopf, $25
The acclaimed writer's heartbreaking meditation on the death of her daughter at 39.
Travels in the New Third World
W.W. Norton, $25.95
Shrewd and lucid observations on countries where the financial tsunami has left the most damage.
A Life Sacred and Profane
W.W. Norton, $39.95
The British art historian vividly recounts the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death.
A History of the Region and Its Peoples
Edited by Stephan Palmié and Francisco Scarano
University of Chicago Press, $35
An illuminating work tracing the region from its pre-Columbian state through European colonialism and the economic turbulence of the 21st century.
Catherine the Great
Portrait of a Woman
Robert K. Massie
Random House, $35
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer returns to the Russian front with the story of the minor German princess who became Empress Catherine II.
The Four Voyages
The glory — and tragic price — of Columbus' history-making journeys to the New World.
Cool, Calm & Contentious
A collection of personal essays in which the Emmy Award-winning writer opines on narcissists, crazy mommies, camping, virginity and much more.
America's Greatest Newspaper Columns
Edited by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis
Overlook Press, $29.95
Work by Hemingway, Winchell, Royko, Breslin, Hunter Thompson and Steve Lopez are all included in this broad collection.
An Actor's Education
A highly articulate account of the actor's upbringing in the American theater.
Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar
Stories of Food During Wartime by the World's Leading Correspondents
Edited by Matt McAllester
University of California Press, $27.50
Tales well told of the challenges of eating well — or at all — in the combat zone.
The White House Years
This biography sets aside the familiar benign portrait of the 34th U.S. president (usually with golf club in hand) to give us a vivid glimpse of his political efforts and private world.
Emily Post's Etiquette
Manners for a New World 18th Edition
Peggy Post, Anna Post, Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning
William Morrow, $39.99
Is it rude to tweet from a wedding? This book answers that question and offers advice on thousands more.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
Edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40
The final work of an author who dedicated his life to questioning the nature of reality and perception.
Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone
The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson, edited and with an Introduction by Jann S. Wenner
Simon & Schuster, $32.50
This collection of Thompson's pieces showcases his roller-coaster career at the magazine.
A Supreme Court Memoir
John Paul Stevens
Little, Brown, $24.99
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens reflects on five chief justices he worked with on the court.
A Story of Courage and Hope
Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly
A closer look at the story behind the harrowing ordeal of astronaut Kelly and his wife Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman nearly killed in a shooting earlier this year.
The Garner Files
James Garner and Jon Winokur
Simon & Schuster, $25.99
A candid accounting from the actor who reconstructed two Hollywood archetypes in "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files."
George F. Kennan
An American Life
John Lewis Gaddis
Penguin Press, $39.95
The authorized biography of the seminal U.S. Cold War diplomat, 30 years in the making.
The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America
Winkler, a UCLA professor, uses the landmark Columbia vs. Heller case as a springboard for a thorough examination of the gun control debate.
Essays and Criticism
Alfred A. Knopf, $40
Perhaps best known as a novelist, Updike's essays and criticism show his masterful touch in those forms as well.
Holidays in Heck
Grove Atlantic, $24
The celebrated political humorist on the road with his family makes him wish he were under artillery fire again.
Hollywood Left and Right
How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics
Steven J. Ross
Oxford University Press, $29.95
Ross challenges the conventional belief that Hollywood is the seat of liberalism in this evenhanded accounting of the industry's political history.
The Man, the Myth and the Transformation of American Sports
W.W. Norton, $29.95
Reviled by many but never boring, Cosell was a groundbreaking figure in American television.
In My Time
A Personal and Political Memoir
Threshold Editions, $35
The outspoken former vice president's accounting of the Bush Administration's War on Terrorism.
Life and Death in Karachi
Penguin Press, $27.95
A vibrant portrait of the one of the world's fastest-growing, politically complex cities by the co-host of NPR's Morning Edition.
Into the Blue
American Writing on Aviation and Spaceflight
Edited by Joseph J. Corn
Library of America, $40
This collection includes essays by Benjamin Franklin, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Chris Jones, who recalls being marooned on the International Space Station.
It Calls You Back
An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing
Luis J. Rodriguez
The author of "Always Running" chronicles his journey from gang member to his place as a noted figure in Chicago literature and American letters.
I Want My MTV
The Uncensored History of the Music Video Revolution
Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum
An oral history of the pop culture phenomenon that now plays everything but popular music.
Simon & Schuster, $27.50
Kennedy loved courage but never wanted to be alone, never to be bored. Matthews offers a new assessment of the 35th president.
Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy and Michael Beschloss
Shortly after her husband's assassination, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven interviews on her life with JFK. Now, 50 years after his inauguration, the material has been released on CDs with accompanying transcripts.
Simon Sebag Montefiore
Alfred A. Knopf, $35
A rich account of how the small, remote town became the Holy City and the key to peace in the Middle East.
Courage and Art
Random House, $30
The acclaimed biographer of Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart, among many others, turns to the filmmaker best known for "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."
The Shocking Assassination That Changed America
Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard
Henry Holt, $28
TV host and commentator Bill O'Reilly teams up with bestselling author Martin Dugard to describe the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
The Language Wars
A History of Proper English
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28
An examination of the rules of grammar, regional accents and political correctness in the battlefield that is the English language.
The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, 1907-1922
Edited by Sandra Spanier and Robert W. Trogdon
Cambridge University Press, $40
This first volume of Hemingway's letters reveals a more complex person than his tough-guy public persona suggested.
Life Upon These Shores
Looking at African American History, 1513-2008
Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Alfred A. Knopf, $50
A richly illustrated book tracing the African American experience from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama.
The Long Night
William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
An American journalist's firsthand encounters with the Nazis after starting, in the 1930s, the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow's CBS News.
The Magic of Reality
How We Know What's Really True
Free Press, $29.99
The world's leading evolutionary biologist explains a wide range of natural phenomena.
The Man Who Couldn't Eat
Gallery Books, $25
The author explores our complex and often-contradictory relationship with food as he tells the story of his agonizing battle with Crohn's disease.
A Novelist Imagines a Life
The novelist wonders what it was like to be married to a hugely ambitious and flawed man.
Harry Belafonte with Michael Shnayerson
Alfred A. Knopf, $30.50
A forthright memoir that traces the singer's career and his larger concerns with racial justice.
The New Deal
A Modern History
Free Press, $30
The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter sheds light on the origins, legacy and genius of Roosevelt's plan to combat the Great Depression.
No Higher Honor
A Memoir of My Years in Washington
The former secretary of state tells the story of her time as President George W. Bush's most influential foreign policy advisors.
The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice
University of California Press, $34.95
A pioneering figure in the music business, Granz defied racial and social prejudice to bring jazz to audiences around the world.
A Life in the Dark
The first biography of the legendary film critic for the New Yorker.
Physics on the Fringe
Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything
Walker & Co., $26
Through the story of Jim Carter, a trailer park owner in Washington state, Wertheim examines a group of men without formal scientific training who have tried to change the face of physics.
How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans
Capt. Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips
The environmentalist and researcher details his discovery of a great garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean where plastic outweighs zooplankton.
The Puppy Diaries
Raising a Dog Named Scout
Times Books / Henry Holt, $22
Part owner's manual, part memoir, the recently appointed executive editor of the New York Times recounts her first year with her golden retriever Scout.
Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin
Forty Years of Funny Stuff
Random House, $26
The best of Trillin's humorous pieces arranged by themes, including "Life Among the Literati" and "English and Some Languages I Don't Speak."
Rin Tin Tin
The Life and the Legend
Simon & Schuster, $26.99
The story of a a dog who never died in the public consciousness. At one time, Rin Tin Tin was Hollywood's top-ranking box office star.
Searching for the Real Sarah Palin
The author presents a scathing chronicle of the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate as an individual, politician and cultural phenomenon.
A Cultural, Visual and Personal Journey
Alfred A. Knopf, $35
Hughes finds God in the details as he traces the city's history through its art.
Simon & Schuster, $22
The actress explains that even though shock therapy may be wiping out her memory, she's becoming addicted to the treatments.
Seriously … I'm Kidding
Grand Central Publishing, $26.99
Another memoir from the comedian and new daytime queen of talk television.
Alfred A. Knopf, $39.95
A fully formed look at the stage and screen career of one of America's great acting legends.
Simon & Schuster, $35
The authorized biography of the co-founder of Apple who was one the most admired men in America.
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Henry Holt, $26
A funny, moving account of a Hollywood life—from teen idol to TV and movie star—lived almost entirely in the public eye
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes
My Life in Music
Crown Archetype, $26
A broad recollection of the singer's life in music in the tumultuous '60s and the high cost it exacted in her personal life.
How the World Became Modern
W.W. Norton, $26.95
This year's National Book Award winner in nonfiction describes the world-changing rediscovery of a lost Latin classic.
10 Mindful Minutes
Giving Our Children and Ourselves the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress for Healthier, Happier Lives
The actress offers tips on teaching children how to cultivate an attitude of mindfulness in spite of countless daily distractions.
That Used to Be Us
How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back
Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28
The authors look at the challenges facing America in globalization, energy consumption, information technology and chronic deficits, and offer a call to action.
Random House, $26
The actress writes about her mother and the strong bonds that forged both their lives.
Allister Sparks and Mpho Tutu
An unapologetic fan biography of the Anglican archbishop who was the moral voice of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement.
Starvation and Politics
The author looks at three food shortages in the 20th century and points an accusing finger at the authorities in charge.
The Time of Our Lives
A Conversation About America
Random House, $26
"What happened to the America I thought I knew?" asks Brokaw as he offers insights into how America can achieve greatness.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30
The Nobel laureate offers a master class on the human mind and how we think about our personal and professional lives.
A Russian Life
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35
The first new biography of the lifelong rebel and genius to use post-glasnost Russian sources.
The Unquiet American
Richard Holbrooke in the World
Edited by Derek Chollet and Samantha Power
Public Affairs, $29.99
A collection of essays on Holbrooke, one of the leading figures in late 20th century American diplomacy.
Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles
Broadway Books, $30
A social history of the wealthy in the City of Angels told through the prism of high-end real estate.
The Untold Civil War
Exploring the Human Side of War
National Geographic Books, $40
The enduring impact of the Civil War is detailed in 30 self-contained stories on surprising, little-known and fresh aspects of the struggle.
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith
Random House, $40
The most extensive biography of the Van Gogh to date offers a new theory on the circumstances surrounding his death.
The General Who Lost Vietnam
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30
Sorley's biography suggests that William Westmoreland's strategy of attrition failed to understand the realities of the Vietnam War.
West by West
My Charmed, Tormented Life
Jerry West and Jonathan Coleman
Little, Brown, $27.99
One of the greatest figures in NBA history as a player and executive offers a candid accounting of his challenging life.
New Directions, $18.95
A memoir by the National Book Award–winner and musician that recollects the poignant experiences, real and imagined, of her early life.
You Will See Fire
A Search for Justice in Kenya
W.W. Norton, $27.95
The death of an American clergyman, despised by Kenya's tyrannical leader Daniel arap Moi, is ruled a suicide until the truth is uncovered.