Rakestraw's Readers Recommend

   

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (Henry Holt, $32.50). As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force. Signed copies available. Buy this book.

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov (Spiegel & Grau, $28). A sweeping multigenerational debut novel about idealism, betrayal, and family secrets that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Russia to post-Cold War America. Buy this book.

On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor (Simon & Schuster, $25). Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic--the oft-overlooked trail--sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity's relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life? Buy this book.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor, (Harper, $15.99). Welcome to Night Vale . . . a friendly desert community somewhere in the American Southwest. In this ordinary little town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are commonplace parts of everyday life, the lives of two women, with two mysteries, are about to converge. Buy this book.

The Fireman by Joe Hill (Morrow, $18.99). In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman's secrets before her life--and that of her unborn child--goes up in smoke. The Fresh Air interview with Joe Hill (it's a pseudonym) was so interesting that I had to read The Fireman. What a dark, disturbing, and riveting thriller! Buy this book.

At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier (Penguin, $16). With impeccable research and flawless prose, Chevalier perfectly conjures the grandeur of the pristine Wild West . . . and the everyday adventurers male and female who were bold enough or foolish enough to be drawn to the unknown. She crafts for us an excellent experience. Buy this book.

Who Killed Piet Barol? by Richard Mason (Knopf, $27.95). A haunting, gloriously imagined novel by the acclaimed author of History of a Pleasure Seeker ("a classic" --The Washington Post), set in early twentieth-century colonial Cape Town, and a forest full of witch doctors, stingless bees, and hungry leopards. Buy this book.

The Book Thieves by Anders Rydell (Viking, $28). For readers of The Hare with Amber Eyes and The Monuments Men comes the story of the Nazis systematic looting of Europe's libraries -- public and private -- and the small team of heroic librarians (though we'd say that all librarians are heroic!) working selflessly to return the books to their rightful owners. Buy this book.

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon (Anchor, $16.95).From a dazzling new voice in historical fiction, Flight of Dreams is a suspenseful, heart-wrenching novel that brings the fateful voyage of the Hindenburg to life. Buy this book.