Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders (Random House)
In February 1862, the Civil War was one year in and President Abraham Lincoln’s beloved 11-year-old son Willie died of typhoid fever and was laid to rest. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” said the grief-stricken president, and newspapers reported that he returned to the Georgetown crypt several times to hold his son’s body. Saunders takes this event and spins it into a supernatural novel of ghosts, love, loss and family, with young Willie suspended in a purgatory state.
Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town
by Brian Alexander (St. Martin’s)
Lancaster, Ohio, was declared the All-American Town by Forbes in 1947; its Anchor Hocking Glass Company was the foundation of a healthy, booming community. The town began to crumble as the factory shut down, as with too many other once-vibrant American hubs, leaving its citizens dreaming of the good old days. This well-reported book is all the stronger given the author’s connection to it: Lancaster is Alexander’s hometown. Shades of JD Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy.”
The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir
by Jennifer Ryan (Crown)
In an English village during WWII, the women are left to carry on daily life while the men are off fighting. When the town vicar decides to shut down the choir, the women opt to triumphantly “carry on singing,” calling themselves the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. Although it’s a novel, the book is inspired by the stories shared by Ryan’s grandmother about life on the homefront during wartime.
Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books
by Leonard S. Marcus (Golden Books)
This is the story behind the childhood books that every American knows and loves: The small, bright books introduced in 1942 during wartime to bring comfort and stability to kids and to instill good values. Priced at 25 cents per book, the idea was that good children’s books should be affordable for all. Includes interviews with several top children’s book creators and sweet photos that will bring back memories.
A Divided Spy
by Charles Cumming (St. Martin’s)
A former MI6 agent heads to Moscow in search of a top Russian spy who knows a terrifying secret. Agent Kell is hell-bent on revenge — but his quest ends up endangering Britain’s national security. Classic spy fiction at its best.