Building A Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How To Teach It To Everyone) by Elizabeth Green. (Norton) Abandoning the myth of the “natural-born teacher,” Green argues that effective teaching is often the result of cultivating a precise skill set, not an individual’s charisma. Her account reports on the research behind teacher training and considers how to introduce these methods into more classrooms.
A Brief History Of Seven Killings by Marlon James. (Riverhead) The winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, James’ third novel is centered on the real-life 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley, chronicling nearly three decades of violence and political upheaval that originated in Kingston, Jamaica, and spilled into Brooklyn, Miami and beyond. Equal parts “spoof, nightmare, blood bath, poem,” the story “takes on a mesmerizing power,” Zachary Lazar wrote in The Times.
All The Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai. (Vintage) Gary Hart, once the front-runner for the 1988 Democratic nomination, is at the heart of this engrossing account, which describes how the press reported on Hart’s rumored affairs, torpedoing his political career and breaking an unspoken understanding that journalists would keep quiet about politicians’ dalliances. Bai, a former New York Times Magazine writer, calls this a turning point that continues to shape politics and media.
See How Small by Scott Blackwood. (Back Bay/Little, Brown) Blackwood’s novel, based on the unsolved murders of four teenagers in 1991 Texas, considers the lasting impact of violence. Narrated by a chorus of the city’s residents, including a brain-injured veteran who witnessed the crime, the book forms a thoughtful portrait of a grieving town.
The Bombers And The Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe, 1940-1945 by Richard Overy. (Penguin) The Allied-led bombing campaign of German civilian areas remains hotly contested: Its supporters have argued that the practice was the best option to defeat Hitler, while its detractors denounce the strategy as unfocused and unnecessarily brutal. The author soberly evaluates its genesis, implementation and legacy, including the moral questions that still linger.
The Assassination Of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel. (Picador) A master storyteller, Mantel, whose historical, Tudor-era novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” both won the Man Booker Prize, joins classic storytelling techniques with the surreal in this collection, which reviewer Terry Castle praised as an “unusually mordant verbal fantasia.”
Poor Man's Feast: A Love Story Of Comfort, Desire, And The Art Of Simple Cooking by Elissa Altman. (Berkley) Altman, a former food editor who once favored haute cuisine, recounts her transformative romance with Susan Turner, who found balance, simplicity and peace in a small Connecticut town.
New York Times