STOKELY: A Life, by Peniel E. Joseph. (BasicCivitas) After the deaths of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, who embodied the black power movement, was considered an heir apparent in the battle for civil rights. His life is a crucial, if sometimes overlooked, part of the “route black America took to its present understanding of itself and its complex relationship to this country,” reviewer William Jelani Cobb wrote.
THE HARDER THEY COME, by T. Coraghessan Boyle. (Ecco/HarperCollins) Boyle’s novel explores the noxious combination of anger, paranoia and power through the stories of three characters: Sten, a Vietnam War veteran hailed as a hero after killing a robber in Central America; Adam, Sten’s mentally ill son with a propensity for violence; and Sara, Adam’s lover, who is also a member of an anarchist group. After Adam shoots two people and flees, a manhunt ensues and leads Sten to reconsider how best to relate to his son.
ORDINARY LIGHT: A Memoir, by Tracy K. Smith. (Vintage) Smith, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, reflects on the forces that shaped her, including her childhood in Northern California, an early visit to relatives in Alabama and her literary influences. At the heart of the memoir is Smith’s fierce bond with her mother and her reflections on her identity as a black American and a woman.
THE VILLAGE, by Nikita Lalwani. (Random House) In Lalwani’s second novel, a young BBC documentary filmmaker and her bickering crew travel to a small Indian village, Ashwer, in pursuit of her next topic. The town is an experimental “prison village,” where violent criminals are permitted to live with their families and are allowed to seek daywork outside the village confines.
THE DELUGE: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931, by Adam Tooze. (Penguin) This account depicts the time in history before American power became, as reviewer Gary J. Bass wrote, “the defining political fact of the modern world.” Tooze’s history begins mid-war and traces how the United States outstripped its European counterparts, leveraging its growing economic power into military might.
ORHAN’S INHERITANCE, by Aline Ohanesian. (Algonquin) After Kemal, the protagonist’s grandfather, dies in 1990, his family is puzzled by a mysterious woman named in his will: Kemal left her the family’s home in Turkey. When Orhan, his grandson, delves into Kemal’s past, he soon discovers a story of ill-fated love during the Armenian genocide.
SPEAK NOW. Marriage Equality on Trial: The Story of Hollingsworth V. Perry, by Kenji Yoshino. (Broadway) Yoshino chronicles the landmark 2010 trial that struck down the ban on same-sex marriage in California and considers its far-ranging legal, and personal, ramifications.
New York Times