Here are three books with publication dates from 2016 that I really enjoyed that you may want to read to get your 2017 reading year off to a positive start.
(The summaries are from their publishers.)
by Nathan Hill
It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson—college professor, stalled writer—has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn’t seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s re-appeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paint Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help. To save her, Samuel will have to embark on his own journey, uncovering long-buried secrets about the woman he thought he knew, secrets that stretch across generations and have their origin all the way back in Norway, home of the mysterious Nix. As he does so, Samuel will confront not only Faye’s losses but also his own lost love and will relearn everything he thought he knew about his mother and himself.
The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon
by Larry Tye4
New York Times bestselling author of Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend Larry Tye was given unprecedented access by the Kennedy family to write this in-depth, vibrant and editorially independent biography.
Kennedy—nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father—started his public life as counsel to the left-baiting, table-thumping Senator Joseph McCarthy. A bare-knuckled political operative who masterminded his brother’s whatever-it-takes bids for senator and president, Kennedy okayed FBI wiretaps of Martin Luther King Jr. and cloak-and-dagger operations against communist Cuba that included blowing up railroad bridges, sabotaging crops, and plotting the elimination of President Fidel Castro.
RFK’s profoundly moving journey from cold warrior to hot-blooded liberal also offers a lens into two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of twentieth century America.
John K Tucci