146. VALIANT AMBITION: GEORGE WASHINGTON, BENEDICT ARNOLD AND THE FATE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
By Nathaniel Philbrick
In his latest history, Philbrick documents how the Continental Congress caused problems for the leader of the Continental Army–and drove a promising officer to treason.
Location: New England; New York; New Jersey; Pennsylvania
147. GRACE: A NOVEL
By Natashia Deón
Naomi escapes slavery only to end up in a brothel. She becomes pregnant and is shot dead by slave catchers soon after giving birth. But she follows her daughter Josey as a ghost as the girl stares down villains of her own.
Location: Alabama; Georgia
148. THE WHALE: A LOVE STORY
By Mark Beauregard
This novel imagines the deep affection–and a possible attraction–between novelists Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Location: The Berkshires
149. MELVILLE IN LOVE: THE SECRET LIFE OF HERMAN MELVILLE AND THE MUSE OF MOBY-DICK
By Michael Shelden
This nonfiction account looks at a similar period in Melville’s life, but instead focuses on the author’s affair with Sarah Morewood, a married woman.
Location: The Berkshires
150. THE GILDED YEARS
By Karin Tanabe
Tanabe fictionalizes the tale of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who passed as a white woman. When Hemmings falls for a Harvard man, her situation becomes complicated.
Location: Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
151. LEAVING LUCY PEAR
By Anna Solomon
A wealthy young woman leaves her illegitimate baby in her uncle’s pear orchard, knowing the child will be taken in by a band of fruit thieves. The girl grows up in a working-class family that eventually sees its fate entwined with that of her mother.
Location: Cape Ann, Mass.
152. MONTEREY BAY
By Lindsay Hatton
A young woman becomes involved with her father’s colleague, biologist Ed Ricketts (the character known as Doc in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row). The affair has unexpected consequences for the family and the bay.
Location: Monterey Bay, Calif.
153. THE DOLLHOUSE
By Fiona Davis
A secretarial student moves into the famous Barbizon Hotel and becomes close to a maid with a wild nightlife. Decades after their escapades, a journalist looks back to investigate their involvement in a murder.
Location: New York City
154. NOT PRETTY ENOUGH: THE UNLIKELY TRIUMPH OF HELEN GURLEY BROWN
By Gerri Hirshey
The author of Sex and the Single Girl and editor of Cosmopolitan was disparaged by some feminists, but her brand of female empowerment still drives conversation about women and their bodies today.
Location: New York City; Los Angeles
155. THE GIRLS
By Emma Cline
A teenage girl finds herself drawn into a Mansonesque cult that dumpster-dives and rides on a school bus that’s painted black. As an adult, she looks back at her involvement in one infamous night of violence.
Location: Northern California
156. SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF EASE AND PLENTY
By Ramona Ausubel
When a husband and wife find out the estate they’ve been living off has dried up, they each take off on impromptu trips, leaving their three children to fend for themselves.
Location: Martha’s Vineyard
157. ANOTHER BROOKLYN
By Jacqueline Woodson
In Woodson’s first adult novel in 20 years (she most recently wrote the award-winning children’s novel Brown Girl Dreaming), a woman reflects on her coming-of-age in Brooklyn, an experience that was in turn thrilling, liberating and terrifying.
158. LIFE MOVES PRETTY FAST: THE LESSONS WE LEARNED FROM EIGHTIES MOVIES (AND WHY WE DON’T LEARN THEM FROM MOVIES ANYMORE)
By Hadley Freeman
Freeman investigates what makes 1980s classics like Three Men and a Baby, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off so lovable.
159. THE GOOD LIEUTENANT
By Whitney Terrell
Terrell’s novel of the Iraq war moves backward in time to show how its protagonist, a female lieutenant, ended up in a catastrophic operation that injures the officer she’s having an affair with.
Location: Iraq; U.S. bases
160. BEHOLD THE DREAMERS
By Imbolo Mbue
A Cameroonian immigrant and his wife and child move to Harlem, after which he gets a cushy job as a chauffeur for a Lehman Brothers executive. It’s 2007, so you know what happens next.
Location: New York City; the Hamptons
161. I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU
By Terry McMillan
A dissatisfied optometrist, twice divorced, embarks on a mission to find all the men whom she once loved. While Georgia deals with the unique upheaval of midlife, her daughters and mother go through changes of their own.
Location: San Francisco
162. UNDERGROUND AIRLINES
By Ben Winters
It’s the present day, but the Civil War never happened and slavery endures in four states. Victor, a bounty hunter, is on the trail of a runaway, but his own past on a plantation keeps coming back to haunt him.
163. THE MANDIBLES: A FAMILY, 2029–2047
By Lionel Shriver
A family deals with the aftermath of the overnight collapse of the U.S. dollar, which was destroyed by a cyberattack and caused American officials to default on all loans–including Treasury bills, in which the fortune of the Mandible family was invested. Now they must readjust to a chaotic world in which their future is uncertain.