Updated: 2011-07-29 08:01
Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth, by Hilary Spurling (Simon & Schuster)
Pearl Buck (1892-1973), the daughter of missionaries and the first US woman to win a Nobel for literature, spent nearly all of the first 42 years of her life in China, and her childhood was marked by poverty and social upheavals. Spurling traces the biographical background of Buck's prodigious writing: In addition to her Pulitzer-winning novel, The Good Earth, Buck wrote dozens of novels, memoirs, stories and magazine articles. Times reviewer Stacy Schiff called this book "an extraordinary portrait".
One More Theory About Happiness: A Memoir, by Paul Guest (Ecco/HarperCollins)
A quadriplegic since a childhood accident, Guest, the author of three poetry collections, including Notes for My Body Double (2007), looks squarely at his paralysis and its effect on those around him, and reflects on his emergence as a writer.
White House Years, by Henry Kissinger (Simon & Schuster)
Published in hardcover in 1979, this first volume of Kissinger's memoirs covers his four years (1969-1973) as President Richard M. Nixon's national security adviser. In Years of Upheaval (Simon & Schuster), first published in 1982, Kissinger reflects on the turbulent years he served as Nixon's secretary of state (1973-1974).
Faithful Place, by Tana French (Penguin)
Like her two previous mysteries, In the Woods (2007) and The Likeness (2008), French's latest is set in Dublin and steeped in local history. When a 22-year-old murder comes to light, Frank Mackey, a tough-minded detective, is pulled back to his poor but proud neighborhood and the family entanglements he'd wisely left behind years ago.
Red Hook Road, by Ayelet Waldman (Anchor)
A delicate portrait of love and loss, this novel is set in motion by the death of a young couple in an accident on their wedding day. Over the course of four summers on the coast of Maine, their families, already at odds, struggle to bridge class and cultural differences.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu (Vintage Contemporaries)
In Minor Universe 31, the "slightly damaged" world of Yu's first novel, people use time machines to try to change the past. Yu's protagonist is a lonely time travel technician also named Charles Yu; when he isn't saving people from themselves, he's searching for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. Times reviewer Ander Monson called this "a complex, brainy, genre-hopping joyride of a story".
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, by Tom Bissell (Vintage)
An entertaining tour of the art and meaning of video games, these essays argue that we are in a golden age of gaming - Bissell, a longtime enthusiast, says Grand Theft Auto IV may be "the most colossal creative achievement of the last 25 years" - but also bemoans their aesthetic shortcomings.
Voyager: Exploration, Space, and the Third Great Age of Discovery, by Stephen J. Pyne (Penguin)
Pondering the nature of exploration itself, Pyne chronicles the innovative Voyager mission to the outer planets - Voyager 2 was launched first, on Aug 20, 1977; Voyager 1 followed on Sept 5 - and casts it as a successor to the greatest explorations in the West, from Magellan to Lewis and Clark.
New York Times
Domestic firms make hay as shopping spree by middle class consumers keeps cash registers ringing in Nanjing
Yao Ming announced his retirement from basketball, staging an emotional end to a glorious career.
British fitness coach comes to terms with tragedy through life changes
Traditional Chinese medicine using moxa, or mugwort herb, is once again becoming fashionable