In The Innovators, Walter Isaacson explains that Pentagon officials wanted a system the Russians couldn't attack, and 1984 made the public wary of new technology's Big Brother potential.
In "Scheherazade," he tells the tale of a captive listener — in more ways than one. Also: A big week to come includes the Nobel Prize announcement, "Super Thursday" and several notable books.
The Innovators, Walter Isaacson's new book, tells the stories of the people who created modern computers. Women, who are now a minority in computer science, played an outsize role in that history.
Marlon James' latest novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, is not brief, and it contains many more than seven deaths. It's a portrait of Jamaica in the '70s, when gang warfare and reggae reigned.
Former Ambassador Christopher Hill has written his memoir, Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy. NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks to Hill about his tenure as a diplomat in Iraq.
Smiley used to live in Iowa and says something about the place still pulls on her imagination. Her new book, Some Luck, begins on a family farm in 1920.
A new Penguin compendium of documents relating to three centuries of witch trials lays the blame on fractured communities and cruel governments — and draws unsettling parallels to current events.
If you're mystified by terms like "Libor," "stagflation" and "Grexit," you should pick up John Lanchester's new book, How To Speak Money, which aims to untangle the tortured language of finance.
Lovecraft, the author who famously invented Cthulhu, was also known for his highly racist opinions. This has created some controversy around the World Fantasy Award statue that bears his likeness.
In The Invisible Front, journalist Yochi Dreazen tells the story of the Grahams, a close-knit family that lost two sons in the span of a year and then took up the fight against military suicide.
In Age of Opportunity, psychologist Larry Steinberg applies neuroscience to risk-taking, peer influence, the boredom of high school and other adolescent conundrums.
This week, following a series of security lapses, the Secret Service director resigned. For a look at the agency beyond the scandal, author Ben Dolnick recommends the novel Big If by Mark Costello.
Singer-songwriter Graham Nash shares the story of his life in the music world and beyond. Wild Tales appears at No. 14.
A death reunites old high school flames in Nicholas Sparks' The Best of Me, which appears at No. 13.
TV's Bill O'Reilly and historian Martin Dugard explore a World War II general's death in Killing Patton. It debuts at No. 1.
An onstage death is the unlikely harbinger of apocalyptic pandemonium in Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. It debuts at No. 12.
The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.
California parolee Charles Manson arrived in San Francisco in 1967, when the city was full of young seeking a guru. In Manson, Jeff Guinn says it was the perfect spot for him to enact his cult vision.
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses. She shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.
The allegations come in a lawsuit filed by the ex-headmaster at a school that the best-selling writer founded. Also: The Authors Guild reveals it's requested a Justice Department probe of Amazon.