This back-to-school season, it's time to reevaluate a few common assumptions about how best to study. Benedict Carey, the author of How We Learn, says science shows that discipline isn't everything.
The younger Scarry, also an illustrator, found a draft of Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! in his dad's Swiss chalet. He says all that was missing was the final art, "so that's what I did."
The scent of fresh pencils is in the air, and homework assignments are around the corner. In honor of back-to-school season, author Alexander Aciman recommends The Lost Estate by Henri Alain-Fournier.
Katy Simpson Smith's novel, set during the American Revolution, was inspired by her research on mothers in the South. "Death was sort of the specter that haunted every aspect of life," she says.
Amanda Ripley looks at the world's new education superpowers in The Smartest Kids In The World, which appears at No. 9.
At No. 13, James McBride's The Good Lord Bird tells the story of a young slave who is liberated by John Brown just before his raid on Harpers Ferry.
Hampton Sides' In The Kingdom Of Ice recounts an ill-fated 19th-century naval expedition to the North Pole. It appears at No. 1.
Debuting at No. 1, Haruki Mirakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage follows a 30-something man looking for closure.
The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.
Also: How to tell you're in a Balzac novel; Ernest Hemingway's letters.
Comics critic Etelka Lehoczky says the wildly discordant art styles in a new graphic novel compilation of World War I poetry work to illuminate the emotional chaos of soldiers on the Western Front.
Kelly McEvers talks to food writer Mark Kurlansky and his daughter Talia about their cookbook International Night, based on their tradition of cooking a meal every week from a different country.
In this poem, "Kingfisher," Chris McCabe recalls a bird watching trip, and an attempt to see a rare bird — the vivid blue kingfisher — that he long dreamed of seeing.
It's not news that the publishing world isn't very diverse. But over on the other side of the industry, how do owners of neighborhood bookstores try to sell books for or about people of color?
In his first graphic novel, Jules Feiffer, 85, has returned to the seedy comic strips, hard boiled novels and B movies of his youth. Maureen Corrigan says it's "a mulligan stew of murder and desire."
Also: Italian novelist Elena Ferrante gives a rare interview; the history of Arabic noir.
Daniel Kehlmann's F, about three brothers abandoned by their father, examines the detail of lives lived without integrity. It is brilliantly translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
The American publishing industry has long been the realm of the privileged few. Lately, though, some writers of color are making their voices heard — and starting some uncomfortable conversations.
Also: Poet Simin Behbahani, known as the "Lioness of Iran," has died; novelist Lev Grossman on finding his vocation.
David Connerley Nahm's debut, Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, is full of what critic Michael Schaub calls "anti-nostalgia," the pain of intrusive memories that come when you're least prepared.