The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army
Shakespeare, Line by Line: A Companion to the Arden Edition by Arthur Bernstein ’57. The author, a teacher of adult education at Stony Brook University, considers 10 of the Bard’s plays, integrating interpretations by some of the leading Shakespearean scholars into a single coherent discussion (CreateSpace Publishing, $10).

Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army by Eugene L. Meyer ’64. Meyer, a former Washington Post reporter, tells the true story of five brave black men who were part of the raid on Harper’s Ferry — an event historians agree was a catalyst to the Civil War (Chicago Review Press, $26.99).

Next Line, Please: Prompts to Inspire Poets and Writers edited by David Lehman ’70. This compilation of Lehman’s weekly column on the American Scholar website provides playful exercises designed to unlock the imagination (Cornell University Press, $18.95).

Salt: Poems in Catalan translated by Clyde Moneyhun ’76. Writing in the menorquí dialect of his native Catalan, poet Ponç Pons celebrates “the things that sustain us and bind us to life: memory, language, affections, and our connection with the earth” (Francis Boutle Publishers, $59.69).

James Baldwin: The FBI File by William Maxwell ’84. Baldwin’s 1,884-page FBI file, covering 1958–74, was the largest compiled on any African-American artist of the Civil Rights era. This book reproduces more than 100 of the never-before-published documents, bringing renewed attention to bureau surveillance (Arcade Publishing, $22.99).

A Story for Louise by Eric Lanzieri ’85. The true story of how Lanzieri found relatives in Scafati, Italy, nearly 50 years after his grandmother’s last contact, using only verbal family history (Lulu Publishing, $9.99).

Lifting the Turtle by J.D. Scrimgeour ’86. A collection of poems that explore the idea of community, and balance the tension between humans’ desire for connection and a sense of being an outsider looking in. Scrimgeour writes, “I do not love words, but I consider them friends” (Turning Point, $20).

 Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self

The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman ’86. The pair who wrote two New York Times bestsellers is back with a guide that shows tween girls the route to becoming bold, brave and fearless (HarperCollins, $14.99).

Little Sid: The Tiny Prince Who Became Buddha by Ian Lendler ’96. Lendler’s picture book for ages 4–8 tells the story of a spoiled young prince named Siddhartha who sets off on a quest to find personal happiness (First Second, $17.99).

Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez ’97. This collection of short stories about desire, grief and betrayal earned high praise from National Book Award-nominated novelist Cristina García: “At its best, it is sublime. Brava to Ivelisse Rodriguez for a stunning debut!” (The Feminist Press at CUNY, $16.95).

Good and Gone by Megan Blakemore ’99. In Blakemore’s latest novel for young adults, three teens take a road trip to find a reclusive rock star while grappling with tough issues like rape and mental illness (HarperTeen, $17.99).

 Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches

Shortcut Your Startup: Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches by Courtney Reum ’01 and Carter Reum ’03. The Reum brothers — former investment bankers and current successful operators and investors — offer this practical playbook for entrepreneurs looking to maximize any business venture (Gallery/Jeter Publishing, $26).

Abject Performances: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production by Leticia Alvarado ’04. Alvarado, an assistant professor of American studies at Brown, examines models of Latino art and performance that shun mainstream standards of “respectability” and instead feature negative aspects such as shame and unbelonging (Duke University Press, $24.95).

Writing to the World: Letters and the Origins of Modern Print Genres by Rachael Scarborough King ’06. King examines how the form and content of four genres that emerged during the 18th century — the newspaper, the periodical, the novel and the biography — borrowed from letters (The Johns Hopkins University Press, $44.95).

Love War Stories

The Wonder Down Under: The Insider’s Guide to the Anatomy, Biology, and Reality of the Vagina by Dr. Nina Brochmann ’10 and Ellen Støkken Dahl. A comprehensive guide to the female anatomy from two Oslo-based sexual health professionals (Quercus, $26.99).

The Suicide Club by Rachel Heng ’11. Heng’s first novel is set in a futuristic NewYork City where human organs are bought and sold like stocks and people with genetic perfection have the potential to live forever (Henry Holt & Co., $27).

The House of Impossible Beauties: A Novel by Joseph Cassara ’12. Cassara’s debut, named “Most Anticipated Book of 2018” by BuzzFeed, takes place in the colorful Harlem drag ball scene of 1980s New York (Ecco, $26.99).

— Jill C. Shomer