Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover? That tired cliché isn’t fair with regard to people, but an eye-catching cover did make us pick up, and ultimately love, these eight titles. There’s something rare and wondrous when an intriguing outside contains an equally intriguing inside, and our staff is happy they broke the rule and dared to judge these winning books by their covers.
Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a ninety-three-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the characters that Joseph Mitchell—known for his precise, respectful observation, graveyard humor, and offhand perfection of style—immortalized in his reportage for the magazine.
There have been dozens of novels recently published about the financial crisis of 2008, but few have focused on those most profoundly affected: the working families left to pick up the pieces. Jende Jonga is a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem with his wife, Neni, and child when he lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. As the story alternates between Jende and Neni and speeds perilously close to economic disaster, they learn about privilege, pride, and impossible choices.