10 Books That You Might Have Missed but Shouldn't

Article excerpt

A modern 'Arabian Nights' love story. Cameo portraits of Ernest Beckett's women. The war between Keynes and Hayek. Our list of the titles to soothe the soul and freshen the synapses.

'A History of the World in 100 Objects' By Neil MacGregor

From the Rosetta Stone to a Ming bank note to a slave drum, the director of the British Museum's elegant survey of world history shows us that even mundane artifacts reveal more about how we live than we'd sometimes care to admit.

'Habibi' By Craig Thompson

This brilliantly imagined graphic novel--a love story between two young people--begins in a sort of timeless Arabian Nights landscape and winds its way into a cluttered, modern, urban world. But more than anything, it celebrates the power of the artist to tell a story with ink teased into magisterial letters and visual images.

'Book of Secrets' By Michael Holroyd

Acclaimed biographer Holroyd here turns his attention to a villa in Italy and the women who, in the early 20th century, moved through its rooms--all of them connected (fiancee, lover, daughter) to an English aristocrat, Ernest Beckett. The result is a series of delightful cameo-portraits and a dexterous meditation on the art of biography itself.

'Assassins of the Turquoise Palace' By Roya Hakakian

Poet and journalist Roya Hakakian recounts the 1992 murders of four Iranian opposition members in Berlin, the lengthy trial that followed the event, and its profound diplomatic repercussions. Hakakian's is a painstaking and riveting account--a true story that reads like an international thriller.

'What it is Like to Go to War' By Karl Marlantes

With the combat experience of a Vietnam vet, the sensitivity of a novelist, and the insights of a Rhodes scholar, Marlantes delivers one of the most powerful meditations on the meaning of war and its impact. A necessary book as America welcomes home a new generation of veterans. …