In this week’s picks, new novels from Craig Johnson, China Mieville, Timeri Murari, Peter Carey, and Garth Nix, plus stories of Southern India from Tania James; the first collection of Batman’s “New 52” incarnation; the follow-up to Sh*t My Dad Says; two different looks at the American character (one via DNA, one via the amateur experience); a heartfelt history of same-sex couples; and the story of an ancient Bible pursued across the globe.
The Aleppo Codex: The True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible by Matti Friedman (Algonquin, $24.95; ISBN 978-1-61620-040-4).
A “masterful” nonfiction mystery about the worldwide scramble for an ancient manuscript purported to be the most accurate text of the Hebrew Bible in existence, at once “atmospheric, tense,” and “disturbing.”
Outlaw Marriage: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples by Rodger Streitmatter (Beacon, $26.95; ISBN 978-0-8070-0334-3).
Cultural historian Streitmatter takes a cultural and personal looks at the lives of some notable same-sex couples, which include Greta Garbo, Tennessee Williams, and Jasper Johns. Check out our Q&A.
Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character by Jack Hitt (Crown, $26; ISBN 978-0-307-39375-3).
Journalist and “This American Life” contributor looks at “self-trained experts” and other unlikely success stories in this “hilarious” survey of the American Dream that’s “as fascinating as it is inspiring.”
Batman Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion (DC Comics, $24.99; ISBN 978-1-4012-3541-3).
This hardcover volume collects issues 1-7 of DC comics’ “New 52” Batman series. In writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo hands, this is a “clever and sophisticated Batman—with a dark, edgy, and though-provoking narrative.”
Railsea by China Mieville (Del Rey, $18; ISBN 978-0-345-52452-2).
Mieville returns to YA fiction with this “superb, swashbuckling tale,” bringing his “massively imaginative” to a tale of “eccentric characters, amazing monsters, and, at its heart, an intense sense of wonder.”
The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri Murari (Ecco, $24.99; ISBN 978-0-06-209125-3).
The newest from author-journalist-filmmaker Murari is set in Kabul in 2000, and tells a “harrowing tale of an educated young newspaperwoman during the Taliban's rule.”
A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (Harper, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-009694-6).
A universe-spanning new YA space opera with massive crossover potential by the bestselling Australian SF/fantasy author. Q&A here.
I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern (It Books, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-06-211337-5).
The guy who made a bestseller out of “sh*t” his dad said returns with a look at his own love life, featuring plenty “priceless and profane bon mots” from the old man. Click here for the Q&A.
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey (Knopf, $26; ISBN 978-0-307-59271-2).
In two-time Booker winner Carey’s “powerful” new novel “on the frailty of the human body and the emotional life we imbue in machines,” a London museum conservator restores a 19th-century automaton after her married lover dies.
Aerogrammes: And Other Stories by Tania James (Knopf, $24; ISBN 978-0-307-26891-4).
In nine "immaculately crafted" stories, James illuminates the emotional lives of loners in Kerala, India's most cosmopolitan state.
DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of Americaby Bryan Sykes (Norton/Liveright, $27.95; ISBN 978-0-871-40412-1).
A look at the “gorgeous mosaic” of chromosomes in the American makeup, this “fascinating” genealogical treatise mixes cutting-edge genetics and “epic” ethnography.
As the Crow Fliesby Craig Johnson (Viking, $25.95; ISBN 978-0-670-02351-6).
Johnson “expertly highlights his conflicted hero’s dual role as father and sheriff” in his eighth “deeply satisfying” Walt Longmire mystery, timed just ahead of the lawman’s small-screen debut on the A&E series Longmire (coming in June). See our exclusive excerpt.