We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption by Justin FentonWhat it's about: the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF), a corrupt Baltimore police department unit created in 2007 that targeted the city's Black population, committed robberies, planted evidence, and much more.
About the author: Baltimore Sun reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Justin Fenton covered the city's 2015 protests in the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death in police custody.
Who it's for: Fans of TV's The Wire will be captivated by this fast-paced and sobering true-crime chronicle.
Guilty Admissions: The Bribes, Favors, and Phonies Behind the College Cheating Scandal by Nicole LaPorteWhat it is: a gossipy exposé of Operation Varsity Blues, the 2019 college admissions scandal that resulted in the arrest of actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Laughlin.
Read it for: a well-researched indictment of the toxic (and systemic) competition among the wealthy and privileged.
Try this next: Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz.
The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice by Gayle Tzemach LemmonWhat it's about: the Kurdish Women's Protection Units (YPJ), an all-female militia established in 2013 to combat the Islamic State in Syria.
Don't miss: a pulse-pounding account of the Siege of Kobani; profiles of four YPJ fighters instrumental in retaking the city.
Reviewers say: "A well-told story of contemporary female warriors and the complex geopolitical realities behind their battles" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed by Wendy LowerHow it began: In 2009, historian Wendy Lower saw a World War II-era photograph capturing the execution of a Ukrainian Jewish family.
What happened next: Lower spent years researching the photograph's origins and the identities of the victims, perpetrators, and photographer, constructing a compelling narrative of what happened that day.
Further reading: For another heartwrenching investigation of the atrocities committed against Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust, check out Esther Safran Foer's memoir I Want You to Know We're Still Here.
The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790 by Ritchie RobertsonWhat it is: a sweeping chronicle of the Enlightenment, the reason-based intellectual movement popularized in 17th- and 18th-century Europe that shaped contemporary Western values.
What sets it apart: Oxford professor Ritchie Robertson's well-researched revisionist history debunks common misconceptions about the "Age of Reason," including the belief that Enlightenment thinkers were dispassionate and irreligious.
The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit FoxWhat it's about: the decades-long quest to decipher Linear B, a long-lost Mycenean (c.1400 BCE) script that resurfaced in 1900 Crete.
Cracking the code: Though British architect Michael Ventris deciphered Linear B in 1952, his efforts were aided by the work of American scholar Alice Kober, who painstakingly constructed syllabic grids at her kitchen table in the 1940s but died before she was able to solve the mystery.
Who it's for: This suspenseful history will appeal to language geeks, armchair archaeologists, and puzzle addicts.
A World Without "Whom": The Essential Guide to Language in the Buzzfeed Age by Emmy J. Favillatl;dr: This witty and irreverent guide to webspeak was written by Buzzfeed copy chief and style guide creator Emmy J. Favilla.
YMMV: A World Without "Whom" offers a lighthearted ode to rule-breaking in language usage and includes quizzes, style debates, and official Buzzfeed word lists for the United States and United Kingdom.
BTW: "This is the rare style manual that is as entertaining as it is instructive" (Publishers Weekly).
A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End... by Don KulickWhat it's about: For nearly 30 years, anthropologist Don Kulick immersed himself in the culture of the tiny Papua New Guinea village of Gapun, where residents fought to preserve the dying Tayap language.
Read it for: a thought-provoking exploration of how colonialism and economic instability impact language.
Don't miss: Kulick's attempts to learn Tayap from elderly villager Raya.
Talking Back, Talking Black: Truths About America's Lingua Franca by John McWhorterWhat it is: a thought-provoking and accessible collection of essays on Black English, formerly known as Ebonics.
Topics include: Black English's origins and history (including its usage in 19th-century minstrel shows); debates surrounding its grammatical complexity and legitimacy; code-switching.
About the author: Linguist and Columbia University professor John McWhorter is the author of Words on the Move.
How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish by Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert (editors)What it is: an engaging anthology of previously published pieces exploring Yiddish language and culture in North and South America.
What's inside: recipes, comics, essays, short stories, and poetry; contributions from Emma Goldman, Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Nimoy, Michael Chabon, Liana Finck, and more.
Reviewers say: "A wonderful compilation sure to please new and old lovers of Yiddish culture, Jewish history, and linguistics" (Library Journal).
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