Alice James

"The moral and philosophical questions that Henry wrote up as fiction and William as science," Jean Strouse writes of her subject's more famous brothers, "Alice simply lived." It took a biographer of sensitivity and brilliance to give that "simply" the profundity it deserves, and the resulting book, now reissued in the peerless NYRB Classics series, is one of the richest life stories you'll ever read.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…