Black Dahlia & White Rose

The prolific Joyce Carol Oates never fails to immerse us in her fiction, and in these tales her talent for exposing the darkness underlying the ordinary world proves as gripping as ever. From a noir-inflected Los Angeles to heartbreak on a maximum-security cellblock, Oates is in top form: heady and headlong reading pleasure.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

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…