Transgenic animals—hybrids between two or more species—exist all around us, as mere agricultural and pharmaceutical beasts of burden. This little-noted biological frontier inspires novelist Laurence Gonzales to ponder the day when a human-bonobo mix is possible, resulting in his eponymous character, a young girl who finds herself in a storm of controversy and greed.

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…