My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner

Every family has its quirks, but wait until you meet Meir Shalev's Grandma Tonia. This warm, delightful memoir by the Israeli author of the novel A Pigeon and a Boy introduces readers to an unforgettable woman whose battle with dirt mirrors the struggles she faced after emigrating from Russia to Palestine in 1923. Shalev's idiosyncratic clan is singular in its strange ways, but may yet remind you of your own meshugana mishpacha.

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.