Open City

His previous book, Every Day is for the Thief, told the story of an expatriated Nigerian returning uncomfortably to Lagos. This time around, Teju Cole follows a German-Nigerian protagonist on long walks through Manhattan. The reader follows the trail of the walker's (and the writer's) wandering intelligence—which evokes the sentences of Naipaul and Sebald but adds its own clauses of alertness and sensitivity—with increasingly enriched attention.

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…