Precious Objects

Alicia Oltuski's first-hand account of New York City's diamond district is engrossing, even if you've never stopped to wonder how those precious stones travel from South African mines to the ring fingers of brides-to-be.  Documenting the centuries-old link between Jewish families and the diamond trade, her book blends ancient, near-ritualistic practices with the twenty-first-century practicalities of commerce.

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…