Red Plenty

Noted for his free-wheeling and eclectic nonfiction,  Francis Spufford offers a debut novel that brilliantly displays his researcher's talents along with a new flair for science-fictional world-building. Painting a vivid portrait of the near-mythic 1950s period of the Soviet Empire, when the planned economy seemed seemed likely to outpace capitalism's free market, Spufford conjures up a deluded Russian era when ideological wishful thinking became state policy.

April 16: ""Blue pottery vases and bowls for flowers are most attractive, and certain blue books...will repeat and emphasize color."

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…