The Black Count

As thrilling as any of Alexandre Dumas's novels (think The Count of Monte Cristo or The Three Musketeers) is the story of his father, a mixed race man brought from Haiti to France in bondage who eventually commanded 50,000 men in Napoleon's army. Tom Reiss immortalizes a swashbuckling hero who defied attitudes towards race and only stumbled when his boldness threatened the Emperor himself.

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…