The Information

From birth announcements carried by drum in 19th-century Africa to the invention of the idea of the "bit" by a Bell Labs researcher, James Gleick -- the author of cerebral yet addictive works such as Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman and Chaos: Making a New Science -- charts the ocean of data we are now struggling to navigate.

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…