As a reminder, books listed on a post titled "to read" are not books I have read but books whose listings I have come across and that sound interesting. Thus, they are "to read."
The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander
Titillating mysteries keep the pages of Alexander's stunning debut novel of the Romanov family turning until the last. He sets his tale in the Siberian house where the erstwhile royal family was held captive attended by a small household staff, including a kitchen boy. Mikhail, a Russian immigrant to America, narrates the story that eventually offers intriguing answers to the question of his own identity, the location of the family jewels, and the kitchen boy's fate. USA Today raves, "Ingenious . . . keeps readers guessing through the final pages."Sudden Noises from Inanimate Objects by Christopher Miller
A brilliant conceit! A virtuoso performance! Author! Author! Christopher Miller has written a hilarious novel in the form of liner notes. This book is ostensibly the text that accompanies the four-CD set that represents the only recordings of Simon Silber. Silber was a nutter (though his hour-long minute waltz was something to hear), and his pretentious biographer can't stand him, which only makes the details of his life and art more fun. The musically inclined must not miss this devastatingly clever riff on writing about music and musicians.The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda said it best when he wrote that MacCulloch's book is not "a history" as the subtitle suggests, but "the history." There is no other book that comes close to approaching the scope and elgance and relevance of this one. The rift that separated Protestant from Catholic in 16th-century Europ has haped modern Europe, and the challenges the people encountered then are familiar now—struggles with Islam, the rise of fanaticism, and clashes between church and state. A compelling, elegant read.The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-up by Dan Zevin
A hilarious memoir of becoming an adult. Each chapter is a confession ("I played golf." "I am a figure of authority." "I take pride in my lawn.") in which Zevin reflects on how, almost without realizing it was happening, he went from a hip, free-wheeling slacker to a responsible suburban husband.