Amazon's 2011 Best Books of the Year So Far show that World War II still makes for popular reading. Three of the books on the list take readers back to the era and explore it from different angles.
Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff
Zuckoff's non-fiction account, released in April, takes the top spot. What was supposed to be a sightseeing flight over the valley of Shangri-La in then-called Dutch New Guinea ended up as a plane crash with only three survivors.
The Tiger's Wife: A Novel by Téa Obreht
Released in March, Obreht's debut novel is about a young doctor who is on a mission of mercy at a seaside orphanage. Obreht spins a tale of such marvel and magic in a literary voice so enchanting that the mesmerizing reader wants her never to stop, Entertainment Weekly wrote in their book review.
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson
Released in May, Larson's narrative non-fiction account is about William E. Dodd, a professor who became the first American ambassador in Hitler's Germany. Dodd served from 1933 to 1937, when he resigned after finally coming to witness the atrocious acts committed and realizing the ideologies that had spread.
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
Hamilton is the owner of the popular New York City restaurant Prune. Before that, she worked her way through various kitchens, searching for meaning and fulfillment. This book is her memoir of those kitchens, which spanned the globe and came with a variety of customs. The book was released in May.
The Tragedy of Arthur: A Novel by Arthur Phillips
Phillips' novel, published in April, is about a brother, his sister, and their imprisoned, con-artist father who gives them what he says is an unknown play of William Shakespeare's called The Tragedy of Arthur. Their father begs them to make sure it gets published.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Fey's memoir, published in April, chronicles the comedic actress and writer's early years, her start in comedy, her time at Saturday Night Live, and more.
22 Britannia Road: A Novel by Amanda Hodgkinson
Hodgkinson's first novel, set at the end of World War II, is about a married couple's post-war reunion. The husband, Janusz, escaped Poland at the beginning of the war and went to England. His wife, Silvana, hid for years in the forests of Poland with their young son. They are completely different people when reunited, with secrets that could tear them apart.
Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S. J. Watson
Watson's novel is about a woman, Christine, who wakes up every morning without her memory after an accident. Her doctor encourages her to keep a diary. She becomes alarmed when she realizes she has advised herself to keep away from her husband. The novel was published in June.
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
Foer's first book, published in March, explores memorization and his learning of ancient memory techniques used by medieval scholars and historical figures such as Cicero. He eventually became a finalist in the U.S. Memory Championships.
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
Originally published in Korea, Shin's novel's English-language debut is about two children and their father who are searching for the children's mother. It is told from all four of their perspectives.