The best books of 2016 are now even more portable.

By EW Staff
May 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM EDT
Mettie Ostrowski for EW

This bold crop of fresh lit includes a novel set deep in Kentucky, historical fiction that begins in 18th-century Ghana, and a bio of rich girl turned-revolutionary Patty Hearst. Check out spring’s brightest stories, below:

The Nix by Nathan Hill

In The Nix—EW’s No. 1 novel of 2016— a listless adjunct at a Midwestern college spends his days playing Elfscape and trying not to think about the mother who abandoned him. When she suddenly reemerges, the story surges, ricocheting from sleepy ’80s suburbia to the 1968 DNC riots and from WWII-era Norway to post-9/11 Iraq. Order it here.

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

When a recovering alcoholic accidentally shoots and kills his neighbor’s 5-year-old son, he and his wife— after consulting the tribal sweat lodge— gift the grieving family with their own 5-year-old, LaRose. Order it here.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi’s lyrical debut novel traces the fates of two half sisters born villages apart in 18th century Ghana. From their twined bloodlines spring slaves and warriors, sharecroppers and coal miners, jazz singers and junkies and Ph.D. students—each one brought vividly to life in sequential chapters. Order it here.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Danler’s exquisite coming-of-age novel about a young woman who moves to New York and gets a job at a famed restaurant is like a luxurious glass of wine: We can describe it all we want, but you just need to taste it for yourself. Order it here.

Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore

New Yorker staff writer Lepore recounts her search for the long-lost longest book ever written: a century-old manuscript by madman and scholar Joe Gould called The Oral History of Our Time. As she sifts through archives, scraps, diaries, and letters, Lepore dives into Gould’s world, ultimately unearthing many of his secrets. Order it here.

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

The author of The Run of His Life — made into the FX series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story — explores the kidnapping and radicalization of Patty Hearst. Order it here.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Lonely and awkward, 14-year-old Evie tumbles into the swirling counterculture cauldron of late-’60s California, finding communion with a crew of flower children and misfits on a remote Sonoma County ranch. Order it here.

Enter Helen by Brooke Hauser

This bio of Helen Gurley Brown—the author of Sex and the Single Girl, who went on to transform Cosmopolitan magazine—is every bit as brash and racy as the legendary editor herself. Order it here.

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

Morgan unspools a sprawling and distinctly Southern novel about a wealthy Kentucky horse-racing dynasty, set against a backdrop of prejudice and poverty. Order it here.

Patient H.M. by Luke Dittrich

If you liked The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, you’ll be fascinated by this history of brain surgery, which is refracted through the case of a man known only as H.M., an epileptic turned into an amnesiac by a disastrous lobotomy in 1953. Order it here.

This article originally appeared in the May 19, 2017 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Pick it up on stands today or subscribe online at