A sad-sack scholar makes misery his life's work by surveying Americans on their brooding tendencies. Along the way, of course, he hits a few bumps in the road. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24)

"A Moment in the Sun" by John Sayles

Filmmaker Sayles zeroes in on the late 1890s with this crackling saga that is sharp with historical detail and loaded with character. (McSweeney's, $29)

"1Q84" by Haruki Murakami, translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel

Yet another multilayered work of astonishing imagination from one of Japan's greatest authors. (Knopf, $30.50)

"The Pale King: An Unfinished Novel" by David Foster Wallace

This breathtaking work of biting dialogue and fearless philosophy is a fitting final climax for the late Wallace. (Little, Brown and Company, $27.99)

"The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes

Bah humbug! The author of "Arthur & George" returns with a psychological thriller in which a middle-aged man is haunted by the ghosts of his past. (Knopf, $23.95)

"America Pacifica" by Anna North

In this harrowing novel, a young woman copes with life in a dystopian Ice Age future. (Reagan Arthur Books, $24.99)

"The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady" by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

An amusing, dark novel in which an older woman seeks revenge after discovering a doctor once gave her a radioactive cocktail as a 1950s experiment. (Doubleday, $25.95)

"I Married You for Happiness" by Lily Tuck

A new widow reminisces about her life and love with her late husband. Sweet, tender and compelling. (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24)

"Solace" by Belinda McKeon

A father and son struggle to make sense of their fraught relationship. Set in Ireland, this lush tale of family strife is a wonderful debut. (Scribner, $24)

"Volt: Stories" by Alan Heathcock

If gloom is your cup of tea, here is the perfect blend. Murder and mayhem charge this electrifying collection. (Graywolf Press, $15)

"Once Upon a River" by Bonnie Jo Campbell