"Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings" by Alison Weir

Ignore what you think you learned about Mary's royal "talents" on Showtime's "The Tudors" Weir cuts through the centuries of salacious gossip to present this fascinating portrait of Anne's elder sister, King Henry VIII's first Boleyn mistress. (Ballantine Books, $28)

"The Swerve: How the World Became Modern" by Stephen Greenblatt

Six hundred years ago, a man discovered a dangerous ancient poem by Lucretius that stated humans should live without religious fear. Greenblatt, with tremendous narrative merits, explores how the translation and hand-copying of this poem led to the Renaissance. (Norton, $26.95)

"Memory Palace" by Mira Bartók

Incredibly poignant memoir by a woman whose youth was ravaged by her artistic, yet schizophrenic mother. (Free Press, $25)

"To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918" by Adam Hochschild

Acclaimed author Hochschild studies the horrors of World War I, particularly the war's vicious affects upon its dissenters. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28)

"Blue Nights" by Joan Didion

The powerful Didion writes with brutal candor about the death of her daughter, Quintana Roo. Beautiful and heartbreaking. (Knopf, $25)

"Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World" by Maya Jasanoff

Jasanoff takes us back to the American Revolution and, rather than celebrating with the winners, we are offered an often-overlooked glimpse into post-war life on the losing side. Thousands of loyalists had to flee to new lands, and theirs is a remarkable story of political and cultural upheaval. (Knopf, $30)

"The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy" by Priscilla Gilman

Gilman takes an unflinching and thoughtful look at life with her developmentally challenged son. (Harper, $24.99)

"Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius" by Sylvia Nasar

The author of "A Beautiful Mind" explores the evolution of economics and its affects on humankind. (Simon & Schuster, $35)

"No Biking in the House Without a Helmet" by Melissa Fay Greene

Greene, a two-time National Book Award finalist, writes charmingly of her family and their ups and downs over the years as they adopted five children from various continents. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26)

"Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir" by Oscar Hijuelos

Hijuelos describes his compelling journey from the son of Cuban immigrants to the first Latino winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (Gotham, $27.50)