• Wild, Cheryl Strayed: This true account of Strayed’s attempt to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail isn’t just another outdoor adventure; it’s a refreshingly honest take on grief, growing up and moving on.
• Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Maria Semple: Humor is sadly underrated when readers and critics hand out accolades, but few novels will make you laugh aloud the way Semple’s satiric take on a disintegrating Seattle family does.
• Canada, Richard Ford: A teenage boy leaves Montana and his family’s troubled past for Saskatchewan — and more trouble — in Ford’s noir masterpiece.
• Elsewhere, Richard Russo: In this memoir, the author of Empire Falls, The Risk Pool and Nobody’s Fool recalls life with his demanding mother.
• Dear Life, Alice Munro: The master of the short story returns — and wows us all over again with her lyricism and insight.
• House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East, Anthony Shadid: The New York Times journalist’s story about attempting to rebuild his family home in Lebanon was made all the more poignant by Shadid’s death in February from an acute asthma attack while reporting on the Syrian conflict.
• Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, David Quammen: Forget Justin Cronin’s scary vampires in The Twelve. Quammen’s quest to learn more about where pandemics begin — and where they might strike next — is the true stuff of nightmares.
Connie Ogle is The Miami Herald’s book editor.