(Dutton, nonfiction, $27)
What it’s about: Saul Austerlitz chronicles a behind-the-scenes look at “Friends.” He interviewed the popular NBC sitcom’s cast, creators, producers and writers members to tell the story of the show from creation to its streaming afterlife.
The buzz: “On its 25th anniversary, the show’s diehard fans will love Austerlitz’s detailed, discerning and sumptuous history,” Kirkus Reviews says.
‘Red at the Bone’ by Jacqueline Woodson
(Riverhead Books, fiction, $26)
What it’s about: Melody prepares for her 16th birthday, wearing the coming-out dress her mother never got to wear because of her teenage pregnancy. Jacqueline Woodson explores the ramifications of unplanned pregnancies on two families and the lifelong consequences of decisions made in youth.
The buzz: “Dazzling,” The Associated Press writes. “Woodson’s nuanced voice evokes the complexities of race, class, religion and sexuality in fluid prose and a series of telling details. This is a wise, powerful, and compassionate novel,” Kirkus Reviews says.
‘Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results’ by Josh Gondelman
(Harper Perennial, nonfiction, $16.99)
What it’s about: The Emmy Award-winning writer and stand-up comic celebrates a lifetime of good intentions — sometimes gone wrong — in this funny and heartfelt collection of personal essays.
The buzz: “Gondelman’s fun, witty book is a marvel of emotional depth and cutting one-liners,” Publishers Weekly says.
‘A Single Thread’ by Tracy Chevalier
(Viking, fiction, $27)
What it’s about: After the Great War claims so many young men, Violet Speedwell finds herself a “surplus woman.” She finds her tribe in a society of “broderers” — women who embroider the kneelers and cushions for Winchester Cathedral.
The buzz: “In times of grave discomfort, Tracy Chevalier offers a welcome respite in her gentle book of stitchery and manners,” a USA Today review says.
‘Sontag’ by Benjamin Moser
(Ecco, nonfiction, $39.99)
What it’s about: This definitive portrait of a towering intellectual, writer Susan Sontag, draws from hundreds of interviews and an archive of personal papers (and featuring nearly 100 images) to explore her writing, radical thought, activism and personal life.
The buzz: “A nuanced, authoritative portrait of a legendary artist,” Kirkus Reviews writes.
‘Letters from Hollywood,’ compiled by Rocky Lang and Barbara Hall
(Abrams, nonfiction, $40)
What it’s about: A movie producer and a film historian gather correspondence from “inside the private world of classic American moviemaking. Among the gems is a 17-year-old Tom Hanks, writing on notebook paper, pitching himself to director George Roy Hill, writing: “My looks are not stunning . . . but I figure if people will pay to see certain films (‘The Exorcist,’ for one) they will pay to see me.” Also: James Bond movie producer Albert Broccoli writing that United Artists “did not care for Connery feels we can do better.” Sean Connery got the job anyway.
The buzz: A movie nerd’s dream, according to AP.
‘The Grammarians’ by Cathleen Schine
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, fiction, $27)
What it’s about: Cathleen Schine’s captivating novel centers on word-obsessed identical twins. It’s also about their family and what happens as they grow older and some die.
The buzz: ”Written with the tender precision and clarity of a painting by Vermeer,” AP writes. “Schine, the best-selling author of ‘The Three Weissmanns of Westport’ and other novels, knows a thing or two about words herself.”