5 books not to miss: Melinda Gates' 'The Moment of Lift,' 'Wunderland,' 'Defying Hitler'

Barbara VanDenburgh
This week's most compelling new books include Melinda Gates' "The Moment of Lift" and "Wunderland," a work of historical fiction set during WWII.
"The Moment of Lift," by Melinda Gates

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY's Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.

1. “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” Melinda Gates (Flatiron, nonfiction, on sale April 23)

What it’s about: As the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates has long been on a mission to find solutions for people in need. What’s become increasingly clear to her is that in order to lift a society up, its women must be empowered. Here, she shares her insights and the evidence of a link between women’s empowerment and societal health.

The buzz: Publishers Weekly says Gates “inspires and emboldens in this eloquently argued work.”

2. “Wunderland,” by Jennifer Cody Epstein (Crown, fiction, on sale April 23)

What it’s about: Ava, a struggling artist in 1980s New York City, never had an easy relationship with her estranged mother Ilse, who’d left her in an orphanage during the final months of WWII. When a bundle of her mother’s unsent letters arrives after her death, Ava must confront the history of a woman she never really knew in this intimate, unflinching saga of friendship, womanhood and the awful legacy of Nazi Germany.

The buzz: A starred review in Publishers Weekly calls the book a “heartbreaking historical tour de force.”

3. “A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World,” by C.A. Fletcher (Orbit, fiction, on sale April 23)

What it’s about: It’s bad form to steal a boy’s dog, doubly so after the apocalypse. There are only a few thousand people left in the world after a mysterious event leaves humanity unable to reproduce. Civilization is lost, but that doesn’t mean you can just go around stealing people’s dogs, and teenager Griz will stop at nothing to get her good girl back.

The buzz: Kirkus Reviews raves, “This un-put-down-able story has everything – a well-imagined post-apocalyptic world, great characters, incredible suspense, and, of course, the fierce love of some very good dogs."

4. “We Speak for Ourselves,” by D. Watkins (Atria, nonfiction, on sale April 23)

What it’s about: Essayist, professor and editor at large for Salon, D. Watkins shares his thought-provoking takes on race, outlining the hurdles facing black Americans, including a recollection of growing up in eastern Baltimore and his own professional rise.

The buzz: Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a strong offering that brings nuance and multiplicity to readers attempting to decipher the black male urban experience.”

5. “Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule,” by Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis (Dutton Caliber, nonfiction, on sale April 23)

What it’s about: Not every citizen was a “Good German” during the Nazi regime. “Defying Hitler” tells the stirring stories of everyday Germans who risked (and often lost) their lives fighting the Nazis.

The buzz: Publishers Weekly says the book is "an informative counterpoint to accounts of widespread German complicity with the Holocaust.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 5 books not to miss: Melinda Gates' 'The Moment of Lift,' 'Wunderland,' 'Defying Hitler'