Kevin Powers' book recommendations

Kevin Powers' first novel, The Yellow Birds, was a National Book Award finalist. In his second, A Shout in the Ruins, the Iraq combat veteran unspools an epic story of the South, rooted in war and a slaveholding Virginia plantation.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $16).

Ruth and Lucille, the sisters at the center of Robinson's 1980 novel, exhibit those strange, contradictory yearnings many of us share: for home and stability, but also for freedom from all of our unasked-for...

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