251 pages; Twelve
Christopher Buckley's life wasn't exactly like most people's—his parents were William F. and Patricia Buckley, East Coast social and intellectual fixtures. But Losing Mum and Pup, his memoir of the year in which they both died—is universal in its evocation of loss. It's extraordinary for its clarity and, of course, its wit (Buckley has also written many comic novels, including Thank You for Smoking). "Lovely people sometimes do unlovely things," Buckley has said. But he—and we—can love them anyway.