Avid readers are always happy to tell you about the good things they've been reading, and we at The Inquirer are no different. Here's a roundup of the best new books that Inquirer staff members have read this year. Enjoy!

Lila, by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26). Marilynne Robinson's luminous new novel is the third she has set in Gilead, Iowa, with the Rev. John Ames and his longtime friend and theological sparring partner the Rev. Robert Boughton. In this National Book Award finalist, Robinson tells the story of Lila, the quiet, rough-hewn woman who married Ames late in his life. - Martha Woodall, staff writer

The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell (Random House,$30). Another bold and bravura multinarrator novel from the author of Cloud Atlas. Mitchell's interlocking characters exist in a variety of spheres, from the quotidian to the supernatural. It's an impressive juggling act and a richly rewarding read. - David Hiltbrand, TV critic

A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal, by Ben Macintyre (Crown, $27). A Spy Among Friends is a spellbinding tale of the personal relationship between Nicholas Elliott, a leader of MI6, and his close friend, Kim Philby, the British spymaster who became a Soviet mole. McIntyre's meticulous research helps the reader understand how Elliott, trained to be skeptical and circumspect, could fail to detect the ever-more-obvious signs of Philby's disloyalty. Reads like a John LeCarré spy novel. - Bill Marimow, editor

Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris, by Edmund White (Bloomsbury, $26). A memoir of midlife by the esteemed gay man of letters. White's erudition, candor, name-dropping, and dishiness make for a delicious read. - Kevin Riordan, columnist

The Seven Sins of Wall Street: Big Banks, Their Washington Lackeys, and the Next Financial Crisis, by Ben Ivry (Public Affairs, $25.99). Bloomberg reporter Bob Ivry's The Seven Sins of Wall Street showcases several years of the financial-data service's aggressive reporting on how big banks and wealthy operators rip off American consumers and businesses, subvert or ignore regulators, and get away with it. Ivry and his colleagues channel their journalistic outrage into old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting turbocharged by smart use of data. - Joseph N. DiStefano, business columnist
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel (Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95). Odds bodkins, but this extraordinary novel has a mind-blowing conceit: An amateur Shakespearean troupe tours the volatile boonies of a postapocalyptic Michigan. Civilization may have died, but the show must go on! - David Hiltbrand
Bagmen, by William Lashner (Thomas & Mercer, $14.95 paperback). If they gave a Pulitzer Prize for snappy dialogue, William Lashner would be a betting favorite every time. Bagmen is a murder mystery set in the altogether too convincingly rendered demimonde of Philly's bagmen, the political fixers. - Michael D. Schaffer,
book review editor
Boy on Ice, by John Branch (W.W. Norton, $26.95). The tragic true tale of NHL enforcer Derek Boogaard will enthrall more than hockey fans. Branch deftly details how a gentle, awkward kid from a flyspeck Saskatchewan town grew to be the NHL's most feared goon - and the terrible toll that role exacted on him. - David Hiltbrand
The Blessings, by Elise Juska (Grand Central, $24). The Blessings is an eponymous, bighearted portrait of a family from Northeast Philadelphia. The members of three generations in this large, Irish-Catholic clan are recognizable and real. - Martha Woodall
The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, By Austen Ivereigh (Henry Holt, $30). British scholar and journalist Austen Ivereigh is an unabashed fan of his subject, but his admirably thorough - if exhaustingly detailed - biography of Pope Francis is a valuable introduction to a leader who has brought a jolt of energy to the Catholic Church. - Michael D. Schaffer
Tune In: The Beatles - All These Years, Vol. 1, by Mark Lewisohn (Crown Archetype, $40). Go back to the very beginning with the Fab Five - how they grew up, how they got together, the Germany years. You really see how timing and passion and luck and talent all came together to create genius. - Michael Vitez, staff writer
Gandhi Before India, by Ramachandra Guha (Alfred A. Knopf, $35). Best account so far of the 20 years in South Africa that turned a diffident and nondescript lawyer into the Mahatma. In South Africa, faced with white prejudice against him and the fellow Indian migrants he had gone there to represent, Mohandas Gandhi summoned the resolve, found the power to move crowds, and honed the nonviolent strategy that would win back a modicum of respect for the migrants and later topple British colonial rule in India. - Porus P. Cooper,
assistant New Jersey editor
The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden (Timber Press, $25.77). The book is a smart guide for anyone interested in creating a diverse, multilayered garden that supports wildlife. Authors Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy, both Chester County residents and important voices in the national sustainability movement, suggest specific plants for every region of the country. Darke's photos prove that such landscapes can be functional and beautiful. - Virginia A. Smith, staff writer
Foreign Gods, Inc., by Okey Ndibe (Soho Press, $25). Caught between two worlds and frustrated by his lack of success in New York, a Nigerian immigrant returns home to steal the wooden statue of a local god and sell it to a Manhattan store that specializes in foreign deities. - Michael D. Schaffer
Lost for Words, by Edward St. Aubyn (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26). A sardonic send-up of literary prizes, Lost for Words is satire at its British best, in the manner of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis, sparing neither the political, social, nor literary establishments of the U.K. - Michael D. Schaffer
Operation Shakespeare: The True Story of an Elite International Sting, by John Shiffman (Simon & Schuster, $28). The world is a dangerous place, and it's even more dangerous when illegal arms traders can get hold of the American technology that makes advanced weapons systems work, and sell it to enemies of the U.S. Former Inquirer staff writer John Shiffman tells the fascinating story of one government sting designed to curb the trade. - Michael D. Schaffer
Herbie's Game, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime, $25). Junior Bender, a burglar with a complex moral code, very good taste, and a sideline solving crimes for other members of the underworld, tries to find out who murdered his mentor Herbie Lott. Hallinan's writing crackles with cleverness. - Michael D. Schaffer
The Good Luck of Right Now, by Matthew Quick (Harper, $25.99). From Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook, another look at the world through the eyes of an off-kilter protagonist. This time, it's Bartholomew Neil, who spins out his sad, sweet story in a series of letters to - of all people - Richard Gere. - Michael D. Schaffer
My Body Belongs to Me:

A Book About Body Safety, by Jill Starishevsky (Free Spirit Publishing, $12.99 Ages 3-8). Without being taught about body boundaries, a child may be too young to understand when abuse is happening - or that it's wrong. This straightforward, gentle book offers tools parents, teachers, and counselors can use to help children feel, be, and stay safe. - Erin Arvedlund, staff writer
The King, by J.R. Ward (NAL Hardcover, $27.95). The latest in J.R. Ward's addictive Black Dagger Brotherhood series of paranormal romances, featuring vampirelike warriors, focuses on Wrath, the leader of the Brothers and ruler of his people, his struggle against efforts to unseat him, and his own personal demons. - Lidija Dorjkhand, news editor
Romancing the Duke: Castle Ever After, by Tessa Dare (Avon, $7.99). Isolde Ophelia Goodnight (Izzy), orphaned and penniless, learns she has been bequeathed Gostley Castle by her godfather. However, Ransome William Dacre Vane, the reclusive Duke of Rothbury, is still in residence in the dilapidated castle. Both refuse to leave, leading to humorous and heated clashes between them. - Lidija Dorjkhand
Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel, by Ilona Andrews (Avon, $5.99). Burn for Me starts a new series by Ilona Andrews featuring magic users in an alternate present-day Houston. The fast-paced action and slow burn between the protagonists makes for an exhilarating page-turner. - Lidija Dorjkhand
Kensington Homestead, by Nic Esposito (The Head and the Hand Press, $18). Nic Esposito, who comanages Emerald Street Urban Farm in East Kensington with his wife, Elisa, has written an engaging collection of 14 essays. He chronicles his crazy adventures with killer bees and a fat alpha-hen named Mother Clucker, along with more-nuanced commentary about access to fresh food, and farm life in the middle of the city. - Virginia A. Smith
Redeployment, by Phil Klay (Penguin, $26.95). Phil Klay, a former Marine, won the 2014 National Book Award for fiction with this short-story collection. A book about war. About coming home. About surviving. About America. - Mike Newall, staff writer
Get Carter, Jack Carter's Law, Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon, by Ted Lewis (Syndicate, $14.95 each; paperback). The year's big event in international noir is the republication of the Jack Carter Trilogy by England's Ted Lewis. Few crime writers could inject menace and desperation into small talk the way Lewis did, and he had a fine eye for period detail - the Hammond organ in the bar in Get Carter, for instance. Does anything say 1960s like the cheesy warbling of a Hammond? - Peter Rozovsky, copy editor
Five Came Back: The Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, by Mark Harris (Penguin Press, $29.95). Harris' Pictures at a Revolution (2008) - on the rise of the New Hollywood, through the backstories of the five best-picture nominees of 1967 (Doctor Doolittle!) - was terrific. In Five Came Back, he follows up with five great directors - Frank Capra, George Stevens, William Wyler, John Huston, and John Ford - who left Hollywood to join the fight. As Harris says, they had the experience of privates, but the attitude of generals. There's also real courage under fire. - Richard Barron, copy editor
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel (Alfred A. Knopf, $25). This is a coming-of-age tale about a Tokyo designer of railway stations still dealing with the youthful trauma of having his friends suddenly cut him off without explanation. To break out of his subsequent alienation and find love, he realizes he needs to come to terms with the abandonment by visiting his small-town friends and finding out what happened. Murakami's novel, avoiding the surrealism of his other works, is a map of the paths we all have to navigate to reach a fulfilling adulthood. - Michael Harrington,
copy editor

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures, by Maureen Corrigan (Little, Brown, $26). Fresh Air's book reviewer focuses her academic's mind and her book-lover's ears and eyes on F. Scott Fitzgerald's lyrical masterwork, one she ranks with Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn as the great American novels. Underappreciated during the short life of its tragic author, the book was resurrected, in part, by a World War II reading program. Corrigan explains that Gatsby's many movie versions have failed because the lasting appeal derives from its language, and not its plot or characters. - Frank Fitzpatrick, sportswriter
The Burglary, by Betty Medsger (Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage Books, $29). On March 8, 1971, while America was mesmerized by the first Ali-Frazier fight, a group of Philadelphia-area antiwar activists broke into the FBI office in Media. The files they stole and subsequently released to the media revealed for the first time the dangerous and numerous excesses of J. Edgar Hoover's bureau. The author of this fascinating history, an ex-Philadelphia Bulletin reporter, doggedly chased the tale for decades, finally persuading some of the principals, including a longtime Temple professor, to come forward. - Frank Fitzpatrick
The Brothers, by Stephen Kinzer (Times Books, $30). In the decades after World War II, two aristocratic brothers had a powerful grip on America's foreign policy. John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, Eisenhower's secretary of state and CIA director, respectively, directed a fiercely anticommunist, pro-big business old boys club that single-handedly toppled democratically elected leaders in Iran and elsewhere. An intriguing examination of how an unelected elitist power structure can function in and steer a democracy. - Frank Fitzpatrick