Sourcing from eight periodicals specifically devoted to the antislavery cause, Lyrical Liberators (Ohio University Press) is the first comprehensive collection of American antislavery poems from 1831 to the abolition of slavery in 1865. Monica Pelaez ’97, the editor, likens poetry in the antebellum period to social media today, with abolitionist poets like celebrities championing their cause to a wide audience. 

The novel The Book of Essie (Knopf), by Meghan MacLean Weir ’00, follows Esther Hicks, who has grown up as a reality TV star in a show about her family. Her father, a Christian pastor who is loved and hated for his teachings, finds out on her 17th birthday that she is pregnant. Essie, her family, and the show’s producers must decide what to do about the pregnancy, while Essie attempts to free herself from the fame she grew up with.

Robin Williams’ smart humor masked self-doubt, long struggles with addiction, and depression, as Dave Itzkoff ’98 shows in Robin (Henry Holt). In his biography of the comedian, Itzkoff draws on more than 100 interviews with family and friends to present a fresh perspective on Williams’ life.