Tolkien by Raymond Edwards (Robert Hale, 256 pages, January 1)
This latest biography of the legendary writer and Oxford don draws on a large store of posthumous material and focuses on Tolkien's writing in terms of his academic career and interests. You'll want to check out this new exploration of a writer who had an "astonishing imaginative life."
No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead by Peter Richardson (St. Martin's Press, 384 pages, January 20)
You may not believe it, but the Grateful Dead is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Perfect time for a book, no? In No Simple Highway, Richardson "argu[es] that the band successfully tapped three powerful utopian
ideals—for ecstasy, mobility, and community—[and] it also shows how the Dead's
lived experience with these ideals struck deep chords with two
generations of American youth and continues today."