Flyover Lives: A Memoir
By Diane Johnson
(Viking Adult, $27)

We might make fun of our own families, but that doesn’t mean we like others to do so. So when acclaimed writer Diane Johnson heard a French friend ridicule Americans for their indifference to history, Johnson took notice. However, she realized she could not take exception given her own faint knowledge of the family tree. The j’accuse launched Johnson on this poignant exploration of her roots, from France to New England to her hometown of Moline, Ill. She comes to admire how her ancestors struggled so mightily to establish Midwestern ties — even if they’re the same ones Johnson found so binding and sought to escape.