This year is the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven and it seems appropriate to mark that somehow, given RAW's interest in the composer.
There is a major new book about to be released in the United States: Beethoven: A Life in Nine Pieces by Laura Tunbridge, and as you can tell from the title, it presents the composer by focusing on nine of his works: Septet, Opus 20; Violin sonata No. 9, the "Kreutzer"; the Third Symphony; the Choral Fantasy; the song "An die Geliebte" WoO 140; the opera "Fidelio;" the "Hammerklavier" piano sonata; "Missa Solemnis" and String Quartet No. 13 and the "Grosse Fuge." It's not a greatest hits survey, although many of the pieces are well known, but the use of a wide variety of pieces to illuminate a life.
This is an interesting approach, one more likely to get me to read another Beethoven book than just another biography, and Tunbridge's book is getting really good notices; for example, you can read the review from the Guardian, which mentions a couple of other new Beethoven books which might be of interest. Tunbridge is an Oxford music professor, but this is a book apparently aimed at wide audience, i.e. dunderheads like me, as opposed to folks like Eric Wagner who are comfortable with technical music analysis.