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"Heaven" by Mieko Kawakami; Europa Editions (176 pages, $23) ——— About halfway through Mieko Kawakami's slim new novel, "Heaven," a confounding change occurs. The unnamed narrator, a 14-year-old boy, foreshadows the coming turn at the end of his school break: "I felt something happening in my body. Whatever I saw, whatever I thought about, no longer felt real." He is hesitant to return to ...

"Dark Shapes" by Kavita Bedford; Europa Editions (224 pages, $17) ——— Kavita Bedford's accomplished debut novel is narrated by a woman who is nameless but by no means faceless. Over the course of a year and a quarter, the 29-year-old candidly recounts key developments in her life in Sydney. She opens up her world and tells of her activities with friends and partners, her solo recreational ...

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Here are the bestsellers for the week that ended Saturday, May 29, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by NPD BookScan © 2021 NPD Group. (Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, published by PWxyz LLC. © 2021, PWxyz LLC.) HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Legacy. Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s 2. Sooley. John Grisham. Doubleday ...

"Mercury Rising" by Jeff Shesol; W.W. Norton (400 pages, $28.95) ——— "He's back," exulted the Miami News when John Glenn emerged from Friendship 7 after orbiting the Earth three times. America, the Miami Herald implied, was back, as well. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung agreed: The free world need "no longer stare as if hypnotized at Soviet space successes with pricks of doubt in their ...

"Should We Stay or Should We Go" by Lionel Shriver; Harper (288 pages, $26.99) ——— The new novel from Lionel Shriver, "Should We Stay or Should We Go," starts out seeming rather claustrophobic and grim. In Chapter 1, we meet a British couple named Cyril and Kay Wilkinson, both just past 50, he a doctor, she a nurse. Having just buried Kay's dad at the end of a miserable period of dementia and ...

“Eartha & Kitt: A Daughter’s Love Story in Black & White” by Kitt Shapiro and Patricia Weiss Levy; Pegasus Books (288 pages, $26.95) ——— Eartha Kitt may not have had nine lives, but she came close. First, she was a dirt-poor girl from North, South Carolina. Then she became a nightclub sensation, a muse to Orson Welles, a slinky recording artist, TV’s Catwoman, a political firebrand, and, ...

"Bitterroot Lake" by Alicia Beckman; Crooked Lane (336 pages, $27.99) ——— Alicia Beckman, who writes two charming, award-winning cozy series, takes a decidedly harder edge in the highly entertaining “Bitterroot Lake,” mixing mystery with touches of the paranormal. Grief-stricken over her husband’s recent death, Sarah McCaskill Cater agrees to return to her hometown of Deer Park, Montana, at ...

Eric Carle wrote books that refuse to stay on the shelf. In bookstores, of course, his titles have vanished from shelves for decades, whisked off in the millions by parents and grandparents, by aunts and uncles and teachers. Anyone who needs a present for a young child or baby knows you cannot go wrong with “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” or (my ...

Not so long ago, probably on one of those dark-gray nights when the rain sounds like a persistent solicitor tap-tap-tapping at your door, a reader emailed me with a question: Could I recommend a good, noirish mystery novel set in the Pacific Northwest? Knowing that the reading power of a crowd is far better than that of an individual (and also being very good at dodging hard questions, like a ...

Singer Sinéad O’Connor is almost as famous for ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II in 1992 while guest hosting “Saturday Night Live” as she is for her music. The world was scandalized, though in later years she proved to have been ahead of her time by explaining she had been protesting sexual abuse by clergy. “Holy Terror,” proclaimed the next day’s New York Daily News front page. The ...

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"The Plot" by Jean Hanff Korelitz; Celadon Books (336 pages, $28) ——— “Where did you get the idea for your book?” If you’ve ever been to an author event or a book signing, you’ve heard that question. If you’re a published author, you’ve heard it many, many times. For some authors, it’s welcome and flattering. For others, it provokes an inner eye roll. But the follow-up can make authors ...

Here are the bestsellers for the week that ended Saturday, May 22, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by NPD BookScan © 2021 NPD Group. (Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, published by PWxyz LLC. © 2021, PWxyz LLC.) HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Sooley. John Grisham. Doubleday 2. 21st Birthday. Patterson/Paetro. ...

"Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty" by Patrick Radden Keefe; Doubleday (560 pages, $32.50) ——— Long before the coronavirus pandemic, the United States was in the midst of a public health emergency that had killed hundreds of thousands of people over the last 25 years. And it hasn’t gone away. Indeed, during the pandemic, deaths from drug overdoses surged — up 26% over ...

“Swimming to Freedom: My Escape From China and the Cultural Revolution” by Kent Wong; Harry N. Abrams (320 pages, $26) ——— China was in chaos. For a decade, Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution deliberately smashed society to bits. People were sent away for brutal re-education. Others simply disappeared. The country was destroying itself, and for many, only one hope remained: Getting out. ...

'The Other Passenger' By Louise Candlish Every day, a group of commuters booze at the bar on a Thames ferry as they shuttle back and forth to their jobs in London. This little group is connected “by [their] childlessness” and their “freedom to put [themselves] before everyone else.” They’re self-indulgent and narcissistic. They’re Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, Ross and Rachel if Gillian Flynn or ...

PHILADELPHIA — From the very first death-penalty appeal he worked on, Marc Bookman came to understand how crucial writing can be in life-and-death matters. The verdict form was missing a single "s" — an error that changed the meaning of the verdict enough to overturn the sentence. The case also left him with a sense that the entire system of capital punishment can be arbitrary and even absurd, ...

'The Guide' By Peter Heller Peter Heller’s riveting thriller is set in the American wilderness, but the threats gathering around Jack, the young fishing guide of the title, come from man, not nature. Jack has been hired by a fishing club in Colorado that caters to wealthy clients. His job: Carry gear, find trout, chat up guests and do whatever he can to make them happy. But after he arrives at ...

Steven Rogers’ new book, “A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community” begins with what he considers the three most descriptive newspaper headlines of 2020: “Breonna Taylor Was Shot and Killed by Police in her Own Home,” “Ahmaud Arbery: Father and Son Charged with Murder of U.S. Black Jogger,” and “George Floyd’s Death Was Murder.” A plea ...

PHILADELPHIA — Fact and fiction become partners in "The Devil May Dance," a new novel by Philly's Jake Tapper that the CNN anchor set in the Rat Pack world of early 1960s Hollywood. In the sequel to Tapper's 2018 bestseller, "The Hellfire Club," the fictional New York congressman Charlie Marder and his zoologist wife, Margaret, find themselves on the West Coast, mixing it up with Frank ...

Here are the bestsellers for the week that ended Saturday, May 15, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by NPD BookScan © 2021 NPD Group. (Reprinted from Publishers Weekly, published by PWxyz LLC. © 2021, PWxyz LLC.) HARDCOVER FICTION 1. Sooley. John Grisham. Doubleday 2. While Justice Sleeps. Stacey Abrams. ...

"The Breaker" by Nick Petrie; Putnam (400 pages, $27) ——— A major strength of Nick Petrie’s series about former Marine Peter Ash is how his character deals with — and moves past — his post-traumatic claustrophobia, the “white static” that has compelled him to sleep outside and be on the move. Petrie’s insightful exploration of the complicated and compassionate Peter, who had tours in Iraq and ...

Meeting the moment has paid off big time for Leslie Jordan. The pint-sized actor, known for flamboyant TV roles in “Will & Grace,” “American Horror Story” and “The Cool Kids,” is now a New York Times bestselling author with his new book, “How Y’all Doing? Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived.” Released by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins on April 27, the compact ...

"On Juneteenth" by Annette Gordon-Reed; Liveright (128 pages, $15.95) ——— The first friend I made when I moved from Florida to the Twin Cities in 1987 was a woman from Doucette, Texas. Laverne, like me, was a Black woman who'd traded the South's warmth and lushness for the cold, austere beauty of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. But we were often homesick and attended events that reminded us of home. ...

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