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'Saint Anything' pursues the holy grail of adolescence: emotional honesty

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"Saint Anything: A Novel" by Sarah Dessen; Viking (418 pages, $19.99)

It's hard to imagine that anyone who reads fiction has not at some point encountered a romance that draws its protagonists from opposite ends of the economic spectrum. The rich-poor clash is one of the great themes of literature, popping up in almost every genre.

In recent ...Read more

'Loving Day' a biting commentary on race, otherness

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"Loving Day" by Mat Johnson; Spiegel & Grau (287 pages, $26)

Mat Johnson's latest novel is a bracing jolt in a troubled time, administered with ruthless wit and piercing insight. From its significant opening line -- "In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house" -- "Loving Day," about a biracial man's fumbling search for ...Read more

Allen Klein, manager of rock bands, emerges from shadows

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"Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll" by Fred Goodman; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (368 pages, $27)

When Apple introduced its new streaming music service at its annual developers conference last month in San Francisco, the tech company made sure to have the rapper Drake on hand to lend the...Read more

Paris made vividly personal

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"The Spectators" by Victor Hussenot; Nobrow Press (96 pages, $22.95)

I am a walker in the city. For me, the sidewalk is the cornerstone of urban life. In my Los Angeles neighborhood, I go days without getting in a car, walking to the bank, the dry cleaner, the grocery store, strolling the streets in the late summer evenings, watching the sky ...Read more

Richard Schickel talks about the movies of his life in 'Keepers'

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"Keepers: The Greatest Films -- and Personal Favorites -- of a Moviegoing Lifetime" by Richard Schickel; Knopf (320 pages, $26.95)

Everyone has a "hey, you really need to see this movie" list.

But when the guy with the list has been reviewing movies for 50 years, written dozens of books, palled around with and made numerous documentaries about...Read more

Etgar Keret's 'Seven Good Years' cover the time between his son's birth and father's death

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"The Seven Good Years: A Memoir" by Etgar Keret; Riverhead (172 pages, $26.95)

If I could get you to read one writer, it would be Etgar Keret.

His impossible blend of humor and tragedy, cynicism and empathy as well as big-hearted narratives that occupy the tiniest of page counts make him one of my favorites. Maybe one of yours.

"The Seven ...Read more

Milan Kundera's 'Festival of Insignificance' on being and smallness

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"The Festival of Insignificance: A Novel" by Milan Kundera, translated from the French by Linda Asher; Harper (128 pages, $23.99)

There's not much to Milan Kundera's 10th novel, "The Festival of Insignificance" -- his first work of fiction since 2000's "Ignorance" -- but then that's part of the point. Revolving around five middle-aged friends ...Read more

Review: 'Conservative Heroes' profiles 14 politicians who wanted limited role for government

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"Conservative Heroes" by Garland S. Tucker; ISI Books ($27.95, 224 pages)

President Grover Cleveland does not get a lot favorable publicity these days, if he is remembered at all.

But Garland S. Tucker III, a Raleigh, N.C., business executive, hopes to help remedy that with his new book, "Conservative Heroes." Cleveland is one of 14 American ...Read more

'All In': Is paid leave for fathers of newborns the next workplace battlefront?

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"All In: How Our Work First Culture Fails Dads, Families and Businesses, and How We Can Fix It Together" by Josh Levs; HarperOne (272 pages, $25.99)

When he was preparing to take time off after the birth of his third child in 2013, CNN correspondent Josh Levs was stunned to learn that his employer's policy entitled him to just two weeks of paid...Read more

'The Ferguson Report' offers a damning indictment

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The timing couldn't be more appropriate: Last week, barely five days after Dylann Storm Roof allegedly killed nine people at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Justice Department's "The Ferguson Report" (New Press; 174 pages, $20 paper), first made public in March, came out in book form.

What do these events have in ...Read more

'Death and Mr. Pickwick' a novel rich enough for Dickens to steal

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"Death and Mr. Pickwick" by Stephen Jarvis; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (816 pages, $30)

How can I convince you to lose yourself in first-time novelist Stephen Jarvis' magnificent, 816-page "Death and Mr. Pickwick"?

Perhaps by reminding you that "The Pickwick Papers" -- the greatest phenomenon in literary history and, during its first century, ...Read more

Vendela Vida's novel of travel, escape and shifting identity

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"The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty" by Vendela Vida; Ecco (224 pages, $25.99)

People often see travel as a way to escape their comfort zones. For others seeking to leave home, exploring unfamiliar territory becomes a source of consolation.

In Vendela Vida's latest novel, "The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty" (Ecco, 224 pages, $25.99), the main character...Read more

'President's Shadow' returns Meltzer to thriller roots

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"The President's Shadow" by Brad Meltzer; Grand Central Publishing (416 pages, $28)

History always has been a driving force of Brad Meltzer's work, from the two History Channel series he hosts, to his children's books and now in "The President's Shadow," his 10th thriller and first one in three years.

"The President's Shadow" brings back ...Read more

A slice of Turkish history: 'The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East' by Eugene Rogan

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"The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East" by Eugene Rogan; Basic Books (512 pages, $32)

Given the critical role that Turkey plays and will play in the strategic Middle East, where the United States appears to be inextricably stuck in the mire of war, Americans' understanding of it and its history is relatively weak to ...Read more

James DeVita channels Shakespeare in mystery novel 'A Winsome Murder'

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"A Winsome Murder" by James DeVita; Terrace Books (196 pages, $26.95)

In the sleepy fictional town of Winsome Bay, Wis., a woman walking her dog stumbles on a dead body. The deceased is Deborah Ellison, 23. The officer called to the scene to identify her brutally mangled corpse is her father.

So begins James DeVita's "A Winsome Murder," a ...Read more

Review: 'The Rocks' by Peter Nichols

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"The Rocks" by Peter Nichols; Riverhead (432 pages, $27.95)

On the surface, Peter Nichols' new book is precisely the sort of novel you think of as a summer read. A Mediterranean island, the gorgeous and glamorous Mallorca, graces the cover -- after one glance, you'll start planning your next vacation. The image promises heat and romance and sex...Read more

In 'Uprooted,' wizard and maiden join forces to battle evil — and grow

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"Uprooted" by Naomi Novik; Del Rey (448 pages, $25)

Calling Naomi Novik's "Uprooted" a riff on "Beauty and the Beast" doesn't begin to describe the richness, depth and sheer pleasure of this fantasy. As heroine Agnieszka learns and as Novik demonstrates over and over in this story, powerful magic flows from a combination of heart and getting ...Read more

Jonathan Kozol honors his father in memoir 'The Theft of Memory'

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"The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time" by Jonathan Kozol; Crown (320 pages, $26)

Some readers may be surprised to learn that Jonathan Kozol, the educational activist who has written about poverty and race in "Savage Inequalities" and "Rachel and Her Children," has now published a frequently heartwarming, often nostalgic ...Read more

'Let Me Die in His Footsteps' mixes folklore, supernatural in Southern novel

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"Let Me Die in His Footsteps" by Lori Roy; Dutton (336 pages, $26.95)

Desire and regret -- for love, life choices and obsession -- as palpable as the fragrant lavender fields that separate two feuding families permeate Lori Roy's third novel. Since her 2011 Edgar Award-winning debut "Bent Road," Roy has established a niche for lyrical prose in ...Read more

'The Great War of Our Time' goes inside the CIA, to a point

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"The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism -- From Al Qa'ida to ISIS" by Michael Morell, with Bill Harlow; Twelve (384 pages, $28)

In his book "The Great War of Our Time," former CIA deputy Director Michael Morell explains the blunder that led to Saddam Hussein being deposed and sent him into hiding in a spider hole.

Hussein...Read more

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