Matt Haig offers people with depression 'Reasons to Stay Alive'

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"Reasons to Stay Alive" by Matt Haig; Penguin (272 pages, $15)

Matt Haig suffered months of depression and anxiety so crippling that he stood on the edge of a cliff, trying to summon the wherewithal to throw himself off.

"The weird thing about depression," Haig writes in "Reasons to Stay Alive," is "the fear of death remains the same. The only...Read more

'Paul McCartney: The Life' offers thorough account of ex-Beatle

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"Paul McCartney: The Life" by Philip Norman; Little, Brown (853 pages, $32)

Behind the double thumbs-up, impish smile and round, half-moon eyes lies a Paul McCartney more complex than public perception lends itself to.

As biographer Philip Norman writes in "Paul McCartney: The Life," McCartney is more than just the "cute Beatle" thumping away ...Read more

Review: 'A Few of the Girls' by Maeve Binchy

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"A Few of the Girls" by Maeve Binchy; Alfred A. Knopf (319 pages, $26.95)

Irish writer Maeve Binchy's gift was to create, sometimes in just a few brisk sentences, ordinary-people characters who quickly endear themselves to the reader. Often they're about to stumble upon an experience that will change their outlook on life in some way. A short ...Read more

'The Arm' by Jeff Passan explores why pitching is all out of joint

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"The Arm" by Jeff Passan; Harper (357 pages, $27)

The numbers are staggering.

Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion annually on salaries for pitchers. That is five times more than the combined salaries of all the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. There are six pitchers who will be earning more than $30 million for one season's ...Read more

Don Delillo thoughtfully explores death and cryonics in 'Zero K'

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"Zero K" by Don Delillo; Scribner (288 pages, $27)

In Don Delillo's new novel, "Zero K," words have come unattached from the things they mean. The title indicates the temperature zero Kelvin, best known as absolute zero. But in the story, Zero K is an elite level of cryogenics, and even the scientists who work there admit it's not actually part...Read more

Review: 'Walking the Nile' by Levison Wood

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"Walking the Nile" by Levison Wood; Atlantic Monthly Press (338 pages, $26)

In becoming the first person to walk the Nile River's length of more than 4,000 miles, explorer and ex-British soldier Levison Wood does more than cross footsteps with noted Victorian predecessors such as David Livingstone and Richard Burton.

He also traces a nine-...Read more

'The Science of Growth': What Facebook knew, but Friendster didn't

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"The Science of Growth: How Facebook Beat Friendster -- and How Nine Other Startups Left the Rest in the Dust" by Sean Ammirati; St. Martin's Press (256 pages, $27.99)

With more than 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S. and $128 billion in global venture capital money raised in 2015, the demand for product management guidance is in full swing. ...Read more

Review: 'Extreme Prey' by John Sandford

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"Extreme Prey" by John Sandford; G.P. Putnam's Sons (406 pages, $29)

Detective Lucas Davenport has retired from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but he isn't slowing down -- and neither does the action in this fast-paced thriller. The plot certainly is topical: During the presidential primaries, a candidate hears a rumor that ...Read more

'The Girl from Home' is a solid economic thriller

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"The Girl from Home" by Adam Mitzner; Gallery (336 pages, $26)

The recent economic downturn -- and financial scandals -- have also ushered in a new wave of economic thrillers in which hedge funds and stock trading provide a background for more dastardly deeds.

Adam Mitzner wisely uses this background as a start to explore the maturation of a ...Read more

'Sayonara Slam' intertwines baseball, WWII aftermath

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"Sayonara Slam" by Naomi Hirahara; Prospect Park Books (280 pages, $16)

In a genre in which unusual amateur sleuths are the norm, Mas Arai is in a class by himself. An 80-something gardener who was born in America but whose parents returned to Japan, Mas survived Hiroshima and can't understand the modern world in which he lives. He'd much ...Read more

'67 Shots' dispels myths about shooting of Kent State students in 1970

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"67 Shots: Kent State and the End of American Innocence" by Howard Means; Da Capo Press (288 pages, $25.99)

Responding to widespread campus protests against the Vietnam War, Gov. Ronald Reagan of California offered an easy solution. "If it takes a bloodbath" to end it, he suggested on April 8, 1970, "let's get it over with, no more appeasement....Read more

Book review: Joshua Hammer's 'The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu'

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"The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu" by Joshua Hammer; Simon & Schuster (288 pages, $26)

Joshua Hammer's narrative of Abdel Kader Haidara's effort to save thousands of priceless manuscripts dating back centuries is so much more than a story of a rescue effort.

There's an urgency to the story that unfolded in modern times, reaching its climax ...Read more

In Jane Hamilton's new novel, an extraordinary family faces the future

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"The Excellent Lombards" by Jane Hamilton; Grand Central (288 pages, $26)

The Wisconsin apple orchard that belongs to the Lombard family in Jane Hamilton's hypnotic new novel is a beacon for the nostalgic and the hopeful, those who nurse their memories carefully and tend to them the way the Lombards care for their trees, their sheep, even their...Read more

Augusten Burroughs' memoir about a hapless Love Life Lacks His Usual Humor

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"Lust & Wonder: A Memoir" by Augusten Burroughs; St. Martin's Press (304 pages, $26.99)

Since breaking out in 2002 with "Running With Scissors," Augusten Burroughs has kept the best-selling memoirs coming, tapping the seemingly bottomless market of those willing to buy tickets to someone else's catastrophes.

There may not be tons of people who...Read more

Miami author bakes her way through life

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"Life without a Recipe" by Diana Abu-Jaber; Norton (272 pages, $26.95)

Diana Abu-Jaber has spent years carving out a life as a successful writer, struggling to reconcile the competing voices in her head, one from a tough-minded German grandmother and the other from her exuberant Arab father.

Through it all, she baked. Cookies and cakes, tarts ...Read more

'Poisonous' reveals toxic teen Internet culture

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"Poisonous" by Allison Brennan; Minotaur (368 pages, $25.99)

The poison that seeps through a town and decimates a family starts with a teenager's penchant for Internet bullying in Allison Brennan's well-plotted "Poisonous."

Ivy Lake's venom almost ruined the lives of several teenagers, possibly pushed the family of one teen to move and, ...Read more

Book review: Martha Hall Kelly's 'Lilac Girls'

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"Lilac Girls" by Martha Hall Kelly; Ballantine Books (496 pages, $26)

Martha Hall Kelly stumbled on the idea that would lead to her debut novel, "Lilac Girls," when she decided to take a tour of the Bellamy-Ferriday house and garden in Bethlehem, Conn.

The historic home got the Bellamy part of its name from a reverend who gained fame through ...Read more

'Orson Welles: One-Man Band' shows boy genius alone again, naturally

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"Orson Welles, Volume 3: One-Man Band" by Simon Callow; Viking (496 pages, $40)

Most of what's written about Orson Welles -- the Kenosha, Wis.-born giant of theater, radio and movies -- centers on his boy-genius period.

You know: the cherubic face with the wicked grin who, by the age of 26, rewrote the rules on Broadway, destroyed the world ...Read more

'26 Songs in 30 Days': How Woody Guthrie wrote those great songs — for $266

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"26 Songs in 30 Days" by Greg Vandy, with Daniel Person; Sasquatch Books (208 pages, $24.95)

Woody Guthrie, the great populist singer-songwriter from Oklahoma and formative inspiration for Bob Dylan, spent time in the Northwest and also wrote "Roll On, Columbia" in honor of the river that divides Washington and Oregon.

But most probably don't ...Read more

Review: 'Miller's Valley' by Anna Quindlen

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"Miller's Valley" by Anna Quindlen; Random House (257 pages, $28)

When society's volume seems cranked to 11, there's something to be said about a quiet book. Understated almost to a fault, Anna Quindlen's eighth novel pulls together themes of rural life, Vietnam, mental illness, eminent domain, abortion and ambition in prose that never shouts, ...Read more


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