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Literary Fiction

The Casual Vacancy | J. K. ROWLING: Although Rowling targeted the Harry Potter series toward children and young adults, many of us older young adults enjoyed the fantasy novels as well. The Casual Vacancy--a dark, satirical look at an English town at war with itself--is Rowling's first official "adult" novel. SEPT

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Winter of the World Book Two of the Century Trilogy | KEN FOLLETT: In Fall of Giants (*** Jan/ Feb 2011), the first in a planned trilogy, five interrelated families around the globe faced upheaval and change as World War I unfolded. Winter of the World takes them from the rise of the Third Reich through the dawn of the Atomic Age.

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This Is How You Lose Her | JUNOT DIAZ: With the Pulitzer Prizewinning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (**** SELECTION Nov/ Dec 2007), about a Dominican American family, Diaz cemented his place in the literary stratosphere. In this collection of stories, he explores the human heart--holes and all.

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NW | ZADIE SMITH: The lives of four Londoners intersect in the northwest corner of the city. As in her debut White Teeth (2000) and On Beauty (*** SELECTION Nov/Dec 2005), Smith excavates the truths, both beautiful and sordid, beneath the human connection. SEPT

Back to Blood | TOM WOLFE: Wolfe (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Bonfire of the Vanities) usually imparts a deeper, darker message in his novels as he keeps his pulse on the era. Back to Blood introduces a Cuban mayor, a sex-addiction psychiatrist, a muckraking journalist, and crack dealers (among others) navigating Miami's Biscayne Bay. OCT

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Live by Night | DENNIS LEHANE: Live by Night is the second part of Lehane's planned trilogy (after The Given Day, *** Nov/Dec 2008, which follows both a white family in Boston and a black one based in Tulsa through the turn of the last century). Now we're up to Prohibitionera America and the roaring '20s. The book has already been optioned by Warner Bros. for Leonardo DiCaprio.

OCT

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In Sunlight and in Shadow | MARK HELPRIN: Helprin, who set his acclaimed Winter's Tale (1983) in a mythic early 20th-century New York City, now explores an inspiring love affair in postwar New York, when it seemed that anything was possible. OCT

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Ancient Light | JOHN BANVILLE: Banville won the Booker Prize for The Sea (***** Jan/ Feb 2006). Here, through his protagonist...

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