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"State of Terror" by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny; Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press (494 pages, $30) ——— When politicians write novels, I usually try to avoid reviewing them. With a handful of exceptions, my critical response to such books has been: “Don’t quit your day job.” "State of Terror" is a big, turbocharged, breathtaking exception: It’s one of the best political thrillers ...

At age 38, with a toddler son and a thickening waistline, Katherine May makes the decision to hike the 630-mile South West Coast Path in England, a rugged trail that "clings as close to this island's crinkled edge as possible; so close, in fact, that chunks of it regularly fall into the sea." She will hike in stages, she decides, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. She will finish before ...

NONFICTION: The many contradictions of Oscar Wilde are captured in this captivating biography. "Oscar Wilde: A Life" by Matthew Sturgis; Alfred A. Knopf (864 pages, $40) ——— If Oscar Wilde had behaved himself, he would be little remembered today. His poetry has been mostly forgotten; his witty plays are a staple of the community theater circuit, but they don't achieve the high watermark of ...

FICTION: A discovery in an old trunk leads to a life-changing trip. "Sankofa" by Chibundu Onuzo; Catapult (304 pages, $26) ——— Chibundu Onuzo's third novel, "Sankofa," opens in a voice and style that are unfamiliar — at least to this reader of her previous novels. The writing is clipped and mostly stripped of excess. Because the story is told from the first-person point of view — the ...

FICTION: A profoundly affecting story of the lives upended when a man loses his ability to communicate clearly. "Lean Fall Stand" by Jon McGregor; Catapult (288 pages, $26) ——— The novels of British author Jon McGregor are distinguished by their enlightening perceptions of both human nature and Mother Nature, and by their restrained prose, as potent as it is subtle. His latest, "Lean Fall ...

FICTION: The four amateur sleuths from the "Thursday Murder Club" return to solve another mystery. "The Man Who Died Twice" by: Richard Osman; Pamela Dorman Books (368 pages, $26) ——— Last year, BBC quiz show presenter Richard Osman swapped broadcasting for fiction-writing and delighted crime novel aficionados with his debut mystery. "The Thursday Murder Club" introduced four senior citizens ...

Her new book, "The Beatryce Prophecy," sprang from a rediscovered draft that she had abandoned after the death of her beloved mother. MINNEAPOLIS — In August 2018, Kate DiCamillo was in the office of her Minneapolis home, sorting through a decade's worth of old papers and manuscripts, when she happened upon a stunning discovery — the first 40 pages of a long-abandoned, long-forgotten novel. ...

"Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol," a series that premiered on Peacock last week featuring ace symbologist Robert Langdon, represents another high point in the lucrative career of one of the bestselling mystery authors of all time. But it also serves as a clue in someone else's quest — that of his ex-wife, Blythe Brown. The show is among several projects embroiled in a court battle over the ...

NONFICTION: A keenly observed memoir about the author's arduous travels in search of himself. "Saga Boy" by Antonio Michael Downing; Milkweed Editions (344 pages, $25) ——— "You can only become the person you always were," Antonio Michael Downing writes in "Saga Boy: My Life of Blackness and Becoming," a rich memoir about how far some folks have to travel just to arrive where they began. In ...

Time for a new paperback? Here are six fresh-off-the-press possibilities; a little mystery-heavy (hey, it's almost fall), but something for everyone. "Snow" by John Banville (Hanover Square Press, $16.99). For years, the Irish novelist Banville has written a series of crackling mystery novels under the name of Benjamin Black — but this whodunit, set in 1950s Ireland, is under his own name. ...

FICTION: A French teenager rises to become the formidable prioress of an English convent. "Matrix" by Lauren Groff; Riverhead (272 pages, $28) ——— Lauren Groff has been contemplating the wellspring of female power in her fiction for awhile now, notably in the startling second act of her novel "Fates and Furies," but also in the humid shadows of her story collection "Florida." Where does power ...

Not much happens in R.C. Sherriff's "The Fortnight in September," and that quietness is part of the novel's immense charm. The English seaside town of Bognar Regis is where the Stevens family always spends their late-summer vacation, swimming, eating, chatting, strolling the promenade, playing games in the arcade. But this time there is an unspoken sense that it might be the last such ...

FICTION: The author of "Normal People" returns with another perceptive novel about relationships. "Beautiful World, Where Are You" by Sally Rooney; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (368 pages, $28) ——— Sally Rooney's "Normal People" was a masterful depiction of first love. Readers of the Irish author's second novel — and, later, viewers of the acclaimed Hulu series — followed Marianne and Connell ...

FICTION: A simple desire to call a space her own creates conflict in the life of a woman in modern London. "Three Rooms" by Jo Hamya; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (208 pages, $25) ——— If, as Virginia Woolf once argued, a woman needs money and a room of her own, what does she do when neither is available to her? How can she be her own person if the only jobs available pay minimum wage and rents ...

FICTION: A third compulsively readable whodunit from the author of "The Girl on the Train." "A Slow Fire Burning" by Paula Hawkins; Riverhead (320 pages, $28) ——— Early one Sunday morning on a quiet stretch of London's Regent's Canal, Miriam makes a grisly discovery. In the houseboat next to hers lies the bloodied body of a young man. He has been stabbed repeatedly and, as a finishing touch, ...

FICTION: A masterful retelling of a classical myth featuring a memorable heroine. "The Women of Troy: A Novel" by Pat Barker; Doubleday (304 pages, $28) ——— Pat Barker's 2018 novel "The Silence of the Girls" marked both a late-career high and an intriguing change of direction for the Booker Prize-winning author. Instead of playing to her strengths and serving up another depiction of innocent ...

NONFICTION: The first biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 30 years reminds readers of her significance, both in poetry and in politics. "Two-Way Mirror" by Fiona Sampson; W.W. Norton (320 pages, $27.95) ——— Today British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning is remembered mostly for her love poetry — her line, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," written for her lover and eventual ...

"Yours Cheerfully" continues the story of Emmy Lake, the plucky narrator of A.J. Pearce's 2018 debut novel, "Dear Mrs. Bird." In that book, Emmy had hoped to become a war correspondent but instead landed a part-time job opening mail for an advice columnist at a women's magazine. There, she secretly responded to the letters that Mrs. Bird, the columnist, rejected — with disastrous results. In ...

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh's first book revealed who he was and where he came from. "When Skateboards Will be Free" (2009) was a candid, clear-eyed memoir of what he called his "political childhood," namely his years spent growing up in Pittsburgh and being force-fed the socialist dogma of an Iranian-born father and American Jewish mother. His next book showed what he could do not with fact, but with ...

"The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England" by Julie Kavanagh; Atlantic Monthly Press (480 pages, $28) ——— All history is complicated, of course, the deeper you dig and the more points of view you seek. But I'm not sure any history is more convoluted than modern Irish history, with allegiances to churches, causes and ancient grudges; ...

NONFICTION: An English farmer finds balance between sustaining his family and sustaining the land. "Pastoral Song" by James Rebanks; Custom House (294 pages, $28.99) ——— When James Rebanks was a child, he used to help his father and grandfather on their farms in the hilly Lake District of England. Fields of barley, hay and oats; some sheep, some cows, some pigs; a kitchen garden. The work was ...

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