New In Paperback: Oct. 3 - 9

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Philip Roth, David Sedaris, Bill Bryson and more.

Nemesis

by Philip Roth

Paperback, 280 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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Title
Nemesis
Author
Philip Roth

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Set in Philip Roth's hometown, Newark, N.J., during the steamy summer of 1944, Nemesis concerns a polio epidemic that flares up in the city's Jewish Weequahic section. Bucky Cantor, an idealistic, much-admired 23-year-old gym teacher who has been rejected by the military because of his poor vision, takes the epidemic personally, and rails at God for "the murderous persecution of Weequahic's innocent children." There's a retro, stage-set feel to scenes played out on urban stoops and back porches, but Roth is still capable of pulling off the gorgeous finale.

News and Reviews

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

A Modest Bestiary

by Ian Falconer and David Sedaris

Paperback, 168 pages, Little Brown & Co, $13.99, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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Title
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
Subtitle
A Modest Bestiary
Author
Ian Falconer and David Sedaris

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David Sedaris, humorist and personal essayist extraordinaire, takes on selfishness, bigotry, righteousness, loneliness and other all-too-human foibles in 16 animal fables, a la Jean de La Fontaine and Aesop. They are as hilarious and slyly trenchant as his beloved stories about his sisters, Santaland and smoking. Most of Sedaris' critters are struggling to make sense of a tough, unfair world. You've got to love a writer whose empathy extends even to a sensitive potbellied pig, causing him to wonder who came up with names like "largemouth bass, humpback whale, lesser wart-nosed horseshoe bat — not caring whose life was ruined."

News and Reviews

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

by Isabel Wilkerson

Paperback, 622 pages, Random House Inc, $16.95, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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Title
The Warmth Of Other Suns
Subtitle
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Author
Isabel Wilkerson

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According to Isabel Wilkerson, America's greatest domestic movement began around 1917 and ended in 1975, an epoch during which millions of black American citizens fled Southern towns and cities, with their elaborate and complicated tapestries of Jim Crow laws, for the relative freedoms of the North. Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the New York Times, has taken what many would consider an indigestible chunk of information and given us an extraordinarily palatable narrative, much of it told through the eyes of three emblematic migrants.

News and Reviews

At Home

A Short History of Private Life

by Bill Bryson

Paperback, 577 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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Title
At Home
Subtitle
A Short History of Private Life
Author
Bill Bryson

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After years of taking readers around the globe with his witty travel writing, author Bill Bryson has pointed his compass to his own house in the English countryside. In At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bryson explores the history of the world through the rooms of his home and the objects that fill them. The book traces the history of hallways and attics and the origins of dining rooms and chimneys. Bryson also finds historical surprises in everyday objects of domesticity — from the four-tined fork in the drawer to the mousetrap in the study.

News and Reviews

Don't Sing at the Table

Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

by Adriana Trigiani

Paperback, 224 pages, HarperCollins, $13.99, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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Title
Don't Sing at the Table
Subtitle
Life Lessons from My Grandmothers
Author
Adriana Trigiani

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While lovingly celebrating the wisdom of her working-class Italian-American grandmothers — on pursuing careers while raising children, and keeping a good figure and a thriving marriage — novelist Adriana Trigiani offers a fascinating look at U.S. history from their perspective. Her grandmother Viola was a machine operator and later owned a mill with her husband, while Lucia worked in a factory, became a seamstress, opened a storefront as a couturiere and ran a shoe store. The nostalgia can be thick, but the lessons are comforting.

Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also leads a weekly chat on books and reading in the digital age every Friday from 4-5 p.m. ET on Twitter. Follow her at @charabbott or check out the #followreader hashtag.

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