New In Paperback Feb. 20-26

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Stieg Larsson, Arthur Phillips, Kevin Brockmeier, Michio Kaku and Stephen Hawking.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

by Stieg Larsson

Paperback, 655 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published February 21 2012 | purchase

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Title
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Author
Stieg Larsson

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In the last novel in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, modern-day Amazon Lisbeth Salander lies immobile-but-still-texting in a locked hospital room. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist — aided by some of his fellow journalists, rogue hackers and skeptical police detectives — scurries around unearthing a monstrous Cold War-era scandal within the Swedish government. Stieg Larsson's soaring architectural ambition fully reveals itself, as he fixates on violence against women, and the men who enable it.

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The Tragedy of Arthur

by Arthur Phillips

Paperback, 382 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published February 21 2012 | purchase

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Title
The Tragedy of Arthur
Author
Arthur Phillips

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Arthur Phillips' fifth book, The Tragedy of Arthur, is his wildest and funniest yet, at once homage to Nabokov's Pale Fire, satire of literary hagiography in general and Shakespeare scholarship in particular. His concept is clever: A long-lost Shakespeare tragedy is reluctantly ushered into print by Arthur Phillips, the skeptical son of a convicted forger. Full of jousting and jesting, The Tragedy of Arthur is deliciously stimulating.

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The Illumination

by Kevin Brockmeier

Paperback, 257 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published February 21 2012 | purchase

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The Illumination
Author
Kevin Brockmeier

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The Illumination is an unnerving spiritual fantasy about how we humans would (or would not) respond if we could see each other's wounds — physical and emotional — glowing through our bodies. It's structured as a series of linked stories, in which characters hand off to each other a dead woman's deeply affecting collection of love letters. The Illumination glows with the awareness of its characters' sufferings and the bright light of inspiration.

Physics of the Future

How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

by Michio Kaku

Paperback, 450 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published February 21 2012 | purchase

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Title
Physics of the Future
Subtitle
How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Author
Michio Kaku

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It's the first day of 2100, and you stumble into the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth. Tiny microchips in your toothbrush and your toilet instantly analyze your health. You wrap a few wires around your head and mentally cue up soothing music and fried eggs for breakfast. When you're ready, you issue another mental command to your magnetic car, which cruises to your door. Sound crazy? According to physicist Michio Kaku, these technologies are not only possible, they're in development.

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The Grand Design

by Stephen W. Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Paperback, 199 pages, Random House Inc, $18, published February 21 2012 | purchase

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Title
The Grand Design
Author
Stephen W. Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

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Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? Why is the universe governed by one particular set of laws and not others? In The Grand Design, cosmologist Stephen Hawking applies cutting-edge quantum physics to these enduring questions. "Spontaneous creation," he writes, "is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going."

News and Reviews

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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