Dec. 2-8: Doorbell Ringers, A Heat Seeker And One Witty Ghost

Farewell, Dorothy Parker

by Ellen Meister

Paperback, 356 pages, Penguin Group USA, $15, published December 3 2013 | purchase

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Farewell, Dorothy Parker
Author
Ellen Meister

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Violet Epps, a movie critic as influential as she is insecure, discovers that being a fan isn't the same as being a roommate when Dorothy Parker's spirit materializes from an ancient guestbook — and then follows her home. Parker, it turns out, wants help moving on to the afterlife; in exchange, she offers advice on how Violet can find the courage to speak out. The two women — flesh and spirit — come to depend on each other, as Violet uses Parker's words to become more confident, and the literary spirit learns to deal with her own (literal) ghosts.

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Elders

by Ryan McIlvain

Paperback, 307 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published December 3 2013 | purchase

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Elders
Author
Ryan McIlvain

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In Brazil, two Mormon missionaries find their faith unexpectedly tested by a pair of potential converts. The veteran, Elder McLeod, is outspoken and surly, eyeing the end of his two-year mission teaching the Book of Mormon door to door; the new guy, Elder Passos, is a devout Brazilian who came to the church only after his mother's death. Together, they must face down their doubts and the trials of a new and tenuous friendship.

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Middle C

by William H. Gass

Paperback, 395 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published December 3 2013 | purchase

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Middle C
Author
William H. Gass

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Born in Austria and raised in Ohio, Joseph Skizzen lives an uneventful life; you might even call it insignificant. But in his own mind, he is the great Professor Skizzen, charged with cataloging the many sins and shortcomings of humanity. In his first novel in almost two decades, Gass explores an introvert's inner life, deploying his characteristically dense prose to probe and blur the tentative line between fantasy and self.

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Between Man And Beast

by Monte Reel

Paperback, 402 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published December 3 2013 | purchase

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Between Man and Beast
Subtitle
An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm
Author
Monte Reel

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The improbable explorer Paul du Chaillu was the first European to confirm the existence of gorillas. The discovery he made on his West African expedition turned a legend into scientific fact, but his findings did not go unquestioned. Monte Reel delves into the complex history of du Chaillu — an adventurer without a scientific background, an observer whose reports were marred by exaggerations and a man altogether embroiled in controversies, from Darwin's discoveries to his own family history.

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Heat: Adventures In The World's Fiery Places

by Bill Streever

Paperback, 349 pages, Little Brown & Co, $16, published December 3 2013 | purchase

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Title
Heat
Subtitle
Adventures in the World's Fiery Places
Author
Bill Streever

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Biologist and writer Bill Streever is fascinated by extremes. In Cold, he visited some of the chilliest places on Earth; in Heat, he takes a look at the opposite end of the thermometer. Streever treks through Death Valley, investigates fire-based weaponry and walks on coals as he explores what it means to be hot ... really hot.

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*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

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