Jan. 12-18: Revolutionaries, Diplomacy And A Man Of Letters

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut

Letters

by Kurt Vonnegut and Dan Wakefield

Paperback, 436 pages, Random House Inc, $20, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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Kurt Vonnegut
Subtitle
Letters
Author
Kurt Vonnegut and Dan Wakefield

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This compilation of personal correspondences written over a 60-year period contains Kurt Vonnegut's letters to family, friends, fans and critics — including previously unpublished material. The collection offers insight into the iconic American author's literary personality, his experiences as a German POW, his struggles with fame and the inspirations for his famous books.

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Ways of Going Home

Ways of Going Home

by Alejandro Zambra

Paperback, 139 pages, Farrar Straus & Giroux, $14, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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Ways of Going Home
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Alejandro Zambra

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The son of a quiet sympathizer with the Pinochet regime reflects on the progress of his novel: in it, an unnamed boy from a Chilean suburb witnesses an earthquake and meets an older girl who asks him to spy on her uncle. As the novel moves between the voices of its two narrators, the boy and his author, it tells the larger story of post-coup Chile. Translated by Megan McDowell.

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The Flamethrowers

The Flamethrowers

by Rachel Kushner

Paperback, 383 p., Simon & Schuster, $17, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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The Flamethrowers
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Rachel Kushner

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It's the 1970s in New York, and the art world is a rollicking, raucous place full of odd characters and exciting ideas. A young woman, unnamed, though nicknamed Reno for her place of origin, arrives into this scene hoping for a creative career in SoHo. But she falls in love with the estranged son of an Italian motorcycle scion and follows him back to Italy, where she gets embroiled in a radical social movement.

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I Want to Show You More

I Want to Show You More

by Jamie Quatro

Paperback, 224 pages, Pgw, $15, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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I Want to Show You More
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Jamie Quatro

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This debut collection features a set of linked stories centering on infidelity, faith and family, set on and around Lookout Mountain, GA. Several of the stories feature a woman's virtual affair, conducted through phone sex and nude selfies. The collection turns surreal when, in "Decomposition," her lover's body appears while she's in bed with her husband.

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The Dispensable Nation

The Dispensable Nation

American Foreign Policy in Retreat

by Vali Nasr

Paperback, 300 pages, Random House Inc, $16, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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Title
The Dispensable Nation
Subtitle
American Foreign Policy in Retreat
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Vali Nasr

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The former State Department adviser for Afghanistan and Pakistan offers a reassessment of American foreign policy, offering his advice for directing our country away from failing relations in the Middle East and towards more productive partnerships with other foreign allies. He critiques the executive branch for looking to the military and intelligence agencies for approaches to problems in Afghanistan and elsewhere, rather than working with civilians to find political solutions.

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All Standing

All Standing

The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, the Legendary Irish Famine Ship

by Kathryn Miles

Paperback, 238 pages, Simon & Schuster, $16, published January 14 2014 | purchase

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Title
All Standing
Subtitle
The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, the Legendary Irish Famine Ship
Author
Kathryn Miles

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Spurred by a complex web of motivations — shame, familial obligation and sometimes even greed — more than a million people attempted to flee the Irish famine. More than 100,000 of them would die aboard one of the 5,000 aptly named "coffin ships." But in the face of horrific losses, a small ship named the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger.

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

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