1

Weeks on List: 30

The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Paperback, 534 pages, Penguin Group USA, $16, published June 28 2011 | purchase

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The Help
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Kathryn Stockett

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Limited and persecuted by racial divides in 1962 Jackson, Miss., three women — an African-American maid, her sassy and chronically unemployed friend (also a maid) and a recently graduated white woman — team up for a clandestine project.

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2

Weeks on List: 92

Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone

by Abraham Verghese

Paperback, 667 pages, Random House Inc, $15.95, published January 26 2010 | purchase

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Cutting for Stone
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Abraham Verghese

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Twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, Marion and Shiva Stone come of age in Ethiopia, where their love for the same woman drives them apart.

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3

Weeks on List: 32

A Visit From The Goon Squad

by Jennifer Egan

Paperback, 340 pages, Random House Inc, $14.95, published March 22 2011 | purchase

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A Visit From The Goon Squad
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Jennifer Egan

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Working side by side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar and the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the postwar future.

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4

Weeks on List: 5

Freedom

by Jonathan Franzen

Paperback, 597 pages, St Martins Pr, $16, published September 27 2011 | purchase

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Freedom
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Jonathan Franzen

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The idyllic lives of civic-minded environmentalists Patty and Walter Berglund come into question when their son moves in with aggressive Republican neighbors, green lawyer Walter takes a job with Big Coal, and go-getter Patty becomes increasingly unstable and enraged.

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5

Weeks on List: 115

Sarah's Key

by Tatiana De Rosnay

Paperback, 316 pages, St Martins Pr, $13.99, published July 5 2011 | purchase

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Sarah's Key
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Tatiana De Rosnay

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On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.

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6

Weeks on List: 25

Room

by Emma Donoghue

Paperback, 352 pages, Little Brown & Co, $14.99, published May 5 2011 | purchase

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Room
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Emma Donoghue

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A 5-year-old narrates a story about his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for seven years — since she was a teenager.

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7

Weeks on List: 4

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

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The author of Holidays on Ice provides an original collection of outrageously funny fables featuring animals with unmistakably human failings, including a kitty cat that struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings, squirrel and chipmunk lovers separated by prejudiced family members, and much more.

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8

Weeks on List: 125

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

by Garth Stein

Paperback, 321 pages, HarperCollins, $14.99, published June 1 2009 | purchase

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The Art Of Racing In The Rain
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Garth Stein

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Faithful canine Enzo, on the eve of his death, takes stock of his life while recalling the sacrifices, unexpected losses and personal struggles of his would-be race car driver human, Denny, in the latter's efforts to retain custody of his daughter.

9

Weeks on List: 48

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

by Helen Simonson

Paperback, 368 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published November 30 2010 | purchase

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
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Helen Simonson

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Forced to confront the realities of life in the 21st century when he falls in love with Pakistani widow Mrs. Ali, Major Pettigrew finds the relationship challenged by local prejudices that view Mrs. Ali, a Cambridge native, as a perpetual foreigner.

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10

Weeks on List: 2

Sing You Home

by Jodi Picoult

Paperback, 466 pages, Pocket Books, $16, published October 18 2011 | purchase

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Sing You Home
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Jodi Picoult

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After 10 years of infertility issues lead to the end of music therapist Zoe Baxter's marriage, she falls in love with another woman, Vanessa, and wants to start a family. Her new plans are complicated by her ex-husband, Max, who, under the influence of an anti-gay pastor, stands in the way.

11

Weeks on List: 5

Started Early, Took My Dog

A Novel

by Kate Atkinson

Paperback, 371 pages, Little Brown & Co, $14.99, published October 6 2011 | purchase

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Started Early, Took My Dog
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A Novel
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Kate Atkinson

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Retired police detective Tracy Waterhouse and former detective Jackson Brodie find their lives spinning out of control after Tracy takes custody of an ex-con's child and Jackson rescues an abused dog.

12

Weeks on List: 7

A Secret Kept

by Tatiana De Rosnay

Paperback, 330 pages, St Martins Pr, $14.99, published September 13 2011 | purchase

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A Secret Kept
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Tatiana De Rosnay

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When traumatic memories about a disturbing event from a childhood summer holiday cause his sister to get into a car accident, Antoine befriends a streetwise mortician who helps him manage painful family truths.

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13

Weeks on List: 3

The Best American Short Stories 2011

by Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor

Paperback, 363 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $14.95, published October 4 2011 | purchase

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The Best American Short Stories 2011
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Geraldine Brooks and Heidi Pitlor

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Edited by author Geraldine Brooks, this collection includes stories by top authors and new talents.

14

Weeks on List: 39

The Imperfectionists

by Tom Rachman

Paperback, 281 pages, Random House Inc, $15, published January 4 2011 | purchase

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The Imperfectionists
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Tom Rachman

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Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his dog, and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire.

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15

Weeks on List: 39

The Postmistress

by Sarah Blake

Paperback, 371 pages, Penguin Group USA, $15, published February 1 2011 | purchase

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The Postmistress
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Sarah Blake

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The stories of a Cape Cod postmistress and an American radio reporter stationed in London collide on the eve of the United States' entrance into World War II, a meeting shaped by a broken promise to deliver a letter.

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