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What are we reading?

Wren Wertin

Verbatim

Booksellers

1. “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” by Patricia Schultz: An around-the-world, continent-by-continent listing of places both on and off the beaten track. The prose is enticing, and after dishing out the romance of the places, Schultz delivers the nuts and bolts: addresses, phone and fax numbers, Web sites, costs, best times to visit. Of special interest are subject-specific indexes: beaches, restaurants and more.



2. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown: When symbolist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist, he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood which has surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

3. “Queen’s Fool,” by Phillipa Gregory: In this eagerly awaited sequel to “The Other Boleyn Girl,” Gregory returns to Tudor England, where the offspring of Henry VIII ascend to the throne amid treason, poisonous rivalries, accusations of heresy and unrequited love.



4. “Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman,” by Elizabeth Buchan: For 25 years, Rose Lloyd has juggled marriage, motherhood and career with remarkable success. But then the carefully managed life to which Rose has become accustomed comes crashing down around her when, over the course of a few days, her marriage and her career both fall apart.

5. “Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown: When a curator of the Louvre turns up murdered, his body surrounded by enigmatic ciphers written in invisible ink, code-breaker Robert Langdon and a French cryptologist are called in to unravel the clues to the killing.

6. “Last Juror,” by John Grisham: Mississippi in 1970. Only nine years after being sentenced to life in prison for the brutal rape and murder of a young mother, Danny Padgitt is paroled and returns to Ford County to seek revenge against the members of the jury that convicted him.



7. “Women of the Silk,” by Gail Tsukiyama: A rich portrait of one woman’s life in a China now lost. Her story is rendered with grace, with the clear dignity of legend or song. Tsukiyama lends her voice to figures of women emboldened by their dream of growth and personal power. Gail Tsukiyama will be at this year’s 2004 Festival of Words.

8. “Body and Soul,” by Frank Conroy: In the dim light of a basement apartment, six-year-old Claude Rawlings sits at an old white piano in 1940s New York, picking out the sounds he has heard on the radio and shutting out the reality of his lonely world. Body & Soul evokes the life of a child prodigy whose musical genius pulls him out of squalor and into the drawing rooms of the rich and a gilt-edged marriage.

9. “Middlesex,” by Jeffrey Eugenides: Spanning eight decades, Eugenides’ long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

10. “Touching the Void,” by Joe Simpson: Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave.

The Bookworm of Edwards

1. “Queen’s Fool,” by Phillipa Gregory: In this eagerly awaited sequel to “The Other Boleyn Girl,” Gregory returns to Tudor England, where the offspring of Henry VIII ascend to the throne amid treason, poisonous rivalries, accusations of heresy and unrequited love.

2. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown: When symbolist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist, he discovers evidence of the unimaginable: the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood which has surfaced to carry out the final phase of its legendary vendetta against its most hated enemy, the Catholic Church.

3. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” by Phillipa Gregory: The daughters of a ruthlessly ambitious family, Mary and Anne Boleyn are sent to the court of Henry VIII to attract the attention of the king, who first takes Mary as his mistress and then Anne as his wife.

4. “Summer of the Sea Serpent,” by Mary Pope Osborne: The newest in the “Magic Tree” series, Jack and Annie are off on another mythical mission at the request of Merlin the magician. Luckily, they have a young sorcerer, Teddy, to help them. From underwater caves to a Spider Queen, from mystical selkies to a magical sword, this is a Magic Tree House adventure kids won’t want to miss.

5. “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” by Azar Nafisi: In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and “shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color.”

6. “South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss,” by Arthur Agatston: A complete guide to the South Beach Diet.

7. “Middlesex,” by Jeffrey Eugenides: Spanning eight decades, Eugenides’ long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

8. “Middlesex,” by Jeffrey Eugenides: Spanning eight decades, Eugenides’ long-awaited second novel is a grand, utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

9. “Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown: When a curator of the Louvre turns up murdered, his body surrounded by enigmatic ciphers written in invisible ink.

10. “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” by Patricia Schultz: An around-the-world, continent-by-continent listing of places both on and off the beaten track. The prose is enticing, and after dishing out the romance of the places delivers the nuts and bolts: addresses, phone and fax numbers, Web sites, costs, best times to visit. Of special interest are subject-specific indexes: beaches restaurants and more.


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