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Recent and recommended books

February 27, 2013
  • The covers of 'The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power', 'The Teleportation Accident' and 'Eleanor & Park'.
The covers of 'The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From… (Times Books; Bloomsbury;…)

A look at some recent and recommended books:

CURRENT EVENTS

Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s wall? BBC journalist Kim Ghattas plays the role engagingly in “The Secretary: A Journey With Hillary Clinton From Beirut to the Heart of American Power” (Times Books, $27), with this vivid peek at the complex maneuverings and personalities behind Clinton’s foreign policy decisions.

FICTION

Described as “a historical novel that doesn’t know what year it is,” Ned Beauman’s inventive “The Teleportation Accident” (Bloomsbury, $25) follows a time-travel-obsessed set designer from 1930s Berlin to Los Angeles to 17th century Paris — with serial killers, spies and hard-boiled noir along the way.

YOUNG ADULT

Going against the prevailing YA sex-violence-and-supernatural trend, Rainbow Rowell’s debut young adult novel “Eleanor & Park” (St. Martin’s Griffin, $17.99, ages 14 and older) is a sweet, witty tale of misfit romance on the schoolbus with a 1980s backdrop of mixtapes and “Matlock.”


GRAPHIC NOVEL

The young people in “Susceptible” (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95) have a Lynda Barry-like awkwardness but the art surrounding them strives for serenity and balance. This graphic memoir is split between Geneviève Castrée’s tumultuous urban upbringing in Quebec, with a too-young mother and punk rock friends, and the extraordinary quiet of her father’s remote home in the woods.

COFFEE TABLE

Slash, Search & Destroy, Sniffin’ Glue, Punk, East Village: the underground press of the ’70s brought a raw DIY aesthetic to disaffected kids from from L.A. to London to New York. The paperback “Punk Press: Rebel Rock in the Underground Press 1968-1980” (Abrams, $40) presents reproductions from the zines with little accompanying context.

MEMOIR

Michael Hainey was 6 when his father, a Chicago newsman, died of a heart attack away from home. In “After Visiting Friends” (Scribner, $25), the adult son — a journalist like his dad — digs into the past to discover the circumstances of his father’s death. In the process, he encounters a storied era of Chicago newspapers, smoke-filled newsrooms, beer-soaked reporters and all.

SPORTS

Dodgers fans may chafe at some of Mike Piazza’s dissatisfied memories of his time on the team, but it’s hard not to root for the greatest-hitting catcher in the history of baseball — especially when he helps the Mets defeat the Yankees. “Long Shot” (Simon & Schuster, $27) is a classic underdog story, with a flash of gossip and an open discussion of steroids in the sport.


NONFICTION

In “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” (Random House, $27), journalist and editor Emily Bazelon brings a sure hand and investigative heft to her exploration of bullying, which, in the era of social media, includes both digital and old-fashioned physical cruelty.
 

HISTORY

Part family memoir and part chilling history, Andrea Stuart’s “Sugar in the Blood” (Knopf, $27.95) uses her own lineage to trace the effect of human trafficking on Barbados, “the first society ...entirely organized around its slave system.”

POP CULTURE

For 21 years, pop culture producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have waved their freak flag in everything from “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” to “RuPaul’s Drag Race”; their illustrated book “The World According to Wonder” (World of Wonder Books, $110) celebrates with more than 300 photos of figures like Chloe Sevigny and Chaz Bono.

SHORT FICTION

Award-winning poet and novelist Laura Kasischke explores short fiction in “If a Stranger Approaches You” (Sarabande Books, $15.95 paper), a debut story collection combining precise language with surreal imagery born of unspoken fears.

YOUNG ADULT

A young former hacker stumbles upon dangerous government secrets and must decide whether to expose them in Cory Doctorow’s “Homeland” (Tor Teen, $17.99), a follow-up to the bestselling “Little Brother” that may appeal to teens and adults alike.

THRILLER

The discovery of a baby’s skeleton in a Cheviot Hills yard is one of many creepy events in Jonathan Kellerman’s new thriller, “Guilt” (Ballantine, $28). Psychologist Alex Delaware is brought in to help the LAPD figure out how they all connect.
 
 

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