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Recent and recommended books

March 22, 2013
(Grove Press; Crown; Ecco )

A look at some recent and recommended books:

BIOGRAPHY
Photojournalist Tim Hetherington died in 2011 in Libya, two months after attending the Oscars for "Restrepo," the documentary he made with Sebastian Junger. In "Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer" (Grove Press, $25), the companion to an April HBO documentary, Alan Huffman vividly chronicles the short life of a man drawn to danger zones to capture the horrors of modern warfare.

THRILLER
Scandinavian crime fiction finds a new voice in Alexander Söderberg, whose dark, intricate debut novel "The Andalucian Friend" (Crown, $26), is the first of a proposed trilogy. It features a Swedish nurse tangled up in international drug violence, thanks to her patient — a charming publisher who also happens to be a crime boss.

POP CULTURE
Richard Hell may not be a household name, but he helped catalyze the New York punk scene with his bands Television and then the Voidoids, not to mention his hacked-up clothing and sloganeering skill. In his poetic memoir, "I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp" (Ecco, $25.99), Hell takes us on a tour of a lost world and stakes out his place in cultural history.

KIDS
A boy and girl break away from their parents by roaming the tunnels underneath a city: It's a typical scenario for a fantasy tale. But in Melvin Jules Bukiet's debut children's novel "Undertown" (Amulet, $16.95, ages 10-14), the city is real (Manhattan) and the creatures the kids meet when they stumble into the labyrinth of sewers are grifters and graffiti artists.

FICTION
The father in Owen King's debut novel, "Double Feature" (Scribner, $26), is nothing like his own dad, bestselling writer Stephen King, he emphasizes in interviews. The novel is about a recent college grad who wants to make a sophisticated indie film and his father, a jovial B-minus movie actor beloved by everyone but his son. It's a voicey coming-of-age novel about fame and fathers — just not his.

HUMOR
If you didn't sit next to the funniest kid in class and get to read his silly doodles, don't worry, you haven't missed your chance. Comedian Demetri Martin's "Point Your Face at This: Drawings" (Grand Central, $12.99 paper) is mostly drawings for grown-ups, single or paired image cartoons that are the hybrid spawn of "The Far Side," the New Yorker and a Steve Martin one-liner.

EBOOK
Despite the reach of the Internet, Matthew Fishbane believes "the mysteries of the world are only revealed in person." He travels to a remote Pacific island chain to investigate claims that natives singing Jewish hymns there indicate a deep connection to Israel. The answers he finds, in the long form story "Solomon's Island" ($2.99, via the Atavist app or online), are fascinating, enhanced with photos, videos, maps and music.

NONFICTION
Since its 1966 publication, Ed Ruscha's accordion book "Every Building on the Sunset Strip" has been a favorite of art fans. It's also inspired artists, many of whom have created works riffing on its themes and structure, now documented in the (meta) book "Various Small Books Referencing Various Small Books by Ed Ruscha" (MIT Press, $40).

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