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Publishers give us plenty of page-turners for fall reading.

Back to the Books


For all the talk of e-books, the publishers are still giving us real books we can hold in our hands and enjoy. This fall these don't seem to have slacked off. Here is an idiosyncratic list of books to look for and to enjoy.

For readers of nonfiction and history Viking will publish in September "The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon" by Anthony Summers ($29.95). Summers is also the author of "Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe" and "Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover."

Also from Viking will come two new small volumes in their Lives series. These will be "Leonardo Da Vinci" by Sherwin B. Noland and "Virginia Woolf" by Nigel Nicolson.

"Fanny Kemble's Civil Wars," by Catherine Clinto, (Simon & Schuster, $26.95). A 19th-century icon, Fanny Kemble drew fame in the theater, but also by marrying the second-largest landholder in Georgia. Her story provides a personal glimpse of Civil War times in an eloquent manner.

"Never Ask Permission: Elisabeth Scott Bocock of Virginia," by Mary Buford Hitz, (University of Virginia Press, $27.95). The story of a Richmonder who was "Victorian in values but modern in outlook" left a permanent effect on Richmond. The author, Bocock's daughter, "reveals the pleasures and frustrations of growing up with a woman who expected so much from her children and from the city whose self-appointed guardian she became."

"Nothing Like It in the World," by Stephen Ambrose (Simon & Schuster, $28). Here, Ambrose adopts a post-Civil War theme as he tells the story of the men who built the transcontinental railroad.

"After the War," by Alice Adams (Knopf $25). Adams' 11th novel, this one again is about the Southern town of Pinehill during World War II.

"The Blind Assassin," by Margaret Atwood, (Talese/Doubleday, $26). Atwood's 10th fictional work is a multilevel story of a woman's obsession with a science-fiction writer, and an octogenarian's review of her own life. Atwood's fans should devour this fluent work.

"Dead and Gone," by Andrew Vachss (Knopf, $25). Tough-man Burke returns in a 12th book. In this one, a main character dies, and Burke is bent on revenge.

"Harry and Ruth," by Howard Owen (Permanent Press, $25). Richmonder Owen is publishing his fifth novel which is about a pair of unlikely lovers who learn just how much lives can be defined by one bad decision.

"The Healer of Harrow Point," by Peter Walpole (Hampton Roads $11.95). Actually, this book for young adults came out in the spring but adults are finding out about it and you will be hearing more about it this fall. It is an entrancing coming-of-age story that teaches but doesn't preach values.

"The Last Precinct," by Patricia Daniels Cornwell (Putnam, $26.95). Another Scarpetta crowd-pleaser from the best-selling Richmond author.

"Longing," by J.D. Landis (Harcourt, $26). Landis recreates the Schumann lives in a fascinating fictional account based on memoirs, dialogues and actual characters.

"Nowhere Else on Earth," by Josephine Humphries (Viking, $24.95). A writer deeply invested in Southern culture, Humphries relates the story of the forgotten Indians caught between sides in the Civil War. Historically accurate detail allows the tale to present a new and unique side to the war.

"Pagan Babies," by Elmore Leonard (Delacorte, $24.95). The world's slickest priest starts his life over in Rwanda, enjoying its simple pleasures until a vicious crime forces him back into the limelight and entangles him with a very unusual woman friend.

"The PMS Outlaws," by Sharyn McCrumb (Ballantine, $24). McCrumb returns with an offbeat yarn chronicling a woman's seclusion in a sanitarium following the death of her marine-biologist husband. Patient histories, links to Virginia locales and an ex-federal agent all form the ingredients of this mystery.

"The Telling," by Ursula Le Guin, (Harcourt Brace, $24). This one is for sci-fi fans and is the third in her Hainish cycle. Hain is the planet that originally seeded Earth.

"When We Were Orphans," by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf, $25). If you enjoyed Ishiguro's "Remains of the Day" and "The Unconsoled," you will be interested to see how he treats this story of a man with a mixed heritage and his attempt to come to terms with his past.

"Wish You Well," by David Baldacci (Warner Books $24.95). Another thriller from an increasingly popular author with Richmond ties.

Beth Morelli of the Richmond Public Library helped compile this list.

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