A list of newly released paperbacks.
“The Plot Against America” by Philip Roth (Vintage, $14.95). Roth’s latest novel posits an alternative 1940s America in which Charles A. Lindbergh’s presidency leads to détente with Adolf Hitler and a U.S. government policy of “folksy anti-Semitism.”
“The Line of Beauty” by Alan Hollinghurst (Bloomsbury, $14.95). Last year’s Man Booker Prize winner offers sensual, formal and satirical pleasures as it traces a young gay social-climber’s encounters with elite Tory circles during Margaret Thatcher’s heyday.
“Heir to the Glimmering World” by Cynthia Ozick (Mariner, $13). This sly novel, one of Ozick’s best, plunks an oddball assortment of refugees in the Bronx of the 1930s, all haunted by heritages that don’t remotely match their desires or present-day circumstances.
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“The Inner Circle” by T.C. Boyle (Penguin, $15). A fictional portrait of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues. Betsy Aoki said Boyle at his best moves beyond “scientific voyeurism to watching the vivid byplay of trust, fear and love.”
“Life Mask” by Emma Donoghue (Harcourt, $14). Historical novel set in late 18th-century London. Robert Allen Papinchak called this “a fully satisfying excursion into a world of personal dalliances, theatrical shenanigans and political chicanery.”
“The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios” by Yann Martel (Harcourt, $13). Four novellas by the Man Booker Prize winner (“Life of Pi”). David Flood said the tales “not only entertain but erupt with emotional notes that surprise.”
“Banishing Verona” by Margot Livesey (Picador, $14). The author of “Eva Moves the Furniture” delivers one of her best novels yet, with a tale about a pregnant radio talk-show host on the run and an Asperger’s Syndrome-afflicted housepainter who helps her out.
“¡Caramba! by Nina Marie Martínez (Anchor, $13.95) and “A Complicated Kindness” by Miriam Toews (Counterpoint, $13.95). Two delightful, affecting debut novels, the first about Mexican and American realities getting all mixed up in small-town California, the second about a family falling apart under the pressures of religious zealotry in a Mennonite tourist town near Winnipeg.
“The Warlord’s Son” by Dan Fesperman (Vintage, $13.95). Thriller by a former foreign correspondent about a reporter fending off burnout to cover one last big story: the American invasion of Afghanistan. Adam Woog found this a “compulsively readable tale.”
“The Rottweiler” by Ruth Rendell (Vintage, $13). A tale about a serial murderer with an ugly bite. Adam Woog noted, “As always with Rendell, the focus is less on the crimes than on her characters and their carefully layered secret lives.”
“Chronicles: Volume One” by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster, $14). The singer-songwriter holds forth in a memoir that Robert Santelli called “a loosely constructed, highly colloquial … instant classic.”
“Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found” by Suketu Mehta (Vintage, $16). A portrait of the Indian city that David Takami found “a roiling and vigorous account.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist.
“Exuberance: The Passion for Life” by Kay Redfield Jamison (Vintage, $14.95). The psychologist-author who usually writes about depression takes a look at happiness. Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett praised Jamison’s knack for “moving smoothly between tasty digressions, hard science and sweeping cultural analyses.”
“Osama: The Making of a Terrorist” by Jonathan Randal (Vintage, $15). A look at the mind behind al-Qaida. Bruce Ramsey wrote, “The main value of the book is the political background it provides of the Islamic world.”
“Donnybrook: The Battle of Bull Run, 1861” by David Detzer (Harcourt, $16). A detailed account of the Civil War battle and its context. Steve Raymond declared, “This is history as it should be written.”
“Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare” by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, $14.95). An examination of the playwright’s life and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In an interview with Greenblatt, Misha Berson lauded the book’s “animated, accessible prose and … resonant panorama of Elizabethan England.”
“A Dog’s History of America: How Our Best Friend Explored, Conquered, and Settled a Continent” by Mark Derr (North Point, $15). A canine-slanted take on North American history. Ranny Green praised Derr’s “lively and flavorful narrative.”
“Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar” by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Vintage, $19). A hefty study of Stalin’s reign over the Soviet Union. Clarence Brown said Montefiore writes “with the skill of a novelist.”
“Another Bulls — t Night in Suck City” by Nick Flynn (Norton, $13.95). At age 27, Flynn, working at a homeless shelter, met his father for only the second time — as one of the shelter’s clients. This book, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Memoir, explores their father-son relationship.
“The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes” by Dean Hamer (Anchor, $14). Behavioral geneticist Hamer (“The Science of Desire”) suggests that an inclination toward religious faith may, like other behavioral traits, be genetically wired into us.
“Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm” by Jane Brox (North Point, $13). The prize-winning writer parlays her memories of her immigrant family’s farm into a meditation on the settlement of land in the United States.
Compiled by Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic, with contributions cited from staff or freelance critics for The Seattle Times.