"The Confusion" by Neal Stephenson (Harper Perennial, $15.95). Paperback edition of the second installment in Seattle cult author Stephenson's...

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“The Confusion” by Neal Stephenson (Harper Perennial, $15.95). Paperback edition of the second installment in Seattle cult author Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, which started with the best-selling “Quicksilver.” Reviewer Nisi Shawl raved about the swashbuckling novel’s “theatrical richness” and its “dazzingly orderly display of meaningful intricacy.”

In other Stephenson news: “The Cobweb” and “Interface by Stephenson and J. Frederick George (Bantam Spectra, both $14) are out in paperback, but this time Stephenson and Paris-based historian George have discarded the pseudonym Stephen Bury, which they used to write these witty, biotech-laced political thrillers in the mid-1990s.

“Lord Brain” by Bruce Beasley (University of Georgia Press, $16.95). This collection of 31 poems is named after and inspired by British neuroscientist Sir Walter Russell Brain. It delves into the relationships between the mind and the soul, the cosmos and God. Beasley is an English professor at Western Washington University.

“Waterfall Lover’s Guide: Pacific Northwest” (fourth edition) by Gregory A. Plumb (The Moutaineers Press, $18.95). Plumb, a map maker and geographer who used to live in Idaho, updates his already thorough catalog with more than 100 new waterfall listings in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, bringing the number of descriptions to 634.

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“Staying Afloat: Life Aboard Houseboats, Barges and Liveaboards,” by Jeri Callahan (Peanut Butter Publishing, $19.95). Callahan, a professional tour guide, is an authority on Seattle’s 500-strong houseboat community. Now she focuses on the interiors of these shoreline dwellings to explore the diverse lives and personalities of their owners.

“Prison Conversations: Prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory Discuss Life, Freedom, Crime and Punishment” by Craig Gabriel (Teribooks, $29.95). First-time author Gabriel spent three years volunteering at the state prison in Monroe, Snohomish County, and conducted numerous interviews with nine inmates, seven of whom were convicted of murder. These are their stories, mostly in their own words.

Tyrone Beason, Seattle Times staff reporter