Books: Spring Books Preview Books


Pick through Book World's recommendations for a promising season of new releases.
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After Dark, by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, May). Murakami's 12th work of fiction follows the late-night adventures of two sisters, one of whom mostly sleeps and dreams while the other refuses to sleep at all.

Body of Lies, by David Ignatius (Norton, April). In this political thriller by a Post columnist, CIA agent Roger Ferris sets a trap for a shadowy terrorist suspected of being responsible for a string of car bombings in Europe.

Body Surfing, by Anita Shreve (Little Brown, April). Twentynine-year-old Sydney, once divorced and once widowed, hopes to improve her prospects by tutoring the daughter of a wealthy New Hampshire couple. But the pair's two grown sons compete for her affection, threatening her efforts to rebuild her life.

Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley (Twelve, April). Alarmed by the national debt, a young blogger, musing on politics and economics, sparks generational warfare by suggesting that senior citizens stop cashing their Social Security checks and kill themselves instead.

Coal Black Horse, by Robert Olmstead (Algonquin, April). When a woman sends her 14-year-old son to bring home her husband from the Civil War, the boy stumbles into the horrors of Gettysburg and must become a man.

Consequences, by Penelope Lively (Viking, June). The Booker Prize-winning author of Moon Tiger returns with a sweeping tale of three generations of British women, each wrestling with difficult choices and the unforeseen complications of love.

Divisadero, by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf, June). In a small French village, a woman becomes immersed in the life of a writer who lived in her house decades earlier.

Falling Man, by Don DeLillo (Scribner, May). The National Book Award-winning author of White Noise, Libra and Underworld traces the effects of 9/11 on one survivor's family.

Fellow Travelers, by Thomas Mallon (Pantheon, April). Mallon dissects McCarthy-era Washington through the eyes of two bureaucrats engaged in a clandestine gay relationship beneath the scrutiny of politicians on the hunt for communists and "sexual deviants."

Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee (Warner, May). When a 22-year-old Princeton grad takes too long to find a job, her dad sends her packing. Casey Han's quest for employment and stability eventually leads to an entry-level job at an investment firm -- and the promise of a new romance.

Generation Loss, by Elizabeth Hand (Small Beer, April). Punk photographer Cass Neary seems to have run out of options when she's offered a chance to interview a once-famous and aging photographer in Maine, where she finds a community made leery by an epidemic of missing teenagers.

The Girl With the Golden Shoes, by Colin Channer (Akashic, May). The author of Waiting in Vain, often praised for his portraits of the Caribbean diaspora, sets this tale of a precocious village girl on the fictional island of San Carlos in 1942.

The Gravedigger's Daughter, by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco, June). Oates spent 12 years writing this story, based on her own family's history, about the tumultuous life of a woman in upstate New York.

A Handbook to Luck, by Cristina Garcia (Knopf, April). The author of Dreaming in Cuban weaves the interlinked stories of characters living and struggling in a variety of locales, including Las Vegas, El Salvador and Tehran.

The Ministry of Special Cases, by Nathan Englander (Knopf, May). Praised for his short-story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, Englander sets his first novel in Buenos Aires, where a man who earns a living erasing names from gravestones joins his wife in a search for their son, whom they fear has become one of "the disappeared" under Argentina's authoritarian regime.

On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan (Nan Talese, June). From the author of Atonement and Saturday, the tale of a newlywed couple in England after World War II who are torn apart by sex.

The Rope Walk, by Carrie Brown (Pantheon, May). Brown's sixth novel details the unlikely friendship between three residents of a small Vermont town: a 10-year-old motherless girl, a mixed-race boy visiting his grandparents and an AIDS-stricken artist who has come home to die.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, May). This hotly anticipated follow-up to The Kite Runner tracks the lives of two embattled Afghan women who become allies amid political repression, sexist violence and dispiriting poverty.

Up in Honey's Room, by Elmore Leonard (Morrow, May). The bestselling author of more than 40 books returns with a caper involving Nazis hiding in America and a hotshot U.S. marshal on their trail.

The Visible World, by Mark Slouka (Houghton Mifflin, April). An American-born son of Czech immigrants tries to unravel his parents' past.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins, May). The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist reimagines Israel as an Alaskan outpost peopled by Orthodox street gangs and roiled by murderous intrigue.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopps and Camille Kingsolver (HarperCollins, May). A popular novelist chronicles her family's attempt "to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it."

At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, by George Tenet (HarperCollins, April). The former CIA chief tells his side of the Iraq and 9/11 stories.

Edith Wharton, by Hermione Lee (Knopf, April). Lee sifts new sources, including previously unavailable letters, in this portrait of a grand dame of American letters.

Einstein: His Life and Universe, by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, April). A veteran biographer focuses on the man behind relativity theory and other scientific advances that changed the world.

Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World, by Liza Mundy (Knopf, April). Mundy, a feature writer at The Post, offers a comprehensive look at the multi-billion-dollar assisted-reproduction industry.

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations, by Georgina Howell (Farrar Straus Giroux, April). The female Lawrence of Arabia may no longer be a household name, but in her time (1868-1926), writes Howell, "she was the most famous British traveler," male or female.

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens (Twelve, May). The flamethrowing journalist attempts to set fire to faith in this spirited confrontation with the world's major religions.

Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America, by Andrew Ferguson (Atlantic Monthly, June). A Weekly Standard editor travels coast-to-coast to examine our 16th president's place in modern American society.

The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857, by William Dalrymple (Knopf, April). A longtime chronicler of India, Dalrymple offers a portrait of Baduhar Shah II, the reluctant commander of the Final Mutiny that almost overcame British rule over the subcontinent.

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, by Robert Dallek (HarperCollins, June). The author of An Unfinished Life, a biography of John F. Kennedy, turns his attention to two of the most intriguing figures of the 20th century, making use of an abundance of recently declassified documents and tapes.

Not on Our Watch: A Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast (Hyperion, May). An Oscar nominee and a human rights activist team up to offer six strategies toward solving the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, where 400,000 have died to date.

The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, by Ali Allawi (Yale Univ., April). A former Iraqi minister offers an insider's view of America's Mideast gamble.

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, by Rebecca Mead (Penguin Press, May). A staff writer at the New Yorker undertook a three-year investigation of the wedding industry, which she says now generates $161 billion yearly.

The Organic God, by Margaret Feinberg (Zondervan, May). A religion writer calls for a new vision of faith that is "natural, pure, and essential."

The Pentagon: A History, by Steve Vogel (Random, June). A Post reporter explains how the famous headquarters was built and restored after Sept. 11.

Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help -- and Back, by Jennifer Niesslein (Putnam, May). Can one woman's obsession with self-help go too far?

Ralph Ellison: A Biography, by Arnold Rampersad (Knopf, April). The acclaimed biographer of Langston Hughes and Jackie Robinson takes on the complex life and prickly personality of Ellison, the author of Invisible Man.

The Reagan Diaries, edited by Douglas Brinkley (HarperCollins, May). Ronald Reagan kept a daily White House diary. Nearly two decades later, Brinkley, a Tulane historian, has edited a volume of entries that promises to shed new light on Reagan's presidency.

Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Crisis -- and the People Who Pay the Price, by Jonathan Cohn (HarperCollins, April). A New Republic editor points the way toward universal coverage.

Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas, by Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher (Doubleday, April). Two veteran Washington Post writers track Thomas's complicated rise from poverty to the Supreme Court.

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