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“A Place For Us,” a debut novel by Fatima Farheen Mirza, will elicit empathy for a Muslim family living in America. Their problems and pain know no cultural bounds, and readers will identify with their heartache. Amar, the youngest child and only son, has been estranged from his parents, Lay…

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It’s a diligent group — an organization and staff with a love of Downtown Washington at heart, a board of directors, who assure that DW Inc.’s mission is fulfilled and goals are met, and four working committees, promoting Washington and maintaining historical preservation through economic de…

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Initially, there’s little to like about Susan Green, the 45-year old British protagonist in “The Cactus,” Sarah Haywood’s debut novel.

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“The Recovering, Intoxication and its Aftermath,” Leslie Jamison’s impeccably researched, 520-page book leaves no stone unturned as it opens our eyes to the devastating effects of alcohol and drug abuse.

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Narrated by first-grader, Zach Taylor, a little boy who huddles in a closet with his teacher and classmates to survive a school shooting, “Only Child” is a tough, timely read. Author Rhiannon Navin heartbreakingly depicts the fallout from the tragedy in which Zach’s older brother, a junior h…

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Narrated by first-grader, Zach Taylor, a little boy who huddles in a closet with his teacher and classmates to survive a school shooting, “Only Child” is a tough, timely read. Author Rhiannon Navin heartbreakingly depicts the fallout from the tragedy in which Zach’s older brother, a junior h…

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They’re hard to find, books that grab you by the throat and won’t let go — addictive novels that make your heart race. “Only Killers and Thieves” tops that category, a debut by Paul Howarth set in rough-and-tumble Australia in 1885, concluding with a section in 1904.

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An adventurous spirit coupled with unwavering persistence helped Billy Gawronski, the 17-year-old son of Polish immigrants, realize his dream. In 1928, he stowed away on one of two ships in the Byrd Expedition led by Richard E. Byrd. Byrd’s mission was to establish a base in Antarctica and b…

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Make room readers—if you fell in love with Ove, the crusty senior in “A Man Called Ove,” you’re going to welcome 85-year-old Arthur Truluv with open arms, the lovely gent in “The Story of Arthur Truluv,” by bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.

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Jennifer Egan’s new novel “Manhattan Beach,” is a brilliant historical fiction read set in 1940’s Brooklyn. It’s a fascinating story that features a paint box of unique characters in the gangster-ridden city.

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The story of two mothers, remotely different from one another, but connected by their children, make “Little Fires Everywhere” an immersive and thought-provoking story. Celeste Ng’s new book draws you in as you try to understand where the novelist is taking you.

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“The Diplomat’s Daughter,” a paperback by Karin Tanabe, draws you in from the first page. This World War II novel has well-drawn, believable characters, a timely theme and a plot that holds your interest as the action moves from Austria, to the United States, Japan and China.

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Gritty and pulse-pounding, “She Rides Shotgun” is a thrill-a-minute read by first-time novelist Jordan Harper, who was born and raised in Missouri and currently lives in Los Angeles. This debut is gutsy, like grab-you-by-the-throat thrillers by Tom Franklin, Wiley Cash and Ron Rash.

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Spots and swaths of color, vivid annuals, paired with native plants and perennials, patches of flowers and greenery grace our small city. Sometimes the caretakers of these kaleidoscopic beds are visible — glove-clad, their faces shaded by straw brims. Members of the Washington Garden Club pl…

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Quirky, considered a “nutter” by some, office worker, Eleanor Oliphant, is sure to captivate readers in a marvelous, gutsy debut by British author Gail Honeyman.

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“The Women in the Castle” by Jessica Shattuck, is the book I’m talking about this spring. This literary, historical fiction read is captivating, as Shattuck moves forward and back in time to relate the story of three German women before and after World War II.

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“The Women in the Castle,” by Jessica Shattuck, is the book I’m talking about this spring. This literary, historical fiction read is captivating, as Shattuck moves forward and back in time to relate the story of three German women before and after World War II.

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We’ve all known a Nelson, a straight arrow who bears the brunt of others’ ridicule. Author Nickolas Butler places his bullied victim in a Boy Scout camp in Wisconsin, summer 1962. At times, “The Hearts of Men” will rip your heart out with pity for this character.

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With the Middle East consistently in the headlines, fiction as well as non-fiction serves to educate us. “The Girl in Green, a Novel,” by Derek B. Miller instructs but also entertains, largely because of its main characters, the proverbial odd couple, a staid English journalist with The New …

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Characters in novels are often puzzling, so intriguing they keep us glued to the page. Like a flower opening, the character’s backstory and motives become clear, as we’re held mesmerized, at the mercy of the author’s pacing.

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There’s nothing better than an awesome audiobook to wile away highway miles, or escape the drudgery of dusting. Edoardo Ballerini’s stellar reading of “The One Man,” by Andrew Gross, is just the ticket, a thriller with heart set largely in Auschwitz during World War II.

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With her new book, “News of the World,” author Paulette Jiles has outdone herself. It’s my pick for the coveted National Book Award, one of five finalists, the winner to be announced next month. “News” is a tiny treasure, 209 pages of poetic passages and scenes that burst to life with brilli…

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Author Laura McHugh gained enthusiastic fans with her debut, “The Weight of Blood,” previously reviewed in “Novel Ideas.” The Columbia, Mo., author scores again with “Arrowood,” an atmospheric read that’s being touted as a modern-day “gothic” novel.

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Adoration of someone with an evil bend can take root in a gullible teen with few friends, a bullied child whose parents aren’t available, themselves experiencing delayed adolescence.

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Across the board appeal, abundant chills and thrills, all this and more will be yours with “Before the Fall,” out next week. Noah Hawley’s novel grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. Just what you’d expect from the producer, writer and showrunner of FX’s riveting “Fargo.”

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Across the board appeal, abundant chills and thrills, all this and more will be yours with “Before the Fall,” out next week. Noah Hawley’s novel grabs you by the throat and won’t let go. Just what you’d expect from the producer, writer and showrunner of FX’s riveting “Fargo.”

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Mothering Sunday was established in Great Britain as a day for domestics to visit their mums. The Brits now call the fourth Sunday in Lent “Mother’s Day,” and everyone celebrates their mothers and grandmothers, not just maids in great households.

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Get hooked on page one with “Bottomland,” by Michelle Hoover. That’s when the book’s mystery is revealed, possibly a crime. Two young girls in a German family have disappeared from a farmhouse in Iowa, just after the end of World War I, when distrust of Germans ran rampant and speaking the l…

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Within the crime genre, there’s a subcategory of raw, explicit reads that feature meth heads, murderers and other drug users caught up in a life they can’t, or don’t want to escape. These books are often set in rural, barren landscapes.

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“When Breath Becomes Air” is a heartbreakingly beautiful memoir, the story of a promising young neurosurgeon whose life is cut short at 37. Without a trace of “poor me,” Paul Kalanithi writes about the lung cancer that leads to his death in March 2015, just two years after his diagnosis.

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It’s fun to fantasize about what life would be like with pots of money—with the fame and fortune that comes with movie-picture stardom, nights of elegant parties hobnobbing with the rich and famous, days spent in a mansion with a butler at the door, the only pressing commitment a tennis matc…

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It’s a thrill to happen upon a treasure of a book. This month, I’m pleased to share my favorite find, “This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!” by Jonathan Evison, a novel that has it all, humor and pathos, and a main character named Harriet who’ll wend her way into your heart.

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Well-drawn characters make you wonder what it would be like to walk a mile in their shoes. Rajia Hassib’s novel “In the Language of Miracles” has several that will make you stop and think in a story sure to stay with you. The cause of the tragedy that Hassib writes about occurs far too often…

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“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee is making quite a name for itself. On Tuesday, when it was released, the book sold more first-day copies than any adult title in Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million history. That’s pretty impressive for a novel some sources claim was just a draft, and nev…

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Ann Packer’s “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” has long been a favorite, so I turned to her new novel, “The Children’s Crusade” with anticipation. I finished it contemplative and in awe of Packer’s ability to create rich, redemptive characters.

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“So Long Joe,” Lahane Wraps up His Coughlin Trilogy

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Don’t pause — put a jiggle in their bells and a spring in their step with a read that’s sure to please. Send book lovers of all ages to the rooftops with these “Novel Ideas” suggestions. They’ll provide hours of entertainment and knowledge, a tried and true gift sure to be treasured. From fi…

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