Fall Books: Lightning Strikes and Con Men

Even more fall books (part 1, part 2, part 3) we're looking forward to:

Man Alive! by Mary Kay Zuravleff (FSG, September 3). Dr. Owen Lerner's life changes when the coin he's feeding into a parking meter is struck by lightning. He survives, but now all he wants to do is barbecue. What will happen to his patients, his family? Dazzling prose, sentences and phrases you want to underline, if not actually memorize.

Mirages, the Unexpurgated Diaries of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947, edited by Paul Herron (Swallow, October 15). The story that was cut from all of Nin's other published diaries. She describes this period as "hell"--heartbreak, despair, courage and persistence. You'll find out, among other things, what led to the demise of her affair with Henry Miller.

The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook (Ballantine, September 10). Uncultivated mushrooms are one of our last truly wild food; it often takes truly wild and rough mushroom hunters to bring them to our table. Cook travels and hunts with them in a riveting, crazy undertaking, told in often-poetic prose.

One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, October 1). A narrative featuring Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover and Al Capone. Bryson can write about anything and make it fascinating, as he digresses from one interesting thing to another.

Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips (Scribner, October 15). A compelling tale set in 1931 Chicago based on a real multiple murder by a con man who preyed on widows. The disappearance of a woman and her two children is investigated by reporter Emily Thornhill and a city banker who blames himself for not saving the family.

A Reader's Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year by Tom Nissley (Norton, November 4). Charming, funny, beguiling, this literary miscellany combines true events in writers' lives and fictional events in their books. The perfect gift for any reader.

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