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Literature

2011 Fall A+E Guide: Books

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Chuck Twardy

Critic’s Pick

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President By Candice Millard (September 20) Probably the most-talked-about book of the fall season will be Stephen King’s 11/22/63: A Novel, imagining a time-traveling, would-be pre-emptor of JFK’s assassination (due November 1). A nonfiction account of the shooting of President James Garfield, however, is likely to be a book about which little buzz will tickle the nation’s literary ear. Destiny of the Republic casts Garfield’s inept medical care as co-conspirator. Millard’s 2006 River of Doubt followed Teddy Roosevelt up the Amazon, and this one explores virgin territory of the historical kind.

Life Itself By Roger Ebert (September 13) The Pulitzer-winning film critic has long mixed intellectual astuteness and accessible ease, which ought to make his memoir a winner.

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World By Michael Lewis (October 3) Last year’s The Big Short neatly tracked Wall Street’s meltdown, and Lewis’ latest looks at the debt-plagued nations of Europe.

The Marriage Plot By Jeffrey Eugenides (October 11) The author of the praised and successful Middlesex returns with a novel about three students at Brown University, his alma mater.

Mrs. Nixon By Ann Beattie (November 15) The pre-eminent chronicler of plagued relations promises a book that is part fiction and part journalism—and no doubt altogether provocative.

Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513 to 2008 By Henry Louis Gates Jr. (November 22) Few intellectuals are as well prepared as Gates to tackle not only the history of African Americans but also its contexts.

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