New In Paperback, Oct. 18-24
The Lost Symbol
Set in Washington, D.C., Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol, continues the tale of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, the same character featured in Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. In its essence, the novel is about the Freemasons, a group that has faced centuries of persecution for its secrets. "We live in a world where people kill each other every day over whose definition of God is correct," Brown tells NPR's Robert Siegel. "And here is a worldwide organization that, at its core, will bring people together from many, many different religions, and ask only that you believe in a god. It seems like a perfect blueprint for universal spirituality."
656 pages, $9.99, Anchor
Up From The Blue
This haunting portrait of a military family begins with a woman, about to give birth to her first child, who struggles to understand her own mother's descent into madness when she was 8 years old. With her husband overseas, Tillie turns to her estranged father -- whom she'd always blamed for her mother's depression and withdrawal after the family moved cross-country so he could work at the Pentagon in the 1970s -- for answers. Now, as an adult, Tillie must reckon with complexities of romantic, maternal and filial love that eluded her as a child. Reviewers say it’s an unsettling, yet beautiful story you won't soon forget.
336 pages, $13.99, Harper
Jenny Stanford did not stand by her man -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford -- as he made a rambling, tearful apology last summer for an affair with a woman in Argentina. But according to her new memoir, Staying True, she did feel a strong desire "to really let the world know where I was coming from." Sanford places much of the blame for her husband's fall from grace -- and the end of their marriage -- on his political success as a candidate who ran highly principled campaigns built on frugality and measures like privatizing Social Security. "It becomes that much more important that you remain grounded in your values" amid the ego-stroking of high political office, Sanford tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "He became disconnected from the person that he originally was."
256 pages, $15, Ballantine
The Big Questions
Tackling the Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics
bySteven E. Landsburg
Steven Landsburg's new book, The Big Questions, tackles some of the hardest concepts you will ever grapple with in life -- religion, morality, our bank accounts -- and draws from math, physics and economics to challenge your beliefs -- and maybe even convince you that you don't have any. "Most of us are spending most of our time and most of our energy trying to be very good at one or two things ... which means that we don't have that energy and effort available to think about other subjects," Landsburg tells NPR's Neal Conan. "So most of the things that we think we have strong opinions about, whether it's free trade or God, are unexamined views. In fact, they're views that we've thought about very, very little, and if we were forced to think about them, I claim we would jettison most of them."
288 pages, $15, Free Press
A Year On The Wing
Journeys with Birds in Flight
Distilled from 40 years of bird-watching and rife with poetic observations by Yeats, Pound, Coleridge, Kafka and Bob Dylan, this enchanting memoir follows a year in the life of BBC radio producer Tim Dee, whose fierce love of birds leads him throughout Britain and to Los Angeles, Zambia, Moscow, and Gibraltar. Dee begins his journey in June, with a dream that he must rouse all the birds from the cliffs of Scotland's Shetland Islands. In August he learns to chart their migrations and, later, he takes to the skies in a glider to soar with buzzards in a shared column of air.
240 pages, $15, Free Press
Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor forPublishers Weekly,she also writes theblog about digital publishing issues.
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