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By BARBARA HOFFERT  |  June 8, 2009

First novels shine, too. In filmmaker HYATT BASS's The Embers (Holt, June 23), newly engaged Emily and her parents finally begin coping with the death of Emily's brother. In Short Girls (Viking, July 23), BICH MINH NGUYEN's follow-up to her memoir, Stealing Buddha's Dinner, two sisters patch things up at their father's American citizenship party. Young Luke adopts a friend who's invisible — but very real and very dangerous — in BRIAN DELEEUW's In This Way I Was Saved (S. & S., August 4). And whereas CAROLINA DE ROBERTIS's multigenerational The Invisible Mountain (Knopf, August 28) recalls Isabel Allende, ALIA YUNIS's The Night Counter (Shaye Areheart Books/Harmony, July 14) conjures Scheherazade, who's approaching her 1001st visit to the elderly Lebanese-born Fatima in Detroit.

Two more first novels, both boasting multiple foreign rights, carry the Middle East's heat. In SULAIMAN ADDONIA's The Consequences of Love (Random, August 11), a Sudanese immigrant in Saudi Arabia barely endures until a veiled woman drops a love note at his feet. NATHALIE ABI-EZZI's A Girl Made of Dust (Grove, July 14) is Ruba, who holds her family together during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Don't forget story collections. JAMES LASDUN's It's Beginning to Hurt (Farrar, Straus, August 3) gets right to the coruscating heart of things. CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE's The Thing Around Your Neck (Knopf, June 18) brings Nigeria and America closer. MAILE MELOY returns to the genre in Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (Riverhead, July 9). Finally, for fabulous escapist reading, try STIEG LARSSON's The Girl Who Played with Fire (Knopf, August 4), a follow-up to his record-breaking thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Nonfiction
ERNEST HEMINGWAY's A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition (Scribner, July 14) has been newly edited by Hemingway's grandson Sean to reflect scholarship dating from the 1979 release of the author's personal papers. After '20s Hemingway, you can head to 1990s Boston with DICK LEHR's The Fence (HarperCollins, June 23), which examines the beating and subsequent cover-up of plainclothes police officer Michael Cox by fellow cops.

For heady political discourse, relive The Battle for America, 2008: The Extraordinary Election of 2008 (Viking, August 4), as recounted by DAN BALZ and HAYNES JOHNSON. Then try RAND associate SETH G JONES's In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan (Norton, July 6), which argues that shifting our focus to Iraq reinvigorated the Taliban. More broadly — and even more timely — JAMES MACGREGOR BURNS's Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court (Penguin Press, June 25) decries the Court's ongoing obstruction of progressive reform.

For a glimpse of Africa, there's MICHELA WRONG's It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower (HarperCollins, June 16), about a man who doggedly pursued his father's executioners. TRACY KIDDER's Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgetting (Random, August 25) profiles a young man from Burundi who returned home to help others after securing a Columbia degree. Meanwhile, the NELSON MANDELA Foundation is issuing Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Comic Book (Norton, July 18), a graphic version of Mandela's 1994 Long Road to Freedom.

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