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Books And Literature

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Blessed be the fruit of Margaret Atwood’s beautiful brain. "The Testaments," the highly anticipated sequel to her 1985 dystopian masterpiece "The Handmaid’s Tale," is satisfyingly full of answers; a gift. If you sense a certain calm in the world upon its release Tuesday, it will be the sound of Handmaid’s Nation becoming lost in 415 wonderful new pages.

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In the apocalypse drama "Bird Box," people are compelled to commit suicide when they see a mysterious force. Venturing outdoors requires blindfolds, a mighty hindrance to navigating the world.

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A retired chemistry teacher suddenly must care for a great nephew he doesn't really know. Together they make a trip to Nice, France, to try to puzzle out family secrets from World War II. Donoghue, the author of "Room," challenges herself with every new book. (Little Brown, Sept. 10)

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Jack Reacher makes his 24th outing trying to help an elderly couple who owe money to a loan shark while he also contends with a gang war involving Albanians and Ukrainians. (Delacorte; Oct. 29) 

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The actress and writer Fisher was always candid about her own problems and experiences, but perhaps an evenhanded biography will bring even more light to the woman who both portrayed and embodied a "feminist action hero." (Sarah Crichton Books; Nov. 12) 

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It's been three years since Patchett's "Commonwealth," so fans will welcome this new novel about another broken family that also retains some close relationships. It focuses on a brother and sister raised with wealth but whose fortunes fell after their father's death. (Harper; Sept. 24) 

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The author of "Breath, Eyes, Memory" and "Brother, I'm Dying" collects eight stories in her new book. Set in Haiti and Miami, the stories deal with families whose members migrate both to and from the Caribbean. Danticat, the newest winner of the St. Louis Literary Award, will accept it here Oct. 24. Get free tickets at lib.slu.edu/literaryaward. (Knopf; Aug. 27)

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For lovers of Moyes' books and of historical fiction, this Depression-era novel involves several women who want to get out of the house. They do it on horseback, delivering books to Kentuckians as part of Eleanor Roosevelt's traveling library. (Pamela Dorman Books; Oct. 8) 

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A highly anticipated coming-of-age memoir by a black, gay man raised in the South. Jones, whose poetry was published in "Prelude to a Bruise," will be in St. Louis on Oct. 14 at the High Low. (Simon & Schuster; Oct. 8)

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In this examination of the final year of the Civil War, writer Gwynne wraps together the stories of black soldiers in the Union Army, Missouri's guerrilla war, the surrender at Appomattox and the assassination of President Lincoln. (Scribner; Oct. 29) 

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Adults seek to take advantage of locked-up children who have the powers of telepathy and telekinesis. The basic plot sounds like a cousin to "Stranger Things," but the horror master no doubt puts his own mark on his fat new novel. (Scribner; Sept. 10)

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The former CIA agent, recruited at age 21, tells about learning how to get out of car trunks, track arms deals and predict terror cells. Publishers Weekly says the book reads like a "great espionage novel." But no longer undercover, Fox now co-hosts the History Channel's "American Ripper." (Knopf; Oct. 15) 

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Millions who had never heard of the book watched a blindfolded Sandra Bullock save two children in "Bird Box" on Netflix early this year. But probably a lot of them will now be interested in the apocalyptic thriller's sequel, "Malorie." Will she shed the blindfold, find love and keep those little birds alive? Safety is always precarious when you can't see the enemy. (Del Rey; Dec. 3) 

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A unique and challenging novel by the author of "Hot Milk" has a historian hit not once but twice while walking on the iconic Abbey Road in Britain. After the first time, he travels to Berlin just before the fall of the wall. After the second accident, he struggles to remember the past. (Bloomsbury; Oct. 15) 

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Perhaps the bigger the star, the shorter the title? Elton John releases his simply named autobiography about his youth as Reginald Dwight, his stardom, addiction and getting clean. (Henry Holt; Oct. 15) 

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Former Irish smugglers banter as they try to catch one of their daughters coming to Spain by boat. Barry's prose is known for its precision and creativity. Publishers Weekly says of the novel, "As far as bleak Irish fiction goes, this is black tar heroin." (Doubleday; Sept. 17) 

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Strout's connected stories in "Olive Kitteridge" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, and Frances McDormand won an Emmy for her work as the brusque title character in the HBO miniseries. The new book is dubbed "a novel" although it, too, is made up of linked stories. Whatever it's called, readers will love having more Olive. Strout will be at St. Louis County Library on Oct. 24. (Random House; Oct. 15) 

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A moving, character-driven story of three generations of an African American family. The second short novel for adults by the accomplished writer for children. (Riverhead; Sept. 17) 

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