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The coming year sure is a juicy one for books. There are new novels from Stephen King, John Irving, Michael Crichton (posthumously) and that Dan Brown fellow. There’s also a slew of new cookbooks coming out which we are rather looking forward to…

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The Lost Symbol

by Dan Brown
Doubleday / September

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The follow-up to “The Da Vinci Code” brings readers back to the world of Robert Langdon. Five years of research went into the new title, and the story takes place over a fast twelve hour period. Gather what you will from the cover art (The Capitol Building?) because the plot has yet to be revealed, but it’s ranked #3 on Amazon so I guess the story doesn’t really matter to the die-hard fans.

Harvard Square: An Illustrated History Since 1950

by Mo Lotman with essays by John Updike and others
Stewart, Tabori & Chang / September

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If you’ve ever been to Boston you probably meandered across the river to check out “Havahd Yahd” and saw the bustling and peppy crossroads that is Harvard Square. Music, coffee, The Coop, academics, nowhere to park. It’s pretty terrific. Here now, comes the history of that little splotch of earth…

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The Last Song

by Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central Publishing / September

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The movie has already been made but the book has yet to come out. So if you want to read the story before Disney (and starlet, Miley Cyrus) act it out on the big-screen, well, here’s your chance. A teenage girl, kissy stuff, the usual Nicholas Sparks fare. The pic filmed on Tybee Island, GA and got everyone in a tizzy over her co-star and the smooches.

Venezia: Food and Dreams

by Tessa Kiros
Andrews McMeel / September

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105 Recipes dedicated to that gorgeous city. Chapters include Eating in Venice, Essential Recipes, Cicchetti (small bites), Antipasti, Zuppa/Pasta/Gnocchi, Risotto, Secondi, Contorni (sides), and Dolce (sweet things). You betcha!

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Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin

by Kathy Griffin
Ballantine Books / September
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Our most favorite-est D-lister joins the literatti. Ish. Her most recent season of the Bravo show perhaps suggests that she wants her own talk show. We like this idea.

The Wild Things

by Dave Eggers
McSweeney’s / October

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Based both on the Maurice Sendak classic and the new screenplay that Eggers wrote with Spike Jonze, this is the tale of young Max and his adventures on the island of the Wild Things. We’re super-excited for the movie which hits your local cineplex on 16 October. As for the book, might we suggest the fur-covered edition?

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Glow in the Dark

by Kanye West
Rizzoli  / October

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If you’ve ever seen Kanye West sing (or his not-so-cute performance on SNL), then you know that he is a performer who is very into the A/V of it all. This new book is named for his sold-out 2008 tour and includes a CD with previously unreleased instrumentals (‘Hey Mama,’ ‘Jesus Walks’ and ‘I Wonder’). There’s also an interview with his tour collaborator, Spike Jonze. It’s a photo tour through the life of Kanye. Sparkly.

Great White: The Majesty of Sharks

by Chris Fallows
Chronicle Books / October

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Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean we should stop having nightmares. South African photographer, Chris Fallows gets right up in there with great whites as well as hammerheads and more. A book as big, beautiful and terrifying as the animals themselves.

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Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

by Kevin Rafferty
Overlook Press / October

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A companion to the much-loved documentary about this famous Ivy league game. This is an account of the game from the player’s perspectives before, during and after.

My New Orleans: The Cookbook

by John Besh
Andrews McMeel / October

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Mario Batali says: “In his definitive tome, My New Orleans, John Besh captures the true, sweet, and honest voice of a clarinet playing the jazzy song of one of our most deliciously exclusive regional American kitchens.” That about sums it up, no? The book’s got 200 recipes, plus stories and insight into the history and culture of that amazing city. It’s like Mardi Gras in your own home! (beads and topless girls sold separately)

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Last Night in Twisted River

by John Irving
Random House / October

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Irving’s twelfth novel spans five decades and (we hope) is more engrossing than his last. But even when he’s not quite up to snuff, it’s still John Irving, and he’s one of the best writers out there. This one promises to be as “violent and disturbing” as “The World According to Garp.” Here’s the run-down for ya:

In 1954, in the cookhouse of a logging and sawmill settlement in northern New Hampshire, an anxious twelve-year-old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear. Both the twelve-year-old and his father become fugitives, forced to run from Coos County–to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto–pursued by the implacable constable. Their lone protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them.

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

by the Italian Academy of Cuisine
Rizzoli / October

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We’re going to let the publisher’s description do the work here…we’re too busy drooling to type… “Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.”

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James Bond Encyclopedia

by John Cork & Collin Stutz
DK Publishing / October

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Now updated with all the “Quantum of Solace”-ness, it’s the full-on guide for all things Bond.

Nigella Christmas: Food Family Friends Festivities

by Nigella Lawson
Hyperion / October

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The most divine cook on the planet returns with sumptuous holiday recipes for us to try. We’ll have a go with this one and will surely be highlighting a few of our favorites by gift-guide time.

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The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life

by Ivanka Trump
Touchstone / October

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Heaven help us, she has written a book! Sure, Daddy’s name can’t hurt, but she’s the youngest person ever to appear on the cover of Forbes, so we will anxiously await our press copy, highlighter in-hand…

Under the Dome

by Stephen King
Scribner / November

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November will feel like August this year with the release of King’s biggest novel since “The Stand” (or so we’re told). There will also be collectible editions of the book with trading cards, ribbon markers and other nerdy bits. Here’s the plot points from his website:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

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Jack Kennedy: The Illustrated Life of a President

by Chuck Willis
Chronicle Books / November

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Far more than a biography, this book has a 60-minute CD of the most famous speeches as well as removable bits and pieces like doodles and diary entries. This is one of those cool books that are both historical and fun to amuse the visitors of your coffee table regardless of their age.

Pirate Latitudes

by Michael Crichton
Harper / November

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Found amongst the late author’s files, Crichton’s newly discovered novel puts the 17th century Caribbean at its center; The remote English colony of Jamaica is the locale for this swashbuckling tale. Fans of the author will be happy to know that there is another (yet untitled) book of his to be published this fall. In a statement from his publisher, that title is a “techno thriller which explores the outer edges of new science and technology.” So keep your eyes peeled.

The film rights were snatched up last week by DreamWorks for Steven Spielberg to direct. Read all about it.

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Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager

by Max McCalman & David Gibbons
Clarkson Potter / November

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Just in time for holiday shopping, here’s a new volume for your foodie friends. These boys already have a few fromage-y titles on their shared CV, including “The Cheese Deck,” which is basically a set of cheese trading cards. Nerdy. Delicious.

The Nanny Returns

by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Atria Books / December

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Ten years after the original book that made a name for these two gals, we return to the uppity world of the X Family and all the drama that Park Avenue can muster.