Insane City by Dave Barry (Putnam) The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist's first solo adult novel in more than a decade is a typically absurdist comic story about everything — and then some — that goes wrong for Seth and his friends en route to his destination wedding.
The King Years by Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster) From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the "America in the King Years" trilogy comes this panoramic look at 18 pivotal moments that shaped the civil rights movement, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1963 march on Washington, the Birmingham church bombing and the 1964 Freedom Summer.
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor) Sanderson delivers the 14th and final book in the late Robert Jordan's best-selling "Wheel of Time" fantasy series.
Ten Years Later by Hoda Kotb with Jane Lorenzini (Simon & Schuster) The "Today" show host profiles six individuals who are testament to perseverance and the power of second chances. Among her subjects are a woman who escaped an abusive relationship, a civilian hero of 9/11 who lost loved ones that day, and a Peabody Award-winning network producer who emerged from drug addiction.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Knopf) Pulitzer Prize-winner Lawrence Wright expands his controversial 2011 New Yorker piece, "The Apostate: Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology."
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S.E.C.R.E.T., by L. Marie Adeline (Broadway) Reportedly all the rage at the Frankfurt Book Fair last October, this novel written under a pseudonym is being described as "the Canadian 50 Shades of Gray."
The Soundtrack of My Life by Clive Davis with Anthony DeCurtis (Simon & Schuster) He signed the people who wrote and performed the songs that make the whole world sing, including Barry Manilow, Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel and Aretha Franklin. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Lifetime Achievement Grammy-winner charts his legendary career.
Middle Men by Jim Gavin (Simon & Schuster) New Yorker contributor Jim Gavin's debut story collection, praised as "exceptional" in a starred Kirkus review, portrays a group of men whose dreams are at odds with the reality of their lives.
Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson (Little, Brown) The brilliant detective is on the case of a serial killer terrorizing Washington, D.C., while someone is stalking him.
Long Shot by Mike Piazza with Lonnie Wheeler (Simon & Schuster) From the 62nd round of the 1988 baseball draft to Rookie of the Year and finally the World Series, All-Star catcher Mike Piazza gives the play-by-play of his life and career. The book reportedly tells the story behind his volcanic confrontation with Roger Clemens in the 2000 World Series against the New York Yankees.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Atria/Emily Bestler Books) Best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult cooks up this fraught tale of Sage Singer, a baker, who strikes up an unexpected friendship with Josef Weber, an elderly man in her grief support group who harbors "a long-buried and shameful secret."
Six Years by Harlan Coben (Dutton) Another twisty tale from the author of "Tell No One," in which a man attends the funeral of the man whom he believed had married his long-lost love, Natalie. Surprise (unless you're a regular Coben reader): The widow is not Natalie. Thus begins his desperate search for the woman who broke his heart.
Whitey Bulger: America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt that Brought Him to Justice by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy (W.W. Norton) The title says it all. It's written by the Boston Globe writers who have owned the Bulger beat. It's worth picking up if "Black Mass," the 2000 account of the Bulger saga by Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, left you hanging.
Rita Moreno, A Memoir (Celebra) The former Rosita Dolores from Puerto Rico adds memoirist to her estimable resume (she is one of the few entertainers with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards). Her autobiography will hit career milestones, such as "West Side Story" and "The Electric Company," as well as her struggles with discrimination. Oh yes, and dating Elvis Presley.
The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins) This historical novel comes billed as "an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power and loss in early 20th century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned."
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Random House) From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Olive Kitteridge" comes this story about two brothers who are compelled by their sister to return to the hometown they escaped when her teenage son gets into
Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou (Random House) Maya Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with her indomitable mother, Vivian Baxter, who sent then 3-year-old Maya and her older brother from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Ark., when her marriage fell apart. Their reunion sets in motion a story of love, resentment and
Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett (Simon &
Schuster) Entertainer Carol Burnett chronicles the troubled, triumphant and tragic journey of her daughter Carrie, who died of cancer at age 38. Burnett shares personal diary entries, correspondence and a never-before-published short story her daughter
My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding (Penguin) A best-seller in England, this memoir by the award-winning British broadcaster chronicles her childhood in a family of champion horse trainers to the Queen.
Unsinkable by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway (William Morrow) The star of "Singin' in the Rain," mother of Carrie Fisher and center of one of Hollywood's most scandalous love triangles recalls career highlights from the Golden Age of Hollywood and personal low-lights (one husband left her for Elizabeth Taylor; another left her bankrupt) in this follow-up to her 1988 autobiography, "Debbie: My Life."
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton) The author of such fun and accessible science books as "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" and "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void" gives readers an inside look at the human body.
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Little, Brown) This new collection of essays explores the perils of French dentistry, the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, a North Carolina Costco and other exotic adventures.
If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother by Julia Sweeney (Simon & Schuster) Julia Sweeney delivers a compilation of personal stories about being a mother. The former "Saturday Night Live" star, now living in the Chicago area, guides readers along her unconventional path toward parenthood and shares her funny and often poignant experiences with religion, nannies, pets, schools and explaining the birds and the
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead) Weaving back and forth from the 1970s to the present, this novel from the author of "This is Your Life" and "The Ten-Year Nap" charts the friendships between six uniquely talented teenagers who meet at a summer camp.
The Center Holds by Jonathan Alter (Simon & Schuster) In this sequel to his best-seller "The Promise," Chicago native Jonathan Alter offers an insider account of the 2012 presidential election and how President Obama overcame a stagnant economy, bitterly partisan political gridlock and what Alter perceives to be his weaknesses as politician and communicator.
Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson with Hugh Delehanty (Penguin) This memoir of NBA coach Phil Jackson's unprecedented 11 championships focuses on his innovative style of leadership, which emphasized selfless teamwork.
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Random House) From the author of the National Book Award-winning "Let the Great World Spin" comes this series of narratives spanning 150 years.
High Rise Stories by Audrey Petty (McSweeney's) In the tradition of Studs Turkel, "High Rise Stories" puts a human face on Chicago's now demolished housing projects. Former residents of Cabrini-Green, Henry Horner and Robert Taylor share their first-person accounts of their hopes and struggles with poverty, gentrification and displacement.
My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles, edited by Peter Biskind (Metropolitan) Culled from long-lost tapes, this book captures the legendary director in unguarded lunchtime conversations with independent filmmaker Henry Jaglom, a friend of his.
The Longest Road by Philip Caputo (Henry Holt) Ride along with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Rumor of War," who in 2011 at age 70, packed up his wife and two English setters and set off from Key West, Fla., to Deadhorse, Alaska, (the southernmost and northernmost points of the United States reachable by road) to gain an understanding of what holds the country together.
Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner (Simon & Schuster) In this posthumously published tell-all, screen goddess Ava Gardner dishes about her husbands — Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra — and lovers Howard Hughes and George C. Scott.
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (Scribner) In this eagerly anticipated sequel to "The Shining," middle-aged Dan Torrance, the young boy in the original story, must save a 12-year-old girl with a supernatural gift who is being pursued by "a tribe of murderous paranormals."
Publication date to be announced
Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (Penguin) HBO has acquired the rights to this chronicle of the 2012 presidential election by the authors of the best-seller "Game Change."
Donald Liebenson writes features with an emphasis on culture, community and entertainment. He lives in Highland Park.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun