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"Ruby & Roland" by Faith Sullivan; Milkweed Editions (240 pages, $25) ___ Love in its many permutations is the theme of the latest novel by Minneapolis writer Faith Sullivan - familial love, parental love, but mostly romantic love, and tragic romantic love at that. The book is populated with salt-of-the-earth, sensible characters - farm wives and schoolteachers and small-town merchants and ...

"The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century" by Clay Risen; Scribner (355 pages, $30) ___ In 1898, Teddy Roosevelt charged up a hill in Cuba and into history. Along the way, he put Tampa on the map. The Rough Riders, the volunteer unit that Roosevelt recruited and helped lead, sailed from Tampa into national legend. In "The Crowded Hour: ...

"The Institute" by Stephen King; Scribner (557 pages, $30) ___ It appears that when Stephen King was in Minnesota this year for the inaugural Wordplay book festival, he did a little studying up. One of the protagonists in this gripping story is from Minneapolis. Only a few pages of the action take place here, but there are repeated nods to the city throughout. And not just obvious ones, such ...

"Miracle Creek" by Angie Kim; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (355 pages, $27) ___ "Miracle Creek," a debut novel by former trial lawyer Angie Kim, is at once a gripping courtroom thriller with twists and turns, a deftly told, multigenerational immigrant family drama and a book about being an "autism mom." Two people are killed when an oxygen chamber, run by the Korean immigrant Yoo family as an ...

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"Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know" by Malcolm Gladwell; Little Brown and Company (387 pages, $30) ___ What does Malcolm Gladwell sound like when he's angry? That sounds like the setup for a joke when considering the best-selling author, New Yorker writer and podcast host, whose name has become synonymous for rational, at times contrarian, examinations of ...

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ST. LOUIS - 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 Sept. 10, it will be the sound of Handmaid's Nation becoming lost in 415 wonderful new pages. The developments will ...

"The Need" by Helen Phillips; Simon & Schuster (258 pages, $26) ___ Shirley Jackson meets Jordan Peele in this tale (thriller? sci-fi nightmare? mommy blog gone sideways?) of a young mother/paleobotanist whose life is upended by an intruder. Molly is every woman who's juggled an infant, a 4-year-old, a full-time job and a husband who travels. Her days are exhausting, tedious, mind-numbing, ...

"The First Mistake" by Sandie Jones; Minotaur Books (320 pages, $26.99) ___ By any measure, Alice has been through a lot. The mysterious death of her first husband, Tom, left her shattered and helpless, too emotionally weak to care for her daughter. After years of medications and doctors' care, she finally met Nathan and remarried, had another child and seems to be on the mend. Alice has ...

"Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents," edited by Lise Funderburg; University of Nebraska Press (213 pages, $24.95) ___ A person spends a lifetime trying not to become like his father only to look up one day and realize he's become his mother. Undoubtedly, parents influence us more deeply and irrevocably than any other people in our lives. The apple, after all, doesn't fall very far from the ...

"Everything Inside" by Edwidge Danticat; Knopf (240 pages, $25.95) ___ Home, they say, is where the heart is. For those who leave their native land, that can mean their hearts never heal. That's true of many of the characters in Edwidge Danticat's powerful new short story collection, "Everything Inside." Like Danticat herself, many of the people in these eight finely crafted stories are ...