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"Bill Warrington's Last Chance," by James King

Bill Warrington's three children escaped their father's domineering presence long ago, but with a new diagnosis that threatens his mind and his most cherished memories, this monumentally stubborn ex-Marine is determined to patch up their differences before it's too late.

The younger Warringtons, however, have their own issues to contend with: March's struggles to raise her headstrong teenage daughter on her own; Nick's inability to move on with his life after his wife's death; and Mike's egomaniacal, self absorbed philandering that threatens his career and his own family.

When all three grown siblings greet Bill's overtures with wary indifference, he improvises a scheme none of them could have foreseen: skip town with Marcy's 15-year-old daughter, April, whose twin ambitions to learn how to drive and to find rock stardom on the West Coast make her his perfect -- and perfectly willing -- abductee.

With the American heartland yielding to the Rockies, and her mother and uncles grappling with their own recollections as they scramble to find her, April's resolve to protect her grandfather -- and honor his final lucid wishes for them all -- culminates in a tour de force of reconciliation and atonement.

"The Vanishing of Katharina Linden," by Helen Grant

It isn't 10 year old Pia's fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia's little German hometown of Bad Munstereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is Stink-Stefan, the most unpopular child in school.

But then something else captures the community's attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a parade float, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm's fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn't return.

Stunningly suspenseful, marvelously morbid, and exceptionally winning, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is a new coming-of-age classic and the most accomplished fiction debut in years.

Nonfiction

"Cat Cora's Classics with a Twist," by Cat Cora with Ann Krueger Spivak

On the Food Network, Iron Chef Cat Cora fires up the imagination of millions of cooks by improvising exciting dishes while the clock is ticking. In this book, she shares the recipes she makes where cooking really counts: at home.

Cat helps you sneak out a few calories (when it improves the taste) and freshen things up, slipping chipotle chile croutons into Caesar salad or lemongrass into coq au vin. She reveals the secrets she learned over decades of cooking in restaurants.

Best of all, Cat shows you how to "twist" these recipes, changing each one in subtle or dramatic ways the next time to make it your very own.

"Packing the Court," by James MacGregor Burns

For decades now, Pulitzer Prize-winner James MacGregor Burns has been recognized as one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. Here he turns his eye to an institution of government that he believes has become more powerful, and more partisan, than the founding fathers envisioned -- the Supreme Court.

Remarkable as it might seem today, the framers did not intend the Supreme Court to be the ultimate arbiter in all constitutional issues and instead foresaw a more limited role for the highest court in the land. As Burns reminds us, the Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power of judicial review -- that is, the authority to strike down laws passed by Congress and signed by the president.

Drawing on over two centuries of Supreme Court history, "Packing the Court" offers a clear-eyed and provocative critique of judicial supremacy and concludes with a bold proposal to strip the court of its power to frustrate democratic leadership.

Others

"Last Call; the Rise and Fall of Prohibition," by Daniel Okrent; "Seaworthy," by Linda Greenlaw; "The Fort," by Bernard Cornwell; "By Nightfall," by Michael Cunningham

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