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Noteworthy paperbacks

A House in the Sky: A Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. (Scribner) In August 2008, Lindhout – a 27-year-old Canadian traveler and fledgling television reporter – was kidnapped in Somalia along with photojournalist Nigel Brennan. This account of Lindhout’s 460 days in captivity is more than a gonzo adventure tale gone awry; it’s a powerful coming-of-age story and a narrative of forgiveness and spiritual triumph.

Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King. (Gallery) Dan Torrance, the little boy with psychic powers in “The Shining” (1977), is a man now, but the ghosts of his past have kept him drifting for decades. Trying to get his life together in a New Hampshire town, Dan becomes the protector of another magic child: Abra, whose astonishing gifts draw the attention of an otherworldly tribe of parasites who feed off children with the Shining.

Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, by Alysia Abbott. (Norton) After her mother’s death in 1973, Abbott and her father, Steve, left Atlanta for San Francisco, where he delved into the local literary scene and shed the last pretense of heterosexuality. (Steve Abbott died of AIDS-related complications in 1992, leaving behind a voluminous cache of journals.) “Fairyland” is Alysia’s clear-eyed reckoning with this truth and many others that defined her girlhood at the dawn of the gay liberation movement.

Fin & Lady, by Cathleen Schine. (Picador) Schine’s comic novel is a bittersweet elegy for Greenwich Village in the 1960s. When Fin is orphaned at age 11, he’s uprooted from a small dairy farm in Connecticut and left in the not-so-reliable hands of his 24-year-old half-sister, Lady, a wealthy free spirit who, Fin discovers, is as much his responsibility as he is hers.

The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville, by Clare Mulley. (St. Martin’s Griffin) The daughter of a Polish aristocrat and a Jewish heiress, Granville (1908-52) was one of Britain’s most highly decorated special agents of World War II; her feats of derring-do included parachuting into France in support of the Allied invasion and rescuing three comrades from certain execution. (She also acquired lovers at eye-popping speed.) Mulley’s admirable biography gives this courageous and complex woman her due.

The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri. (Vintage Contemporaries) Moving from India to America, from the political turmoil of the 1960s to the present, Lahiri’s potent novel follows Calcutta-born brothers – Udayan, rebellious and idealistic; and Subhash, dutiful and restrained – whose fates are bound by tragedy, a fiercely brilliant woman and a love that endures long past death.

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes-By Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe, by Mario Livio. (Simon & Schuster) Science is messy, so Livio profiles five great scientists – Darwin, Einstein, Lord Kelvin, Linus Pauling and Fred Hoyle – each of whom stumbled while making groundbreaking contributions in his field.

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