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BORN IN THE BIG RAINS

Korn begins by describing her life as a feisty Somali nomad, freely roaming her country’s steppes. She undergoes FGM (female genital mutilation) at the age of seven, and everything changes. She is sent to Mogadishu for treatment of complications, and as civil war looms, finds herself living amid luxury in the capital with an uncle related to the president. Korn escapes the violence that envelops Somalia when she is sent to Europe for advanced medical care. There she finds physical and emotional release from trauma, marries a German, bears a child, and becomes an international anti-FGM activist.

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THE LAY OF THE LAND

A sportswriter and a real estate agent, husband and father—Frank Bascombe has been many things to many people. His uncertain youth behind him, we follow him through three days during the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving. But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, Frank discovers that what he terms “the Permanent Period” is fraught with unforeseen perils. An astonishing meditation on America today and filled with brilliant insights, The Lay of the Land is a magnificent achievement from one of the most celebrated chroniclers of our times.

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BASILICA

 Covering nearly four acres and soaring 425 feet at its highest point, St. Peter’s Basilica is both a monument to the glory of God and a testament to the genius, ambition, and will of men. R. A. Scotti’s Basilica chronicles the epic construction effort behind this architectural treasure.

Pope Julius II—who took both his name and his disposition from the Roman emperor—conceived St. Peter’s at the height of the Renaissance to replace Constantine’s fourth-century basilica. It was completed some 150 years later during the Baroque papacy of Alexander VII. Along the way, the printing press revolutionized mass communication,

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A CABINET OF WONDERS

 When the curtains are drawn back on the cabinet of wonders, every individual you meet is an original, the indelible mark of their uniqueness shaped in their flesh. Molly and Faye are spirited teenagers—and conjoined twins. Saffron is the Wolf Girl, her female form covered head to toe in fur. Alex/Alexandra is a seductive morphodite, her male/female parts irresistible to many.

To the rubes that pay good coin to see them, they are Freaks. To the other carnies—those who run the Ferris Wheel, the Girl Show, and more—they are the Starlight Carnival Royale’s most lucrative source of income,

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THE SECRETS OF A FIRE KING

Showcasing the intensity and perception of a truly gifted writer, this collection of stories by the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper’s Daughter transports us to exotic locations as it follows the lives of those on the fringes of society—a fire-eater, an American and his Korean war bride, a juggler and a trapeze artist, a cleaning woman whose life is interwoven with Marie Curie’s. Each must confront, in dramatically different ways, the barriers of time, place and circumstance in that most universal of human experiences: the quest to discover, and understand,

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MISTER PIP

A Commonwealth Prize Winner

Celebrating the timeless power of storytelling, Mister Pip unites the stirring tale of a young girl’s quest for hope with a marvelous tribute to a Charles Dickens classic. Thirteen-year-old Matilda is coming of age on a Pacific island that has been torn apart by war. Almost everyone, including her father, has left to find work or escape the danger. Among those few who remain is the eccentric and mysterious Mr. Watts, the island’s sole remaining white man, who takes on the role of teacher and begins to read Great Expectations aloud to the students.

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