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New In Paperback: Nov. 29-Dec. 5

Dec 1, 2010

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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

A Novel

by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a lovely, old-fashioned story about the blossoming of an unlikely affair between the retired and chivalrous Major Pettigrew and Jasmina Ali, a local Pakistani store owner. Part of the story's delight is that both the Major and Jasmina are widowed, with no expectation of a second chance at love. Don't even try to resist this book's charm; just enjoy it. As the two protagonists' romance unfolds, you'll warm to the humor in the Major's dealings with his vapid, upwardly mobile son; and appreciate Simonson's handling of some very unsubtle racial prejudices in contemporary English village life. Even though the Major can't always manage to meet his own high standards, you'll be eager to support him as he figures out what love means to him.

384 pages, $15, Random House


Moon River And Me

A Memoir

by Andy Williams

Iconic in American popular culture, Andy Williams' career charts like a history of mid-20th-century entertainment. With more than 20 platinum and gold albums, 20 years in Las Vegas and a television run that surpassed 10 years, it amounts to seven decades of show business. At 82, Williams still tours and performs year-round, often at his Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo. His new memoir, Moon River and Me, is candidly fresh and frank. Williams says his father was the driving force in his early years. "It wasn't my passion to be a singer," Williams tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "It was really [my father's] passion to have his boys sing. And in the long run, I'm very glad that he instilled that in me and got me to do it."

320 pages, $16, Plume


Thank Heaven

A Memoir

by Leslie Caron

Leslie Caron was an 18-year-old ballet student living in postwar Paris when Gene Kelly cast her to play a wide-eyed young beauty he meets in the film An American in Paris. But just a few years before she became an international sensation, Caron and her family were eating dandelions that they'd gathered from along the railroad tracks during the war in France. She went on to star in Gigi and Daddy Long Legs, and became known for playing young French women who discover life, men and champagne. But "age crawls behind you and sneaks under your skin like an imposter," she writes in her memoir Thank Heaven, in describing her slide into alcoholism after age 50 and the intense effort it took to pull out of it.

288 pages, $16, Plume


How Markets Fail

The Logic of Economic Calamities

by John Cassidy

Free-market believers say that when individuals act in their own rational self-interest, society benefits. But that theory has skeptics — including John Cassidy, a writer for The New Yorker and author of How Markets Fail. What's his solution? "There should be a heavily regulated banking sector where you can deposit your money and the banks look after it safely," Cassidy tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "Then there should be a more widely regulated sector where the banks can take risks if they want, but if the risks turn out badly, they go bankrupt."

416 pages, $16, Picador


City Of Gold

Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism

by Jim Krane

In the late 1950s, Dubai was just a little village with no electricity, not a single concrete building or paved road and no running water. Now it's a place where Paris Hilton films her latest TV show. The Arab emirate began its stunning transformation in 1959, when it borrowed a few hundred-thousand pounds to build a port. That, in turn, helped Dubai attract Western businessmen, migrant workers from South Asia and billions of dollars in capital from every corner of the globe for its economy built on shipping and logistics, tourism (Dubai gets more annual tourists than does all of Australia or all of Brazil), construction and real estate, and a large financial services sector — though the later two sectors have been much damaged by debt in recent years. "There's a whole market of very fast-growing countries that don't have a big financial hub right now, and Dubai wants to be this hub," author and Associated Press journalist Jim Krane tells NPR's Renee Montagne. "But the damage to its financial reputation could put it out of the running for that job."

384 pages, $16, Picador


Charlotte Abbott edits "New in Paperback." A contributing editor for Publishers Weekly, she also writes the Follow the Reader blog about digital publishing issues.
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