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    FICTION: A 19th-century teacher and amateur scientist studies the mysteries of the natural world — and the human heart. "Natural History" by Andrea Barrett; Norton (224 pages, $26.95) ——— Every life is an experiment. A series of experiments, really. We test our theories about ourselves and the world through our actions, observing our own trials and shaping the hypotheses that reveal us — if ...

      FICTION: Set in post-World War I London, Atkinson's latest follows a nightclub owner and her nefarious enterprises. "Shrines of Gaiety" by Kate Atkinson; Doubleday (416 pages, $29) ——— Wonderfully balanced between the literary bravura of novels like "Life After Life" and the more mundane but ample pleasures of her Jackson Brodie mysteries, Kate Atkinson's "Shrines of Gaiety" puts a cast of ...

        SAN DIEGO — How big is author Mathew Klickstein's new oral history of San Diego Comic-Con? As big as it needs to be. Released earlier this month on Fantagraphics Books, the epically titled "See You At San Diego: An Oral History of Comic-Con, Fandom, and the Triumph of Geek Culture" is nearly 500 pages long and features more than 400 photos and graphics. It has a massive cast of interviewees ...

          FICTION: Namwali Serpell's luminous new novel about a missing child bends and blends genre in a searching exploration of grief. "The Furrows" by Namwali Serpell; Hogarth (288 pages, $27) ——— On a Delaware beach vacation, 12-year-old Cassandra Williams (also known as Cee, or C) is swimming with her adored 7-year-old brother, Wayne, when a tide hooks him between the furrows of its waves. ...

            "The Marriage Portrait," by Maggie O'Farrell. The author of "Hamnet" imagines the fictionalized story of another real person — Lucrezia de' Medici, a Renaissance teenager who married at 15 and was dead within the year. Of putrid fever? Or of murder? "Hamnet," a reimagining of the life and death of Shakespeare's son, won the Women's Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. ...

              FICTION: A deathbed confession sends a woman on a search for the truth about her identity — and about the very nature of identity. "Mother Tongue" by Joyce Kornblatt; Publerati (176 pages, $17.95) ——— "Mother Tongue," by Joyce Kornblatt, gives "speculative fiction" a whole new meaning. Nella Pine, in a letter discovered after her mother's death, has learned that she is not in fact Nella Pine, ...

                Celebrated British author Hilary Mantel died Thursday at age 70, her agent and publisher said in a joint statement Friday. Mantel won the U.K.’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, now just called the Booker Prize, twice. She scored the award in 2009 for “Wolf Hall” and then in 2013 for “Bring Up the Bodies” — the first two books in a trilogy about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court ...

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