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THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday) In

THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)

In this debut novel, the magical 19th century circus of the title arrives in town surreptitiously, under cover of darkness — not a soul sees them pitching their tent. In the real world, however, Morgenstern’s book is descending on bookstores with maximum fanfare — already optioned by Summit Entertainment, which produced the “Twilight” movies, and garnering ecstatic Harry Potter comparisons from booksellers. Here, two young magicians, Celia and Marco, are locked in a life-or-death contest staged by their mentors; reality-shattering romance ensues. (Sept. 13)

Fall books preview

Here are 10 great new books to read this fall. By Tom Beer

THE ROGUE: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,
(Credit: Handout)

THE ROGUE: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, by Joe McGinniss (Crown)

Here’s one that already has Washington buzzing. Investigative journalist McGinniss (“The Selling of the President”) made news when he rented a house next to Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska. Was he “spying,” as Palin insinuated, or simply conducting research and interviews around Palin’s hometown, as he argued? We’ll find out when copies of “The Rogue” — which have been unavailable to press — hit bookstores later this month. (Sept. 20)

THE MARRIAGE PLOT, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus

THE MARRIAGE PLOT, by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Eugenides’ first novel since the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex” (2002) follows the confused love triangle of three college grads in the early 1980s: Madeleine, a brainy devotee of Victorian literature; her biologist boyfriend, Leonard, who suffers from severe manic depression (a portrait partly inspired by David Foster Wallace); and Mitchell, whose unrequited love for Maddie sends him to seek enlightenment in Paris and Calcutta. (Oct. 11)

THE STRANGER'S CHILD, by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf, Oct
(Credit: None/)

THE STRANGER'S CHILD, by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf, Oct 2011)

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ROME: A Cultural, Visual and Personal History, by

ROME: A Cultural, Visual and Personal History, by Robert Hughes (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Australian-born art critic, who wrote for Time magazine from 1970 to 2001, takes us on a fluent and passionate tour of the Eternal City, which he first discovered as an architecture student in 1959. Here are the pleasures of Roman food, the architectural majesty of St. Peter’s Square, the stunning detail of an equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitoline Hill and many other aesthetic glories. (Nov. 2)

THE PRAGUE CEMETERY, by Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin

THE PRAGUE CEMETERY, by Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

From the Italian master who gave us “The Name of the Rose” comes a lurid new novel set in 19th century Europe, a feverish world of anti-Semitism, radical conspiracies, secret societies and revolutionary plots. Richly informed by European history, Eco suggests that one man was behind all the turmoil. (Nov. 8)

11/22/63, by Stephen King (Scribner) Quick, history students,

11/22/63, by Stephen King (Scribner)

Quick, history students, what’s the significance of that date? Correct answer: The JFK assassination. King’s new novel, which opens in a small Maine town in the present day, imagines a portal to 1958, and his protagonist, a divorced high school teacher, travels back in time to change history. (Nov. 8)

BLUE NIGHTS, by Joan Didion (Alfred A Knopf)

BLUE NIGHTS, by Joan Didion (Alfred A Knopf)

“The Year of Magical Thinking,” Didion’s book about her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack, is a classic account of grief (later adapted into a play starring Vanessa Redgrave). Didion’s new book is, if anything, more shattering — a wide-ranging meditation on human frailty, impermanence and memory, set in motion by the death of her daughter, Quintana, at the age of 39. (Nov. 4)

THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday) In

THE NIGHT CIRCUS, by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday)

In this debut novel, the magical 19th century circus of the title arrives in town surreptitiously, under cover of darkness — not a soul sees them pitching their tent. In the real world, however, Morgenstern’s book is descending on bookstores with maximum fanfare — already optioned by Summit Entertainment, which produced the “Twilight” movies, and garnering ecstatic Harry Potter comparisons from booksellers. Here, two young magicians, Celia and Marco, are locked in a life-or-death contest staged by their mentors; reality-shattering romance ensues. (Sept. 13)

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RIN TIN TIN: The Life and the Legend,

RIN TIN TIN: The Life and the Legend, by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster)

Orlean (“The Orchid Thief”) returns with an exhaustive book on the German shepherd whose big-screen adventures enchanted generations of Americans. The dog was real, at first — a puppy discovered on a World War I battlefield — but after his death in 1932, Rin Tin Tin was, variously, a movie and TV character, the many dogs who played him, an embodiment of canine devotion, a marketing bonanza and a subject of multiple lawsuits. (Sept. 27)

THE SWERVE: How the World Became Modern, by

THE SWERVE: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton & Co.)

The fascinating story of a book that changed the course of history. The Bible? The Origin of the Species? Das Kapital? No, Greenblatt (“Will in the World”) is writing about a little-remembered poem from ancient Rome, Lucretius’ “On the Nature of Things.” After its rediscovery in the 15th century, the book was copied and disseminated, upending prevailing notions about the universe and paving the way for the Renaissance. (Sept. 19)

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