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What to read this week: New books by Mimi Swartz, Maeve Higgins and Juliet McDaniel

"Mr. and Mrs. American Pie" by Juliet McDaniel (Inkshares, August 2018) Photo Credit: Inkshares

TICKER: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart, by Mimi Swartz. The first patient to receive an artificial heart (Barney Clark, in 1982) lived 112 days. Since then, heart surgeons and scientists have sought to create device that really works, experiencing both failures and tiumphs along the way. "Ticker" recounts this story with drama and flair, focusing on the characters in this medical drama. (Crown, $27)

MAEVE IN AMERICA: Essays by a Girl From Somewhere Else, by Maeve Higgins. The Irish-born comedian serves up 14 essays about her experiences since coming to this country in 2014, including the Kansas City Irish Fest and the Saint Patrick's Day parade in Queens. Other amusing subjects: renting a borrowed gown for a New York City ball, leading a comedy workshop in Iraq, the art of American small talk. (Penguin, $16 paper)

MR. AND MRS. AMERICAN PIE, by Juliet McDaniel. Slated to be developed by Laura Dern for a TV series, this debut novel tracks the fortunes of former beauty queen Maxine Simmons, who, as the 1970s begin, finds herself left by her husband and given the cold shoulder by Palm Springs society and exiled to Scottsdale, Arizona. Can she find her way back into their good graces by winning the Mrs. American Pie pageant? (Inkshares, $14.99 paper)

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