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What’s new: Stories by Tom Hanks, a memoir by Amy Tan, Kate Winkler Dawson’s account of a London serial killer

"Uncommon Type: Some Stories" by Tom Hanks Credit: Knopf

UNCOMMON TYPE: Some Stories, by Tom Hanks. Yes, the Oscar-winning actor is also a serious writer of fiction. This collection of 17 stories — all somehow featuring a typewriter — are the real deal, not a celebrity vanity project. (One has been published in The New Yorker.) They’re full of quirky characters and real emotion; one delight features four friends who build a rocket to the moon. (Knopf, $26.95)

WHERE THE PAST BEGINS: A Writer’s Memoir, by Amy Tan. Known for her novels, including “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Valley of Amazement,” the bestselling author here offers a self-portrait through a hodgepodge of essays on writing and inspiration, chapters of memoir, selected correspondence with her mother and random other pieces. Most illuminating are the sections dealing with her immigrant Chinese family. (Ecco, $28.99)

DEATH IN THE AIR: The True Story of a Serial Killer, The Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City, by Kate Winkler Dawson. Things were looking dark for London in December of 1952. The city was blanketed in a toxic cloud that reduced visibility and killed thousands. Dawson chronicles the crisis alongside the tale of serial killer John Reginald Christie, who struck that winter. (Hachette, $27)

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