Check out these new arrivals at the Astoria Public Library, and visit the new Web site www.astorialibrary.org

What's the real story of the presidential wives of America? How much influence do they actually wield? Kari Marton examines twelve presidential couples in "Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages that Shaped our History." The chapters begin with Edith and Woodrow Wilson and end with Laura and George W. Bush.

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George Orwell may be best known for his novels "Animal Farm" and "1984," but he also authored many essays. His collected essays, journalism and letters are contained in four volumes edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus. Volume 1, "An Age Like This," covers 1920 to 1940. Volume 2, "My Country Right or Left," brings readers up to 1943. Volume 3, "As I Please," covers 1943 to 1945. Volume 4, "In Front of Your Nose," ends in 1950. Given the format of letters and essays, reading through these volumes is like stepping back in time.

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Veteran author Mary Higgins Clark poses the question of returning home in "No Place Like Home." Liza Barton had to kill her mother, and the courts ruled it an accident. But when her new husband surprises her with a gift - her childhood home - she is again the target of gossip and violence.

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Two couples in their first pregnancies have very different approaches to their coming parenthood. One plans to finance any problems that arise while the other insists on a home birth. But despite their differences, they find themselves constantly thrown together. "The Wives of Bath" was written by Wendy Holden.

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Rosie and Mark, living in the midst of a city, think a rustic home in the country is a great idea. Samantha and Guy are thinking along the same lines, although their idea of rustic is more grand. The two couples end up in "Eight Mile Bottom," surrounded by a number of eccentric neighbors. "Farm Fatale" was written by Wendy Holden.

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Maggie Walsh's life is a mess. Her husband is cheating, she's lost her job, and she has determined she will do something daring. Los Angeles becomes the site of her escape, where she finds herself among the beautiful people in the film world. "Angels" was written by Marian Keyes.

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Anthony Bourdain, executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York City has two books of nonfiction available.

"Kitchen Confidential" offers readers his memoir and an expose of his trade. Tracing his jobs from dishwasher to top positions as a chef, he includes kitchen tales from Tokyo, Paris and New York.

"A Cook's Tour" marries his love of travel with his love of cooking. In search of the perfect meal, Bourdain samples local delicacies in Japan, Saigon, Portugal, Moscow, London and France.

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Vince Camden pocketed the stolen credit cards and headed out for his poker game. Later, he would go to his witness-protection job, dusting donuts at Donut Make You Hungry. His past caught up to him when he saw an all too familiar face. "Citizen Vince" was written by Jess Walter.

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Jake Tiptree likes to fix up old homes and solve mysteries. In Eastport, Maine, there are plenty of both. In "Tool & Die," by Sarah Graves, Jake is driving down to see Jim Diamond, who may or may not be harassing his ex-wife. But when Jake gets there, she finds a killer has been there first. With her best friend, Ellie White, they have hardly begun the investigation when the killer strikes again.

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