Joe Goffman had planned on never going home again, so his first novel viciously treated everyone in his Connecticut home town. When the novel became a hit and then a hit movie as well, Joe thought his bridges effectively burned. But now his estranged father is in a coma and his first day back in town shows him a glimpse of how people feel about him. "The Book of Joe" was written by Jonathan Tropper.

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Does birth order really determine one's success in life? Dalton Conley examines the question in "The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why." We all like to believe that all children in a family will succeed equally and that cases of extreme opposites are exceptions. Dalton believes that it is within families that inequality begins and that it is the norm.

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Ireland's history is interwoven into "The Princes of Ireland: The Dublin Saga," a new novel by Edward Rutherfurd. A large cast of characters people the centuries between the pre-Christian Ireland and the Irish invasion of England under Henry VIII. Monks, smugglers, druids, chieftains, noblewomen, merchants, rebels and cowards all take their place in this historical fiction.

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A fourth generation New York City police officer, Edward Conlon, tells the story of his life in "Blue Blood." From his great-grandfather's first day on the job through his own career, Conlon outlines the job as it truly affects the course of a police officer's life. Still a detective with NYPD, Conlon includes Sept. 11 and its aftermath.

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Kindness is power, and life is joyous for physician Rachel Naomi Remen. Recalling tales from her grandfather and his wisdom, she has produced two books of inspirational thought and guidance. "Kitchen Table Wisdom" and "My Grandfather's Blessings" contain stories of strength, healing, refuge and belonging.

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Books two, three and four of the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell are now available. Book Two is "Copperhead." It covers the battle of Ball's Bluff in 1862. Book Three, "Battle Flag," takes Starbuck from the Battle of Cedar Mountain through the Second Battle of Manassas, 1862. And Book Four, "The Bloody Ground," describes the Battle of Antietam, 1862.

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The 12th book in Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkin's "Left Behind" series has arrived. In "The Glorious Appearing: The End of Days," the Antichrist has assembled many armies in the Valley of Megiddo. The Tribulation Force has gone to the Middle East, and only one of the four original members of the force remains alive.

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Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Steve Coll traces the movements of the CIA, the KGB and other intelligence agencies in Afghanistan from 1979 through the attack on the World Trade towers. He describes the Taliban's rise to power and the circumstances in which bin Laden was able to form his alliances in "Ghost Wars."

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Can three siblings grow up in the same house and have dramatically different experiences? In Elizabeth Berg's new novel, "The Art of Mending," a family reunion verifies that they can. Laura, Steve and Caroline confront their childhood memories at the annual reunion. Forgiveness comes through with Berg's characteristic compassion and insight.

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"Traces of the Brush: The Art of Japanese Calligraphy," by Louise Boudonnat and Harumi Kushizaki, presents the complex heritage of this beautiful art form. Text and photographs combine to illustrate the art of kana and the development of bokuseki. Illustrations, poetry and literary excerpts enhance the photographs.

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