Check out these new arrivals at the Astoria Public Library:

John LeCarre offers new insight into George Smiley in "Call for the Dead," the first novel featuring the now-famous spy. The Cold War has started and will soon take center stage in the world's attention. Smiley clears Samuel Fennan of allegations, only to learn that Fennan took his life anyway. What was Fennan hiding?

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"A Murder of Quality" is the second George Smiley novel by John LeCarre. Miss Ailsa Brimley has received an ominous letter. A woman at a prestigious school claims that her husband is trying to kill her. Smiley sets out to investigate, but it is soon clear that logic will not help the emotional impacts in this case.

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Three novellas make up "The Courage Consort," by Michael Faber. In the title novella, an a cappella vocal ensemble gathers together to rehearse and finds discord. In "The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps," a lonely woman joins an archaelogical dig. And in "The Fahrenheit Twins," two children create their own ritual civilization.

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Cookbook author Nigel Slater offers readers scenes from his childhood in "Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger." After his mother's death, his father hires a housekeeper whose skills in the kitchen are strong. This begins a struggle for affection, with Slater using food in an attempt to win his father's attention.

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Mary Lamb stabbed her mother to death in 1796. Yet with her brother, Charles Lamb, she was allowed to live out her life. Co-author of "Tales from Shakespeare," she and Charles held a weekly salon hosting noted writers of the day. In "The Devil Kissed Her," researcher and author Kathy Watson tells Mary Lamb's story.

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While traveling, author Alberto Manguel suddenly realized that the novel he was reading, "Elective Affinities" by Goethe, was reflected in the world around him. His newest book, "A Reading Diary," was born in this experience. Manguel read one book a month and kept track of the ways in which literature illuminates life.

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How far must homeland security go in the name of freedom? Matthew Brzezinski examines that question in "Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security - An Inside Look at the Coming Surveillance State." He examines what a safe America might look like and what price Americans might pay.

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Alberto Granado and Ernesto Guevara took a trip in 1952, traveling through Chile, Peru, Colombia and Vene-zuela. Over seven months, they earned money as day laborers. At the journey's end, Che Guevara published his account as the "Motorcycle Diaries." Granado's memoir is titled "Traveling with Che Guevara," and describes the process that changed a distinguished medical student into a dedicated revolutionary.

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These travel stories won't tell you which hotel or restaurant to choose, but they will leave you amazed. In "My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere," Susan Orlean shares pieces of some of the journeys she has made. Some of the stories were born through assignment and some out of curiosity about a place. In some, she uses the location as a character in a narrative.

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Operation Encyclopedia led to "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World," by A.J. Jacobs. His wife believes this is a waste of time, his friends are sure he is losing his mind, and the 33,000 pages themselves are daunting. In this memoir, Jacobs shares his journey reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.

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