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November 18, 2005 Edition

The Bowl is Already Broken, by Mary Kay Zuravleff

Will the public shattering of a priceless porcelain bowl be the ruin of Washington DC’s Asian Art Museum? Or will it instead be the funds embezzled for fertility treatments by a desperate employee? Or perhaps protesters who claim there’s nothing American about housing the museum on the National Mall will win their case… Life in her museum is fraught with uncertainty, and interim director Promise Whittaker isn’t always sure she’s up to it, but she’s ready to roll up her sleeves and save her museum.

Three Day Road, by Joseph Boyden

Named for both for the canoe journey home and the journey the soul takes after death, this intense and harrowing story of two friends who go to war and the one who returns home takes place during World War I. Sent home after losing his leg and becoming addicted to morphine, Canadian Xavier Bird is met at the train station by his Aunt Niska, an Oji-Cree medicine woman, the last of his relatives. As she paddles him home, they take turns telling each other the stories of their lives, giving Xavier the will to live and laying to rest the spirit of Xavier’s friend and Niska’s nephew.

The Healer, by Michael Blumlein, MD

This haunting story of a talented Healer takes place in a world divided into two races: the Humans and their offshoot minority, the Grotesques. Tesques, distinguished in part by their malformed heads, often have an innate talent for healing, and Payne’s talent is one of the strongest ever encountered. Though his goal is to be the best Healer he can, he becomes a political pawn between Humans and other Tesque Healers fighting for their independence.

In the Province of Saints, by Thomas O’Malley

It is the 1970s and Michael McDonagh is growing up in the Irish village that his family has lived in for generations, hampered by old hatreds and aided by enduring loyalties, and always affected by the Troubles. His father has left to find work in America, leaving 12-year-old Michael and his twin sister Molly alone with their mother, who is dying of cancer. His uncles may be involved in the IRA. His girlfriend may be his half-sister. And he has got a lot of growing up to do in a very short time.

Q & A, by Vikas Swarup

When Ram Mohammad Thomas correctly answers all the questions in India’s biggest quiz show, he wins 1 billion rupees. But the producers, who don’t have the money to pay him, are quick to accuse the 18-year-old orphan, who has never read a newspaper or attended school, of fraud. Imprisoned, Ram tells his lawyer how he knew the answers to each question, in the process telling his life story and giving readers an intimate look at life in modern India.

The Thing About Jane Spring, by Sharon Krum

This comic romance could have been titled “What Would Doris Do?” Jane, a high-powered attorney and the good daughter of a military family knows how to be perfect in every way that her father demanded, but doesn’t understand that her father’s idea of “good” is pretty skewed. After scaring off her latest date, she consoles herself with a bottle of wine and a Doris Day marathon and realizes that she’s found a new heroine. But can she really make the switch from tiger to kitten?

Agent to the Stars, by John Scalzi

The Yherajk have come to Earth in friendship, but a survey of human television has convinced them that they’re going to have a hard time proving their innocent intent. Non-humanoid aliens are always evil, right? So what’s a gelatinous, shape-shifting race supposed to do to get in humanity’s good graces? Enter Thomas Stein, one of Hollywood’s hottest young agents, who finds himself with the biggest assignment of his career: make the Yherajk (and the smells through which they communicate) acceptable and give them the greatest introduction the world has ever seen.

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