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The pandemic has forced many to rethink and readjust their present with their future. Some have left jobs that provided steady paychecks and a predictable complacency for unknown, yet meaningful passion projects. Others are are taking more control of their destinies as they see fit. Unwilling to settle in life anymore. So why would you settle in death? That’s the question Kathy Benjamin, ...

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It might be a good weekend to cozy up next to the fan with a good book. Here are six new options for readers of all ages. — Anthony Veasna So's "Afterparties" is a stunning collection of stories of generations of Cambodian American immigrants who must reconcile the trauma of the Khmer Rouge genocide with themselves, each other and their adopted country. The promising author's debut has been ...

FICTION: A boy's search leads him around the world. "Ramadan Ramsey" by Louis Edwards; Amistad (400 pages, $27.99) ——— "Ramadan Ramsey" starts with a simple sentence and a grand tone: "Ramadan was blessed." What follows feels like the beginning of a tall tale, where a boy with a terrible temper that "might somehow be employed to destroy" stomps through his grandmother's New Orleans duplex. The ...

FICTION: A debut collection centered on myriad facets of the Korean-American experience. "Skinship" by Yoon Choi; A.A. Knopf (304 pages, $26) ——— Yoon Choi's "Skinship" comes wrapped in extravagant praise from luminaries such as Chang-rae Lee, Weike Wang and Adam Johnson: the stuff of first-time authors' dreams. Believe the hype. Choi's collection of short stories is an inventive, dazzling ...

"Another Kind of Eden" by James Lee Burke; Simon & Schuster (243 pages, $27) ——— When Aaron Broussard rolls out of a freight car with his duffel and his guitar near Denver in 1962, the American West looks almost like heaven to him. A Southerner haunted by his region’s dark history, he’ll discover in "Another Kind of Eden" that the West, like the South, brims with beauty, bounty and blood. ...

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh's first book revealed who he was and where he came from. "When Skateboards Will be Free" (2009) was a candid, clear-eyed memoir of what he called his "political childhood," namely his years spent growing up in Pittsburgh and being force-fed the socialist dogma of an Iranian-born father and American Jewish mother. His next book showed what he could do not with fact, but with ...

"Clark and Division" opens with an arresting image of its narrator’s birth in the 1920s. Her older sister, 3-year-old Rose, was so eager for the new baby that she wriggled past the midwife trying to aid the breech delivery and, as “the first one to see an actual body part of mine, yanked my slimy foot good and hard.” Aki Ito, the narrator of Naomi Hirahara’s new historical novel, repays the ...

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NONFICTION: Anna Qu tells the harrowing tale of working in her parents' sweatshop. "Made in China" by Anna Qu; Catapult (224 pages, $26) ——— To write about trauma, memoirist Debra Gwartney advises, "when the action is hot, write cool." Anna Qu's debut memoir "Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor" embodies this guidance. Qu writes with clarity and restraint about her Cinderella-terrible ...

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FICTION: Fierce and funny stories about the lives, loves and private hauntings of Cambodian Americans. "Afterparties" by Anthony Veasna So; Ecco (272 pages, $27.99) ——— Anthony Veasna So's collection, "Afterparties," is extraordinary, both for its underexplored subject matter and for the fierce and funny voice detailing the lives of Cambodian Americans in California, from Stockton to Silicon ...

NONFICTION: A fascinating memoir about a Utopian city in India — which proves less than ideal. "Better to Have Gone" by Akash Kapur; Scribner (344 pages, $27) ——— The most surprising aspect of Akash Kapur's "Better to Have Gone: Love, Death, and the Quest for Utopia in Auroville" is the author's well-disposed view of the leaders, beliefs and practices of Auroville, a planned city founded in ...

Time again for a paperback roundup! Here are six new ones, all guaranteed to take you somewhere far from your armchair or front porch. "Transcendent Kingdom" by Yaa Gyasi (Vintage, $16). The author of "Homegoing" returns with the tale of a graduate neuroscience student from an immigrant evangelical family. "Triumphant as the journey of a first-generation American to a Stanford Ph.D. might ...

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