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BOOKS

Local bestsellers for the week ending July 25

Based on reporting from the independent booksellers of the New England Independent Booksellers Association and IndieBound.

BOOKINGS

Virtual author readings for Aug. 1 - 7

All author appearances are virtual unless otherwise noted.

BOOK REVIEW

Songs of freedom in a new novel by Ha Jin

Ha Jin writes novels defined by profound thoughtfulness and quiet, unshowy grace. His unadorned prose; cool, hypnotic style; and nuanced, compassionate portraits of characters seeking freedom and fulfillment while running up against bureaucratic, political, and personal obstacles have won him a deservedly admiring readership. His latest novel, “A Song Everlasting,” marshals many of these winning features.

BIBLIOPHILES
Ron Rash is an American poet, short story writer, and novelist.

On re-reading Chekov and Hardy, among others

There are few female protagonists as strong, not to mention as scary, as Serena, the title character in Ron Rash’s 2008 best-selling novel, which was adapted into a film staring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Rash’s most recent story collection, “In the Valley,” just out in paperback this month, includes a novella that picks up Serena’s scorched earth trail

FOUR TAKES
Downtown Lewiston, Maine.

On Maine

In July, the summer people fan out to homes in Maine. For those who can only fantasize, books set in the state offer a fine alternative. An impressive roster encompasses writers from Thoreau and E.B. White to Ann Beattie, Richard Russo, and Elizabeth Strout (do not miss her Olive Kitteridge books). And though not all of Stephen King’s mysteries are set in Maine, he himself is.

BOOK REVIEW
Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan.

John Marshall Harlan biography recalls a Black man’s supreme influence

Peter S. Canellos's "The Great Dissenter" charts the entwined lives of two men.

NEW ENGLAND LITERARY NEWS
A new biography of James Vick includes images from the seed catalogue "Vick's Monthly Magazine."

Two new books about plants and the return of a popular bookstore focusing on Italian-American writing

News of a literary note from around the region.

STORY BEHIND THE BOOK

Actor Rob Sedgwick on his new memoir: ‘How someone like me ended up like this’

“Bob Goes to Jail” chronicles adventures with the law as well as his New York childhood.