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Fall into a book 

Books make us think. They help us reflect on the state of the world around us, and on who we are as people. Let one of these titles bend your mind a little. (Or just pick up the new J.K. Rowling.)

Mike's Election Guide

Michael Moore

Grand Central Publishing, $13.99/paperback (released Aug. 26)

It's been five years since Michael Moore hit the bookshelves with a new title. Now he's got one just in time for the election season. Mike's Election Guide attempts to muddle through all the political jargon and give Americans straight-shooting answers to questions like, "Can I get into the Electoral College with only a 2.0 GPA?" and, "I'm a little light in the pocket right now. Can my vote be bought?"

The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America's Energy Future

T. Boone Pickens

Crown Business, $26.95/hardcover (release date: Sept. 2)

The First Billion is the Hardest provides a glimpse into the struggles of one of the world's richest men, 80-year-old T. Boone Pickens. Out of the trials of a divorce, clinical depression and the loss of 90 percent of his investing capital, Pickens, then in his late 60s, picked himself back up and turned everything around. Today, the billionaire not only shares his story but offers his thoughts on America's dependence on foreign oil and what he believes to be a solution.

Third Term: Why George W. Bush (Hearts) John McCain

Paul Begala

Simon & Schuster, $14/paperback (release date: Sept. 9)

Of course, Michael Moore's book isn't the only political tome to grace store shelves. Paul Begala, veteran political strategist and author of Is Our Children Learning?: The Case Against George W. Bush, doesn't exactly (heart) John McCain. Third Term gets right to the reasons why the senator from Arizona shouldn't be America's next president. Don't miss the chapter, "Things John McCain is older than."

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession

Anne Rice

Knopf, $24/hardcover (release date: Oct. 7)

Anne Rice's first 25 books were wrapped up primarily in vampires, witches and the gothic landscape of New Orleans. Then in 2002, according to her Web site, after returning to the Catholic faith, she "consecrated her writing entirely to Christ, vowing to write for Him or about Him." In Called Out of Darkness, Rice presents her first memoir, and explains her journey from girlhood in a devout Catholic family, to college radical, to published author and atheist, and back to devout Catholic again.

2666

Roberto Bolao (translated by Natasha Wimmer)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30/hardcover (release date: Nov. 11)

Yes, it's 912 pages. Yes, it's translated from Spanish. And, yes, it revolves around the unsolved and still ongoing serial murders in Ciudad Juarez. But if there is any literary novel receiving more buzz than 2666, it's hard to find. Chilean author Roberto Bolao wrote this in the last years of his life, and reviewers are praising it now as "one of the cornerstones that define an entire literature." It might take all fall Bolao reportedly wanted it to be released as five separate novels over five years but reading it should be unforgettable.

Outliers: Why Some People Succeed and Some Don't

Malcolm Gladwell

Little, Brown & Co., $27.99/hardcover, (release date: Nov. 18)

If you haven't read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference or Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, what have you been reading? Malcolm Gladwell follows up his two No. 1 New York Times bestsellers with Outliers: Why Some People Succeed and Some Don't. He asks: What makes high-achievers different? Why do some people do special things with their lives while others just watch the days go by? If Gladwell's first two works are any example, he's certain to have something super-smart to say.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

J.K. Rowling

Children's High Level Group, $12.99/hardcover, (release date: Dec. 4)

OK, so this comes out after Thanksgiving, which technically is our cutoff for this Fall Arts Preview. But it's J.K. Rowling! The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of five wizarding fairy tales, mentioned in her seventh and final Harry Potter novel. She originally produced just seven handmade copies of the book (one copy was purchased at auction by amazon.com and can be seen with detailed spoilers on Amazon's Beedle the Bard Web page), but now she's releasing the stories for publication to the world. Happy early holidays to one and all!

kakens@csindy.com

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