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Fiction

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Stephen Graham Jones, whose work runs the gamut of horror, science fiction, crime fiction and experimental novels, here crafts “a thought-provoking trip to the edge of your seat in this rural creature feature,” wrote Kirkus Reviews in a starred review.

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This book’s premise is irresistible: Mild-mannered bookseller Malcolm has published on his blog a list of fiction’s eight most perfect murders — ranging from Agatha Christie to Donna Tartt — only to find himself eyed with suspicion when a local serial killer seems to be making his way through the list.

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The seven essays in this book, subtitled “In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading and Life,” are derived from the Russian literature class that George Saunders has taught for decades at Syracuse University, examining how fiction works and why it matters. Penguin Random House, Jan. 12

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Can a fiction be truth? That's the heady question behind the great Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy," in which an antiques dealer (Juliette Binoche) and a writer (William Shimell) debate the essence of authenticity in art and what, exactly, constitutes a reproduction (perhaps everything). The film has its own metamorphosis of sorts too as the nature of even their relationship becomes amorphous and obscured when a farce about the two being married ends up becoming very real. It was an audacious and provocative film to kick off a decade of cinema and while the answers remain elusive, the experience and ideas are those that nine-plus years on have continued to provoke. — Bahr

Parents need to know that Elizabeth Acevedo’s New York Times bestseller “The Poet X” is a coming-of-age story that deals with a teen girl, Xiomara, growing up as a thoroughly American young woman with a developed body in a deeply religious immigrant home. There are instances of street harassment, parental abuse, religious discussions, sexual exploration (some kissing, and one scene of heavy petting), and the revelation of a character being gay. Xiomara hits boys who ogle and grope her and also fights boys who threaten her brother. As punishment, her mother makes her kneel on uncooked rice and hits Xiomara, causing injury. Parents should be prepared to talk about agency, finding your voice, religious texts and meaning.

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