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What you should be buying next month

What you should be buying next month.

1. For the Dogs, by Kevin Wignall (Simon & Schuster, $22). After a young woman's entire family is murdered -- and now her life is in danger too -- she develops an intriguing bond with a hitman in this thriller that puts a troubling new spin on the wages of grief and vengeance.

2. Twinkle Twinkle, by Kaori Ekuni, translated by Emi Shimokawa (Vertical, $19.95). It's a very unusual marriage: To present a socially acceptable false front, gay young doctor Mutsuki needs a wife; perilously bipolar Shoko needs someone to look after her, in this novel about surprise and compromise.

3. Caliban's Shore, by Stephen Taylor (Norton, $24.95). In 1782, the Grosvenor, midvoyage from India to England, wrecked off the southeast African shore. Most of its passengers and crew swam ashore, but Taylor probes the extremes of human nature when recounting the castaways' mixed fates.

4. The Impartial Recorder, by Ian Sansom (Fourth Estate, $24.95). A man gets rich selling sandwiches while another imagines his dead son is still alive in this novel whose laugh-and-cry characterizations of small-town residents are so rich and exquisite that it hardly needs a plot. But it has one.

5. The Phish Companion,edited by the Mockingbird Foundation (Backbeat, $24.95). Fans will filet and devour these nine-hundred-plus pages of obsessive detail, collected over a decade by hundreds of volunteers: set lists, lyrics (indexed according to topic), insider interviews -- even a Phish-specific glossary.

6. Next! Please, by Christopher Inns (Tricycle, $14.95). Kindness abounds in this picture book for kids about a clinic for toys, in which a stuffed-rabbit doctor and a stern stuffed-dog nurse aid an eyeless teddy bear, a threadbare plush cat losing its stuffing, and other "patients."

7. Mortification, edited by Robin Robertson (Fourth Estate, $17.95). Dozens of famous authors from Roddy Doyle to Edna O'Brien to Irvine Welsh to Chuck Palahniuk shatter the glamour of seven-city book tours in these hilarious true tales of the utter humiliation they've endured.


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