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CHICAGO — Sandra Cisneros, at 66, firmly ensconced on Chicago’s literary Mount Rushmore, hasn’t lived in Chicago in ages. Not since she made a young, bold splash. If that doesn’t make you feel old, consider: “The House on Mango Street,” her signature, so routinely assigned to students now it’s practically a middle-school textbook, marks its 40th anniversary in a few years. What had once read ...

FICTION: Colm Tóibín's retelling of the life of Thomas Mann is infused with the larger issues of the 20th century. "The Magician" by Colm Tóibín; Scribner (512 pages, $28) ——— In the manner of "The Master," his celebrated 2004 novel about Henry James, Colm Tóibín has produced a fictional account of German writer and Nobel laureate Thomas Mann — the Magician, as Mann's children sometimes called ...

FICTION: The author of "Normal People" returns with another perceptive novel about relationships. "Beautiful World, Where Are You" by Sally Rooney; Farrar, Straus & Giroux (368 pages, $28) ——— Sally Rooney's "Normal People" was a masterful depiction of first love. Readers of the Irish author's second novel — and, later, viewers of the acclaimed Hulu series — followed Marianne and Connell ...

NONFICTION: The first biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in 30 years reminds readers of her significance, both in poetry and in politics. "Two-Way Mirror" by Fiona Sampson; W.W. Norton (320 pages, $27.95) ——— Today British poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning is remembered mostly for her love poetry — her line, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," written for her lover and eventual ...

Few people have had as much to say about the American diet as Mark Bittman. Between his bestselling cookbooks, four television series and 30-year run covering food for the New York Times, Bittman, 71, entrenched himself in America’s kitchens. But his latest tome goes further than teaching readers what to eat and why. With a multi-millennial sweep, he uses cuisine to track the evolution of Homo ...

In Maggie Nelson’s “Bluets,” her 2009 collection of poems on grief and loss, loneliness is “solitude with a problem.” Which is a useful way of understanding loneliness. Being alone and feeling lonely are not always the same thing. Except, of course, it’s complicated. Emily Dickinson wondered: Was loneliness “the maker of the soul”? Or its “seal”? Does loneliness define you? Or exacerbate ...

"Seeing Serena" by Gerald Marzorati; Scribner (272 pages, $26) ——— Game, set, matchless. For years, no one could touch Serena Williams. She’s won a record 365 women’s singles matches at major tournaments, four Olympic gold medals, and was ranked best women’s singles player in the world eight times. And the last time, in January 2017, she not only reached that honor at 35 — the oldest female ...

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