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Great Gifts, Great Books

1. "The Lovely Bones" (Little Brown & Co., $21.95) by Alice Sebold. Told from the perspective of a murdered young girl, this book is both heartbreaking and incredibly creepy.

2. "Everything Is Illuminated" (Houghton Mifflin Co., $24) by Jonathan Safran Foer. A novel concerning the revelations of a new generation to the horrors of the Holocaust; it is equal parts tragedy and comedy.

3. "Revenge: A Story of Hope" (Simon & Schuster, $24) by Laura Blumenfeld. In this personal memoir the author deals with the murder of her father by confronting the terrorist who killed him.

4. "Middlesex" (Farrar Strauss & Giroux, $27) by Jeffery Eugenides. Told from the perspective of a hermaphrodite, this novel is more about what humans hold in common with each other than the differences that separate them.

5. "The Bullet Meant for Me" (Broadway Books, $24.95) by Jan Reid. An autobiographical story about the mishap that left the author paralyzed.

6. "A Cold Spring" (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $23.95) by Edra Ziesk. Lives suddenly change directions in this beautifully written novel about the complexities of small-town life.

7. "Running with Scissors" (St. Martin's Press, $23.95) by Augusten Burroughs. A memoir about a pubescence that is too incredible to believe, but too captivating to forget.

8. "Wish You Were Here" (Grove Press, $25) by Stewart O'Nan. In this novel, the Maxwell family digs at the hard truths beneath the gloss of the nuclear family.

9. "Violence, Nudity and Adult Content" (Simon & Schuster, $24) by Vince Passaro. A novel that gives the reader a more literary approach to the legal-thriller genre.

10. "At Swim, Two Boys" (Scribner, $28) by Jamie O'Neill. A novel that eloquently follows the lives of two teenagers in Dublin in the year before Easter 1916.

— Francis W. Decker


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