Nearly 40 years have passed since Marilyn Monroe's death, but time hasn't dimmed the public's fascination for the glamorous Hollywood actress.
In ''Blonde,'' Joyce Carol Oates offers a novel based on Monroe's life, part of which is told in Monroe's voice.
It's among the latest hardcover books, which include novels by Danielle Steel, Jane Smiley and Francine Prose; and nonfiction about the Reagan administration, the crash that killed Princess Diana, Hillary Clinton's political aspirations, and movie star Judy Garland.
By Joyce Carol Oates
An author's note points out that ''while many of the characters ... have some counterparts in the life and times of Marilyn Monroe ... 'Blonde' should be read solely as a work of fiction and not as a biography.''
This 700-page saga begins with the troubled Depression-era childhood of Norma Jeane Baker and travels through her life in an orphanage, rise to Hollywood stardom as Marilyn Monroe, three marriages, many trysts, an affair with a handsome young president, and suicide at 36.
"Horse Heaven" (Knopf)
By Jane Smiley
Smiley, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for ''A Thousand Acres,'' has a passion for horses, which is reflected in this, her 10th novel. The story covers two years in the horse racing circuit, from Kentucky and California to New York and Paris, and introduces readers to a variety of characters: a billionaire owner and his wife, a good trainer and a ruthless one, riders, gamblers, horse-crazed fans and the horses themselves -- some champions, others potential champions.
"The Wedding" (Delacorte)
By Danielle Steel
Filmmaker Simon and TV writer Blaire have enjoyed a long, happy, atypical show business marriage. Among their three successful children is Allegra, 29, a lawyer with celebrity clients and little time for a personal life. But Allegra's chance meeting with a writer from New York leads to plans for a September wedding in her parents' Hollywood home -- and wedding preparations that create anxiety, chaos, a surprise and some reflection.
By Francine Prose
In this dark comedy, a longtime college teacher's downfall comes after he is reluctantly drawn into a romance with an offbeat but talented student. At first, Ted Swenson, creative writing teacher at a small Vermont school, is put off by Angela Argo's sulky mood and odd appearance. But her writing is exceptional. As he reads deeper into Angela's sexually charged novel about a teen-ager in love with her teacher, he becomes obsessed with Angela.
"Way Out There in the Blue"
(Simon & Schuster)
By Frances FitzGerald
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author analyzes the Reagan presidency with a focus on his ''Star Wars'' missile defense program. Reagan's famous 1983 speech called for U.S. scientists to develop an impregnable shield against nuclear attack. FitzGerald shows how Reagan used his understanding of American mythology, history and politics to sell the public on a program that was unfeasible and costly. The book includes new interviews with many key participants.
"The Bodyguard's Story"
By Trevor Rees-Jones
Rees-Jones was the bodyguard of Dodi Fayed, who, with Princess Diana and their driver, was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997. The only survivor, Rees-Jones offers his accounts of the events leading up to the crash, the investigation, and the surgical reconstruction of his injured face. He also describes how Fayed's father tried to pressure him into supporting his theory that the crash was staged by government agents to prevent Fayed from marrying Diana.
"The Case Against Hillary Clinton" (ReganBooks)
By Peggy Noonan
Noonan, a speechwriter in the Reagan White House, takes a critical look at the first lady's first foray into seeking political office and the implications her election as senator from New York would have on the state and the nation. Noonan probes Mrs. Clinton's motives for running, predicts how she will run her campaign and questions her qualifications.
By Gerald Clarke
This biography of Judy Garland, one of the most beloved and tragic figures in show business, comes 31 years after her death at age 47. Clarke spent 10 years researching and writing. He conducted hundreds of interviews and consulted documents previously unavailable, including legal papers that had been unopened for 90 years, and an unpublished memoir by Garland's makeup artist. Other sources include Garland's personal tape recordings and her unfinished memoir.
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