Readers who have been waiting for new novels by Dave Barry or Tami Hoag or Les Standiford can find them now -- in one book.
Those three popular writers are among the nine who collaborated on ''The Putt at the End of the World,'' a comic suspense novel about zany golfers in a tournament that could determine the fate of the world.
It's among the latest hardcover books, which include novels by Joseph Heller, Danielle Steel and John Jakes; and nonfiction by Bill Bryson, Stewart O'Nan, Doris Grumbach and Harold Bloom.
'The Putt at the End of the World'
Lee K. Abbott, Dave Barry, Richard Bausch, James Crumley, James W. Hall, Tami Hoag, Tim O'Brien, Ridley Pearson and Les Standiford each wrote one chapter of this novel about a multibillionaire software mogul, Phil Bates, who invites celebrities, world leaders and three talented but flawed golfers to compete at the inaugural of his course in Scotland. Among the uninvited guests are the world's most elusive terrorist, and a golfer who prefers playing naked.
'Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man'
(Simon & Schuster)
By Joseph Heller
In this last novel by Heller, who died in 1999 at 76, the main character is Eugene Pota, a 70-ish author who is writing what he believes will be his last novel. Pota's first book was a widely acclaimed novel based on his World War II experiences. But that was long ago, and none of his subsequent books matched its impact. As Pota struggles for ideas for the new book, he reflects upon his life and career, and writers he admires.
'The House on Hope Street'
By Danielle Steel
Jack and Liz, happily married for 18 years and parents of five, are the subjects of Steel's 49th novel. One Christmas morning, Jack is murdered by an enraged neighbor. Liz returns to work and coaches her learning-disabled youngest son for the Special Olympics, but adjusting to life without Jack proves difficult. Just before Labor Day, her oldest son has a serious accident. His surgeon befriends Liz and brings renewed hope into her life.
'On Secret Service' (Dutton)
By John Jakes
Jakes (''North and South'' trilogy) offers his first Civil War novel in 10 years. It's about the war within the war, fought by spies and counterspies for both the Union and Confederacy. It focuses on four young people -- a spy, a rebel, an actress and a soldier -- whose lives are intertwined. Historical backdrops include the Pinkertons' role in creating the Secret Service, the draft riots in New York and Lincoln's assassination.
'In a Sunburned Country'
By Bill Bryson
Bryson chronicles his journey to the land of kangaroos, koalas and cold beers -- Australia, where he encounters friendly people, clean cities and unending sunshine. He attempts boogie-boarding and ponders Australians' penchant for building ''big things in the shape of other things.'' Bryson also reveals some offbeat Australian historical events: In 1967, the prime minister went for a swim and never returned; and in 1993, Japanese cult members detonated what might have been an atomic bomb on their vast ranch.
'The Circus Fire' (Doubleday)
By Stewart O'Nan
Novelist O'Nan's first nonfiction book is about the Hartford, Conn., circus fire that killed 167 people on July 6, 1944. The fire broke out during an afternoon performance before 7,000 spectators. O'Nan conducted hundreds of interviews with survivors and their families. He investigates the mysteries surrounding the fire, including its missing or unidentified victims, and the possibility of arson.
'The Pleasure of Their Company'
By Doris Grumbach
In her 80th year, Grumbach bought a new car, got a pet and planned a ''shindig'' -- her birthday party. Such acts of optimism prompted her to reflect on her past and the friends, loves and other writers who have played a part in her long and distinguished literary life, which began in the 1940s as a proofreader for Mademoiselle magazine. Personalities recalled include Gypsy Rose Lee, W.H. Auden, Bertrand Russell and May Sarton.
'How To Read and Why' (Scribner)
By Harold Bloom
Bloom, professor at Yale and New York University, helps the general reader discover how great literature can provide aesthetic pleasure and be a tool for introspection. The book is divided into sections for short stories, poems, novels and plays. Bloom takes examples from the works of dozens of writers, including Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, Dickinson, Austen, Dostoevski, Melville and Proust.
'The Marines of Autumn'
By James Brady
June marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, the setting for this novel. Marine Capt. Thomas Verity must leave behind home, career and a young daughter when he is sent to Korea to monitor Chinese radio transmissions. Eventually, he is thrust into battle at the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, the scene of fierce fighting, drifting snow and temperatures far below zero.
'From Dawn to Decadence'
By Jacques Barzun
This 800-page volume covers 500 years of Western culture, from 1500 to the present. It chronicles the people and events -- the famous and the forgotten -- that have given the post-Renaissance era plenty of spectacular creations as well as its share of failures and disasters.
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