Books: What To Read This Month

Put on the blinders at Barnes & Noble and head right to these gems . . .

. . . to get your literary-fiction fix:

THE QUIET GIRL by Peter Hoeg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

TO SUM UP: A charming, nihilistic circus clown must rescue a young girl who has been kidnapped from a Copenhagen orphanage.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT: Because the kooky conceit frames a smart-but-accessible look at the Big Questions, and the cinematic story will no doubt be made into a movie - we hope starring Johnny Depp.

BEST REASON WHY THE ALMIGHTY ISN'T IN CUSTOMER SERVICE: "The problem with anger against God is that it's impossible to go higher in the system to complain."

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. . . to be stylishly patriotic: ICONIC AMERICA by Tommy Hilfiger with George Lois (Universe)

TO SUM UP: The fab art book is a collaboration between Hilfiger and Lois, the legendary advertising creative director.

UNFORGETTABLE PIX: Lois juxtaposes images of American icons, like red lipstick with "red" Indians, the Mac logo with apple pie, and the Statue of Liberty's torch with an ice-cream cone.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: At a time when the U.S. is so widely criticized abroad, it reminds us we have our virtues, too.

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