Books

New titles beckon the adventurous

Looking for a good read? Here are some suggestions:

"The Careful Use of Compliments," by Alexander McCall Smith; Pantheon; $21.95, on sale Tuesday: Smith made his mark with the popular "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series but shows he can juggle with this fourth quaint tale starring Edinburgh philosopher and sleuth Isabel Dalhousie. Just so you know, Smith is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

"Golf Freek: One Man's Quest To Play as Many Rounds of Golf as Possible. For Free," by Steve Eubanks; Crown; $23.95: Eubanks traveled the world with one purpose in mind: "This book is about me sponging free golf." The anecdotes are worth the price of admission if you're a golfer.

"Lottery," by Patricia Wood; Putnam; $24.95: Perry Crandall, 32, has an IQ of only 76, but he's far from slow. The wisdom taught to him by his grandmother serves him well when he hits a $12 million lottery and the swindlers and creeps come out of the woodwork. This is a sweetly satisfying story.

"Backstage With Julia: My Years With Julia Child," by Nancy Verde Barr; Wiley; $22.95: Julia Child's executive chef and close friend for 24 years provides an intimate portrait of an iconic figure in American gastronomy. Through stories, anecdotes, personal photographs and notes, Barr shows Child's generosity, her humor, her high spirit and her openness to new ideas.

"The Mexican Mafia," by Tony Rafael; Encounter Books; $25.95: Unless you live in Southern California, you're likely unaware of the vast influence the Mexican Mafia has on crime, corruption, murder and drug trafficking throughout the vast network of Los Angeles neighborhoods. This startling exposé is seen through the eyes of Los Angeles deputy district attorney Anthony Manzella.

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