by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie |

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In the first of these 12 haunting stories set in Nigeria and the U.S., a spoiled college student doing a stint in a Nigerian prison finds he can't keep silent when the police harass an elderly inmate. In another, what seems like an excellent arranged marriage is doomed once the bride joins her husband in Brooklyn and learns he's an overbearing bore. "We overcook food back home and...lose all the nutrients," he tells her at a mall's food court. "Americans cook things right. See how healthy they all look?" And for the lonely narrator of the collection's title story, falling in love means "the thing that wrapped itself around your neck, that nearly choked you before you fell asleep" is finally loosened. Adichie, a Nigerian who has studied in the U.S., writes with wisdom and compassion about her countrymen's experiences as foreigners, both in America and in their changing homeland. Hers is one of fiction's most compelling new voices.


Adichie made a splash with her critically acclaimed 2006 novel Half of a Yellow Sun, about twin sisters struggling to survive amid the violence of 1960s Nigeria.

by Ana Menéndez |

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A photographer who pings from one bloody conflict to another with her journalist husband, Brando, the heroine of this potent literary novel allows that they are "war junkies: Eros and Chaos, endlessly drawn to the ragged margins where other people hated and died." In 10 years of dodging bombs and documenting mass graves in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan and Kashmir, the two have learned to savor their perks and keep their distance from their subjects. "When you're an American abroad," explains "Flash," the narrator, "suffering is for the locals." An interlude in Istanbul while the charismatic Brando is in Iraq, however, gives Flash a new perspective on her marriage (he's a cheat) and on her life as a voyeur. Formerly married to a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, Menéndez offers a deft portrait of an estranged couple whose pain is veiled by the fog of war.

by Novella Carpenter |

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It must have seemed like a good idea at the time: Carpenter and her boyfriend decide to raise turkeys, ducks, rabbits and pigs while growing produce behind their inner-city Oakland house. Agriculture turns to agony as Carpenter, a freelance writer, faces the task of killing her turkey and forages in Dumpsters to feed her 175-lb. porker. You'll laugh along the way, though, especially during the July she spends eating only what she grows, confessing: "I would have killed...for a bag of red-hot Cheetos." Farming is one tough job.


BEVERLY HILLS ADJACENT by Jennifer Steinhauer & Jessica Hendra A laugh-out-loud novel about the skewed mores and hungry hearts of Hollywood.

COMMENCEMENT by J. Courtney Sullivan Four friends bond at Smith College and stumble toward adulthood in Sullivan's intelligent, diverting debut.

MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich New York working girls' sexy shenanigans. The author's a gossip-column editor, so she should know.

>• Lose the bulge and still indulge! Those are the watchwords behind the bestselling cookbook by the team from Lifetime's Cook Yourself Thin. Candice Kumai, one of the show's chef-hosts, explains.

SO HOW CAN YOU INDULGE AND LOSE WEIGHT? Our thing is moderation, not deprivation—if you deprive yourself, you're going to cheat. The book is about lifestyle change. There are a million tricks we know.

LIKE WHAT? Greek yogurt has calcium and protein and the exact same consistency as sour cream. Sweet potato fries instead of fried french fries. Take out pasta and bake with zucchini strands. You can still have all your favorites, but we took out all the excess fat and calories.

THE CHOCOLATE CAKE LOOKS DELISH—BUT THERE ARE BEETS IN IT! It's [cohost] Harry's recipe [find it at mylife]. She loves experimenting with vegetables and tries to incorporate them. Zucchini bread, sweet potato pie. Vegetables are a lighter way of adding texture and moisture.

DO YOU THREE FOLLOW THE CYT LIFESTYLE? I'm not going to say I don't go out for a great burger. We eat real foods—we're just more conscious of what we're putting into our diet every day.