Picks and Pans Review: Great Reads

updated 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Fiction

THE MARCH by E. L. Doctorow

General William Tecumseh Sherman comes to vivid life in this kaleidoscopic tale about his legendary "scorched earth" sweep through the South.

FRIENDS, LOVERS, CHOCOLATE by Alexander McCall Smith

Second in "The Sunday Philosophy Club" series, starring Isabel Dalhousie, an editor with a reputation for "discreetly looking into things," this mystery's a charmer.

THE MYTH OF YOU AND ME by Leah Stewart

A smart, exceedingly well-written story about the mysteries at the heart of even the most intimate friendships between women. You'll be reading into the wee hours.

FAN-TAN by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell

After languishing in the vault for years, this lurid tale of a dissolute adventurer and a lady gangster matching wits on the high seas turns out to be a peach. It's a smashing movie in book form.

DANCING IN THE DARK by Caryl Phillips

A wrenching tale set in the early 1900s and inspired by the life of Bert Williams, who struggled with his sense of self after becoming the first black star of the Ziegfeld Follies.

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