Picks and Pans Review: Great Reads

updated 03/23/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/23/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

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AMERICAN WIFE by Curtis Sittenfeld Laura Bush may be out of sight (and mind) in Texas, but this smart, fictional take on her life still satisfies.

GO WITH ME by Castle Freeman Jr. Set in backwoods Vermont, Freeman's fine literary thriller offers humor, pathos and indelible characters.

THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING by Drew Gilpin Faust Last year's award-winning look at how the Civil War changed our view of death. Improbably gripping.

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