BOOKS / Recommended

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Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories by Jenny Uglow, Faber, pounds 20. Charlotte Bronte's biographer gets a fine treatment of her own in this readable and rigorous life. Review by Sue Gaisford, 6 February.

The Oracle at Stoneleigh Court by Peter Taylor, Chatto, pounds 14.99. Haunting stories imbued with the lost grandeur of the American South. Review by D J Taylor, 13 March.

The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt, Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 8.99. Elegantly written first novel about a young woman's traumatic life in New York. Review by Justine Picardie, 13 February.

Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills, Simon & Schuster, pounds 17.99. A perceptive and impressive examination of the implications of one of the most famous speeches in American history. Review by Godfrey Hodgson, 20 March.

The Palace of Dreams by Ismail Kadare, Tr. Barbara Bray, Harvill, pounds 7.99. Acute allegory of totalitarian life by an Albanian novelist, set in a ministry dedicated to the classification of dreams. Winner of the Independent foreign fiction award for January / February. Review by Robert Winder, 25 February.

Sentimental Journeys by Joan Didion, HarperCollins, pounds 15. Clever and singular musings on the heart and mind of America. Review by Natasha Walter, 30 January.

Swing hammer swing] by Jeff Torrington, Secker & Warburg pounds 8.99. Deep and affecting novel about life on the streets of Glasgow by a 57-year-old newcomer, and winner of this year's Whitbread Prize. Interview by Marianne Brace, 30 January.

I am the Clay by Chaim Potok, Heinemann, pounds 13.99. Dramatic, solemn fiction that describes a boy's struggle to survive during the war in Korea. Review by Tim McGirk, 23 January.

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