Here are six books, new in paperback this season, that I and other Seattle Times writers loved:
"Difficult Women" by Roxane Gay (Grove Press, $16). Gay had two remarkable books out this year: the searing memoir "Hunger" and, back in January, her first collection of short stories: haunting, knife-sharp character portraits of sisters, mothers, daughters, lovers.
"The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars" by Dava Sobel (Penguin, $18). If you loved "Hidden Figures," give this one a look: it's another real-life history of women who worked as "human computers."
"Himself" by Jess Kidd (Washington Square Press/Atria, $16). In this first novel, a young Dubliner travels to a small town where the living and the dead seem to live side by side. Kidd, like so many Irish writers, finds delicate music in words.
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"Mister Monkey" by Francine Prose (HarperCollins, $15.99). This novel about a very bad musical (it shares a title with the book) leaves you with the feeling you have after watching a really good musical: exhilarated, lightened, maybe even humming.
"Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs" by Douglas Smith (Picador, $24). A holy man, or a scoundrel who brought down the Romanov dynasty? Local author Smith meticulously examines the many legends and truths around the most recognized name in Russian history.
"Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote 'Dracula'" by David J. Skal (Liveright, $21.95). When this nonfiction book came out last Halloween, my colleague Mary Ann Gwinn called it "an exuberant combination of biography and cultural history that thoroughly investigates the real-life horrors of the Victorian era that influenced the creation of the Count."