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Oscar Hijuelos, author of Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir

Born in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Oscar Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry-writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of a working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship with his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn with his mother in pre-Castro Cuba, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved.

Week of June 4, 2012

In the intriguing thriller THE SIXES by Kate White, a secret circle of really mean girls --- the dark side of female empowerment --- becomes the nemesis of a gutsy journalist heroine. From the bestselling author of HUSH and the Bailey Weggins mystery series.