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New fiction from familiar faces

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Attention readers: Put down the Harry Potter. Step away from the Hillary Clinton. And say goodbye to the summer reading season. With fall comes a harvest of less fluffy literature, and a bounty of new books from some much-admired Southern authors. Here's a smattering of the season's literary highlights.

Local playwright and author Pearl Cleage returns in late August with Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do (One World/Ballantine). Cleage, whose What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day hit the literary lottery a couple years back thanks to Oprah's Book Club, this time delivers the story of a woman recovering from cocaine addiction who reluctantly moves to Atlanta.

Local authors galore take the stage Sept. 19-28 for the second annual Atlanta Literary Festival. The fest's Moveable Feast of Authors, again held at the Fox Theatre, features a toast to Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Other highlights include the Night of 100 Authors at bookstores across the metro area, and a showcase of national literary magazines and journals.

A Faint Cold Fear, the new novel from Atlanta crime maven Karin Slaughter, also arrives in September. This time the folks of fictional Heartsdale, Ga., face a series of suspicious suicides.

Blogging bad-boy Neal Pollack rolls into town Oct. 5, with appearances at Criminal Records and the Earl. Anyone who caught Pollack's Atlanta visit back in April will tell you not to miss this one, and not to show up sober.

Also in October, Athens author Terry Kay goes fishing for a new hit with The Valley of Light (Atria), a big fish tale set in North Carolina. A mysterious drifter named Noah Locke wows a small town with his seemingly magical gift for angling. Speaking of Athens writers, Judith Ortiz Cofer's new novel The Meaning of Consuelo premieres in November. It follows a conflicted Puerto Rican girl who watches her family unravel in the 1950s.

November also sees the return of the venerated Jewish Book Festival, hosted by the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Early confirmed speakers include Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie), film critic Joel Siegel and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. The festival takes place Nov. 1-10.

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