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MINNEAPOLIS — In 2007, after the death of his grandfather, Sequoia Nagamatsu flew off to Japan, where he had never been, to teach English and to grieve. It was there that he started writing. "My grandfather's death had a profound impact on me," Nagamatsu said in a recent interview from his home in Minneapolis. "I wasn't really able to say goodbye." In Japan, he was surrounded by reminders of ...

A new year, a new stack of paperbacks (ideally). Here are six fresh picks; mostly fiction, all promising. "A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself" by Peter Ho Davies (HarperCollins, $15.99). Davies, author of "The Fortunes" and "The Welsh Girl," here spins a semiautobiographical novel about a writer becoming a father. "This is a complicated story, told with fearless honesty," wrote a reviewer ...

“WILL” by Will Smith; Penguin Press (411 pages, $30) ——— In show business, it’s common knowledge that success rarely happens in a straight line. But for a 21-year-old Will Smith, it was impossible to know that one night in 1990, his career was about to skyrocket as he sat in Quincy Jones’ Bel Air mansion with a script in hand. The iconic music producer had an idea, this time for a TV show. The ...

PITTSBURGH — No matter how many "Star Wars" shows Ming-Na Wen stars in, her mother will never quite grasp what all the fuss is about. "She was a very practical woman who has gone through so many struggles in her life and ran a restaurant and raised kids," Wen said over Zoom while wearing a Baby Yoda sweatshirt. "She's an incredible woman, but she doesn't understand 'Star Wars.'" Wen, 58 and ...

PITTSBURGH — A morbid dream planted the seed for what would become Brian Cuban's debut novel. The 60-year-old Dallas resident and Mt. Lebanon native — who, yes, is the brother of billionaire Mark Cuban — was having a recurring dream about throwing dead bodies onto a bonfire at the site of an old general store in his hometown. He would wake up "scared s***less" and wondering when the police ...

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