New and recommended

Al Capp: A Life to the ContraryBy Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury, $30)

Richly told biography traces the complex, troubled life of the creator of the

“Li’l Abner’’ comic strip.


BenedictionBy Kent Haruf (Knopf, $25.95)

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Haruf’s latest novel set in a small Colorado town takes a spiritual turn to look
at death and dying.

The Fall of Stone City By Ismail Kadare (Grove, $23)

In the Balkans, a darkly comic, hallucinatory tale of the intertwined forces

of tyranny and madness.