BY SEAN CLARK

[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers. Follow it here.]

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In Ghostly Japan, by Lafcadio Hearn. Reviewed by Michael Dirda (Barnes & Noble Review).

First off, who the hell knew Barnes & Noble had a legit book review site? And who would have thought it would actually be good? I mean, this is a review by Michael Dirda. He’s kind of a big deal. His review is a great read in itself, but also, Hearn’s book of Japanese ghost stories sounds downright awesome. Almost definitely gonna pick this one up.

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Moonlight Mile, by Dennis Lehane. Reviewed by Janet Maslin (New York Times)

Looks like this book is a sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone. I never read that book, but I didn’t really care for the movie. Lehane is a decent writer, though, so this book has promise. In fact, Maslin credits his skill in lifting what might otherwise be a formulaic story:

What can keep “Moonlight Mile” from heading down an overly well-trodden path? Only the conviction with which Mr. Lehane breathes life into these characters.

I like character-driven books, so maybe I’ll start straight with this second episode.

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American Taliban, by Pearl Abraham. Reviewed by Art Winslow (Chicago Tribune)

This novel’s cover intrigued me. It seems like a pretty straightforward contemporary novel. But perhaps it touches on some interesting themes. Novels that center around the West’s conflict with the Middle East tend to annoy me, but once in a while, it’s done really well (as with Chris Cleave’s Incendiary). Maybe this is one of those. Winslow’s review is okay, but a little heavy on plot summary.

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The Banjo Player, by Sam Yarney. Reviewed by Zannie Marie Grey (bookreview.com)

Grey’s review is a tad amateurish, but she gushes on this book so hard (“Yarney’s book was engrossing enough to make me completely forget my pain [from MS]”), that I’m inclined to think it has to be at least pretty good. I love reading short-run indie books, and this one looks like it could be one of the diamonds in the rough.

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Bonus book trailer: Cheesy PowerPoint videos for crap romance novels are too bad not to watch. This one uses a bunch of fonts and colors. Oooh.

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