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Originally published Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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NW Books: A look into Hollywood’s conflicting motives

New books of Seattle interest: “Beautiful Ruins,” “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” “Roots & Reflections” and “Quiet Beauty.”

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New releases

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter (Harper Perennial, $15.99). New in paperback: In this social satire, Spokane’s Jess Walter takes a look at the popular media and Hollywood culture, and the inherent struggles found in those environments. Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn said, “‘Beautiful Ruins’ asks: How do you balance desire with doing the right thing? It’s the epic struggle of our time, when so much choice is at our fingertips, and finding the right path is correspondingly difficult.”

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple (Back Bay Books, $14.99). New in paperback: You might need to take a good, long look in the mirror after reading this novel, as Semple skewers the pretensions of Seattle’s new money through the story of Bernadette and her daughter, Bee. Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn said, “Semple has a big heart, and possesses that rare ability to skewer, dissect and empathize with her targets, all at the same time.”

“Roots & Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific Northwest” by Amy Bhatt and Nalini Iyer (University of Washington Press, $29.95). Personal stories combine with historical and popular-culture accounts to examine how South Asian immigrant experiences were shaped by settlement in the Pacific Northwest region. Iyer is an English professor at Seattle University.

“Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America” by Kendall H. Brown (Tuttle Publishing, $34.95). This compilation of images by photographer David M. Cobb, and information on the most beautiful and serene gardens in the United States and Canada features gardens from Seattle, Bainbridge Island and Spokane.

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