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”Ross Wakeman succeeded the first time he killed himself, but not the second or the third.” — First line of Jodi Picoult’s novel second glance (Atria, $25)

”Dogs are easy. If their tails are up and their eyes are soft, you’re in. Sometimes they need to smell your hands, your shoes, between your legs. Sometimes they just throw themselves full tilt, all of them at all of you….” — First lines of Paula McLain’s memoir, like family (Little, Brown, $23.95)

”Sometimes I wonder: Who’s there, floating above the brick stars of the apartment complex? Who is it, always breathing, listening so carefully to his breath? Who loves his breath so much?” — Opening lines of Ira Sher’s first novel, gentlemen of space (Free Press, $23)