LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BRONX IS BURNING: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City, by Jonathan Mahler. (Picador, $15.) This layered account of a single year in the life of New York City is filled with rich characters and striking juxtapositions. In the Bronx, the Yankees Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson battle each other and, occasionally, opposing teams. There is a free-for-all for the Democratic mayoral nomination, a 25-hour citywide power failure, and the serial killer Son of Sam is still at large. Mahler, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, calls 1977 ''a transformative moment'' for New York, ''a time of decay but of rehabilitation as well.''
ZORRO, by Isabel Allende. Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden. (Harper Perennial, $14.95.) Allende, author of ''Daughter of Fortune'' and ''Portrait in Sepia,'' has written another high-spirited historical novel. This retelling of the Zorro legend focuses on the hero's boyhood; Allende's tale includes a half-Indian mother, a medicine-woman grandmother and an ancient ritual that transforms Diego de la Vega into ''the fox.''
LUCKIEST MAN: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, by Jonathan Eig. (Simon & Schuster, $15.) The circumstances of his death, along with a few words from the heart, turned Lou Gehrig (1903-41) into a tragic hero. Eig digs out the real Gehrig -- a nice guy and a great athlete -- and finds a rags-to-riches story dominated by Gehrig's German-immigrant mother. '' 'Luckiest Man' stands in the first rank of sports biographies,'' Kevin Baker wrote in the Book Review.
ACTS OF FAITH, by Philip Caputo. (Vintage Contemporaries, $15.95.) Set in the 1990's at the height of Sudan's civil war, Caputo's devastating novel is a parable about American idealism abroad and the dangers of missionary zeal. The story unfolds through the point of view of several Americans working to provide food and shelter to distant villages, who encounter military offensives, the slave trade and rampant corruption. Our reviewer, Lucian K. Truscott IV, said Caputo, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of a Vietnam memoir, $(3$)A Rumor of War,$(2$) ''weaves his narrative into a tapestry as rich and varied as Sudan itself.''
THE OLD BALL GAME: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball, by Frank Deford. (Grove, $13.) This is a thoughtful portrait of the remarkable pairing -- McGraw was the Giants' manager and Mathewson the team's ace pitcher -- that gave the game a welcome credibility at the turn of the century.
A LONG WAY DOWN, by Nick Hornby. (Riverhead, $14.) Hornby's grimly comic novel is narrated by the voices of four desperate people who, one New Year's Eve, make their way to the roof of a London building with the intent of jumping to their deaths. They don't, and Hornby explores the unusual and unpredictable events that follow.
WAR BY CANDLELIGHT: Stories, by Daniel Alarcón. (Harper Perennial, $12.95.) Alarcón, who was born in Peru and raised in Alabama, draws on the plight of Lima's poor and the hopes of New York's immigrants in this raw first collection.
THREE NIGHTS IN AUGUST: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager, by Buzz Bissinger. (Mariner/ Houghton Mifflin, $13.95.) During the 2003 baseball season, Bissinger had complete access to the St. Louis Cardinals and their manager, Tony La Russa. The result is a fascinating game-by-game, inning-by-inning look at managing the Cardinals during a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in the heat of a pennant race. In the Book Review, John Grisham said Bissinger ''has the wonderful ability to stop the action in midpitch to talk about the people involved.''
STOP THAT GIRL, by Elizabeth McKenzie. (Random House, $9.95.) McKenzie's first book, a novel in stories set in California, introduces readers to Ann Ransom, a funny, ferocious narrator. At the heart of Ann's unconventional coming-of-age story is a complex mother-versus-daughter-versus-grandmother battle.