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“So 23 years after I arrived to town, I’m sort of in the kickoff phase of my new career,” Mr. McGraw said.

Mr. McGraw enters that second phase as one of country music’s leading men. The heartthrob in the black hat, the 45-year-old has reigned on the charts and in album sales for years and remains a force in the genre despite what he considered shenanigans by his longtime record label. He accused Curb of trying to prolong the length of his contract by releasing a string of greatest hits packages that frustrated fans and artist alike.

He has been recording new music and said he hopes to release a “landmark” album late this year or early in 2013 “that’s just going to sort of turn the knob over to 11.”

“I feel like that I’m at a point now in my career I think there’s more ahead of me than behind me,” Mr. McGraw said. “It’s time for me to look forward. It’s time for me to look at my new partner in the business of making records and radio, and just sort of step on the gas. I think I’m at a great spot in my career and there’s nothing but great things ahead of me.”

Free e-book previews fall’s expected hot books

Summer is weeks away, but the fall book season has already started.

“Buzz Books 2012” is a free e-book that came out Monday and features excerpts from 33 upcoming works, including Neil Young’s memoir, fiction by Dennis Lehane and Junot Diaz, and a young adult novel by David Levithan.

“Buzz Books 2012” was compiled and released by Publishers Lunch, an influential online industry newsletter. The book’s title refers to the “Buzz Books” panel at publishing’s annual convention, BookExpo America, when editors discuss anticipated titles for the fall. This year’s BookExpo takes place in early June.

Others works excerpted in the new e-book include fiction by Mark Helprin and Barbara Kingsolver, a memoir by Rhoda Janzen, and a debut novel by J.R. Moehringer, author of the best-selling memoir “The Tender Bar.”

Compiled from Web and wire reports