Barbara Hoffert

About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

Short-List Announced for Andrew Carnegie Medals


The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the six books short-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, which are given for the previous year’s best adult fiction and nonfiction books published in the United States. The two medal winners will be revealed at the Reference and User Services Association’s Book […]

Obituary: Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today Book Critic


It’s not every nationally known book critic that serves on the board of his local public library, but then Bob Minzesheimer, who died on October 15 after a battle with brain cancer, wasn’t just any book critic. USA Today‘s longtime book reviewer and writer, who was only 66 when he died, Bob earned a master’s […]

Key Poetry Jan.–Apr. 2017


Bidart, Frank. Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2017. Farrar. Apr. 2017. 624p. ISBN 9780374125950. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780374715182. POETRY Multi-award-winning Bidart (e.g., the Bollingen Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award) represents a high point in contemporary America poetry, with dramatic, focused writing exploring our darkest psychic corners and greatest needs. Including a new collection, Thirst; originally […]

Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]

15 Key Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


Armstrong, Ross. The Watcher. Mira: Harlequin. Apr. 2017. 302p. ISBN 9780778330721. $26.99. THRILLER Noted actor Armstrong (he’s appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in Hamlet on Broadway) launches his writing career with psychological suspense that Harlequin UK is dubbing a lead breakout title. When an elderly neighbor turns up dead shortly after birdwatcher Lily […]

Cooks, Rebel Mothers, & Media Stars | Memoir Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3


Andreas, Peter. Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781501124396. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501124457. MEMOIR In the Sixties, conventional housewife Carol Andreas morphed into a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary, running through numerous husbands and lovers as she sought for and fought for important causes. She took her […]

Finalists Announced for National Book Awards 2016


The 20 finalists for the 2016 National Book Awards for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature were recently announced by David Haglund, the literary editor of, and Lisa Lucas, the executive director of the National Book Foundation. The announcement was made by The New Yorker via Facebook Live on October 6. The fiction […]

Spotlight on Paulette Jiles | LibraryReads Author, October 15, 2016


In Paulette Jiles’s luminous new novel, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels the rough roads of northern Texas after the Civil War reading newspapers to paying crowds. As Jiles explained in a phone interview with LJ, “He wanted to move people into the wonderful world of imagination we all need, which he brings to people under the guise of news.”

Top Fall Poetry: Great Reading Beyond the Basics from Veterans and Newcomers Alike


Delivered without showiness, Bennett’s imagery is arresting; Hollo is fun for all; in breathtaking language, Ritvo chronicles what it’s like to be living; intellectually astute and lit-up, sharply observed verse; Shapiro finally has his moment of triumph and honor

War, Islam, & Evangelicals | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2


Bellaigue, Christopher de. The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2017. 560p. ISBN 9780871403735. $35. HISTORY Many Westerners see Islam as behind the times, having failed to experience Europe’s Enlightenment. But Bellaigue, an authority on Islam and the Middle East who speaks Turkish, Persian, and Arabic […]