Maya Angelou: Last Tributes, Last Words

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Maya Angelou’s final book, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou, will be published next month (Random. 128p. ISBN 9780812996456. $20), but her wisdom and spirit were on abundant display on Friday, September 12, at a celebration cum memorial service held at the soaring Riverside Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. […]

Ian Caldwell, Hanif Kureishi, Thomas McGuane, Mario Vargas Llosa | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Caldwell, Ian. The Fifth Gospel. S. & S. Mar. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9781451694147. $25.99. LITERARY THRILLER Written with Dustin Thomason, Caldwell’s The Rule of Four spent nearly a year on the New York Times best sellers list. It’s been a ten-year wait for the follow-up, but here it is. In 2004, the curator of a […]

Full-Length Fiction & Short Story Collections, Suspense & Literary Works | Previewing Big Fiction Debuts, Mar. 2015, Pt. 2

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Anolik, Lili. Dark Rooms. Morrow. Mar. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780062345868. $25.99; ebk ISBN 9780062345882. SUSPENSE Gorgeous, 16-year-old wild girl Nica Baker is murdered, and her older sister refuses to believe that a lonely classmate committed the crime. So she drops out of college to hunt for the real killer, sinking herself into the craziness of […]

Roosevelt, Stalin, & a Daring World War II Prison Camp Rescue | History Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 2

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Butler, Susan. Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership. Knopf. Mar. 2015. 608p. ISBN 9780307594853. $35. HISTORY Having edited My Dear Mr. Stalin, a compilation of the correspondence between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, Butler jumps right in with this assessment of their relationship. She uses newly unclassified material from the Russian State Archive, […]

Peter Carey, Anita Diamant, Haruki Murakami, & More | Last-Minute Fall/Winter Fiction

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Carey, Peter. Amnesia. Knopf. Jan. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780385352772. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352789. LITERARY Just in time for all those revelations about America spying on its allies, Carey, the winner of multiple Booker, Commonwealth, and Miles Franklin awards, examines key points of contention between this country and Australia with an edgy cyber story as context. […]

Ishiguro, Kanon, Larson, Lehane, O’Hagan, Putnam | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Buried Giant. Knopf. Mar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307271037. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353229. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION Discussing a novel in the works during a 2008 interview for the Paris Review, Booker Prize winner Ishiguro explained that while his writing has typically examined how individuals deal with painful memories, “I’d […]

Black, Bowen, Bradley, Evanovich/Sutton, Haynes, Perry, Winspear | Seven Essential Mystery Novels, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Black, Cara. Murder on the Champs de Mars. Soho Crime. Mar. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781616952860. $27.95. MYSTERY Sassy, open-hearted, and one of my favorite characters ever, Aimée Leduc is back for a 15th outing that takes readers to Paris’s elegant, old-gold seventh arrondissement—not her usual stomping ground, because Black’s series typically details Paris’s rougher corners […]

Shame, Stuffication, and Doing Good | Social Science Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brown, Brené. Mapping Brave. Spiegel & Grau. Mar. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780812995824. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812995831. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SELF-HELP A research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Brown studies issues of vulnerability and shame—which leads her directly to this book’s subject, bravery, both what it is and how we […]

Interviewing David Nicholls, Erika Johansen, Wally Lamb, & More

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Never mind that David Nicholls’s affecting and freshly told Us has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, with the shortlist to be announced September 9. Fans of the British novelist/screenwriter will have to wait until late October to read it. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to interview the genial and insightful Nicholls in New […]

Charles Baxter, Sara Blaedel, Nick Hornby, Reif Larsen, Peter Swanson, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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Baxter, Charles. There’s Something I Want You To Do. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9781101870013. $24; ebk. ISBN ISBN 9781101870020. SHORT STORIES A National Book Award nominee for The Feast of Love, Baxter returns with his first story collection in 15 years. Piercingly elegant, as always, the stories are divided into two sections, one embodying […]

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