Top Stories: For Spring/Summer, 12 New Collections from Writers To Watch

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Easily flowing stories from award-winning Bradford; Gray’s fiction straddles the literary/horror divide; Keene delivers mostly concise, arresting stories; Uppal effectively captures our off-kilter moments; Vargas is moving and accomplished.

Gregory Maguire, Anthony Marra, David Mitchell, Jane Smiley | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Maguire, Gregory. After Alice. Morrow. Oct. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780770436445. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062410825. CD: HarperAudio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Known for his revisionist take on children’s classics, particularly his Wicked-ly good series drawing on The Wizard of Oz, the first of which inspired the hit Broadway musical, Maguire turns his attention to Lewis Carroll’s immortal Alice’s Adventures […]

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Diana Nyad, Patti Smith, Simon Winchester | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., & Kevin M. Burke. And Still I Rise: From Black Power to the White House. Ecco. Oct. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780062427007. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780062427014. HISTORY Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, outstanding scholar Gates offers […]

Ringing in Christmas (Yes, Christmas) with Jennifer Chiaverini, Debbie Macomber, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Chiaverini, Jennifer. Christmas Bells. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780525955245. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698407091. WOMEN’S/HISTORICAL Though she sets her new work partly in present-day Boston, Chiaverini stays in keeping with her recent historical work (e.g., Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule) by referencing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s rousing “Christmas Bells.” Written as Longfellow mourned the death of […]

Literary Glitter from Clare Clark, Homer Hickam, & More | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Cantor, Jillian. The Hours Count. Riverhead. Oct. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781594633188. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698162334. LITERARY Following her LibraryReads pick, Margot, which imagined that Anne Frank’s sister survived the Holocaust, Cantor again vivifies history as she considers the life of the woman who lived next door to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1950. A friend […]

Frank Sinatra at 100 | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brady, John. Frank & Ava: In Love and War. Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250070913. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466881570. BIOGRAPHY Rising star Ava Gardner had two brief marriages behind her when she first encountered Frank Sinatra, married with three children and on a downward slide, his film and recording studios having dropped him. Gardner […]

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Introduces Poetry, Honors Marlon James and David Brion Davis

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On April 1, the Cleveland Foundation today announced the winners of this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the only American awards honoring literary works that confront racism and celebrate diversity. The awards, established in 1935 by Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf to reflect her family’s commitment to social justice, are celebrating their 80th year […]

September 2015 Music Picks from Chrissie Hynde & Patti Smith

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Full disclosure: my good-time listening music dates mostly from the medieval and Renaissance eras. But I love music in general as a country without borders, and I’m always happy to feature books by or about major rock/pop/blues/jazz musicians in Prepub Alert. There has been a flood of such books lately, and since most of them […]

Best Seller Diffenbaugh, Nobel Prize Winner Modiano, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

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Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. Ballantine. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780553392319. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392326. CD: Random Audio. LITERARY/FAMILY LIFE Everyone who loves Diffenbaugh’s The Language of Flowers—and that’s plenty of people, as it was a New York Times best seller—knows that she grapples forthrightly with social issues. Here, Letty Espinosa lives in […]

Niall Ferguson, Joan Lunden, David Maraniss, Anne-Marie Slaughter, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4

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Ferguson, Niall. Kissinger: Vol. I: The Idealist, 1923–1968. Penguin Pr. Sept. 2015. 560p. ISBN 9781594206535. $36. BIOGRAPHY Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard and a senior research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Ferguson is the author of New York Times best sellers like Civilization and The Ascent of Money. With those credentials and […]