Brian Doyle, Bruce Holsinger, Ann Packer, & Three Essential World War II Titles | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. Martin Marten. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250045201. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466843691. LITERARY Published by an academic press, the luminously written Mink River was a dead giveaway that Doyle had a big literary future ahead of him, and he proved himself nicely with last year’s The Plover. His new novel […]

Essential Chillers from Iles, Indridason, Locke, Scottoline, & More | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Brennan, Allison. Compulsion. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250035028. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250035035. CD: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER Probing a retired couple’s disappearance the previous summer, investigative report Maxine (“Max”) Revere is convinced that serial killer Adam Bachman—whose trial she’s currently covering—is somehow connected and that in fact he has an accomplice. She’s even […]

From the Vietnam War to LGBT Rights | History & Current Events Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Blehm, Eric. Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret’s Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines. Crown. Apr. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780804139519. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780804139526. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. BIOGRAPHY/MILITARY In 2012’s Fearless, Blehm chronicled SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown’s moment of supreme sacrifice […]

Young and Hot: The National Book Foundation’s 2014 5 Under 35 Honorees

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Last week, in a special arrangement with BuzzFeed Books (because why not do something fun and different?), the National Book Foundation announced its 2014 5 Under 35 honorees. Past honorees include Nam Le, Dinaw Mengestu, Téa Obreht, Karen Russell, and Paul Yoon, so it pays to attend carefully to these authors. This year’s group includes […]

Fiction from Elizabeth Berg, Alexander McCall Smith, Kimberly McCreight, Per Petterson, & Amanda Quick; Memoirs from Philip Glass & Judith Miller | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 1

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Berg, Elizabeth. The Dream Lover. Random. Apr. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780812993158. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780679644705. HISTORICAL Berg, a library favorite—her Durable Goods and Joy School were both selected as ALA Best Books of the Year—does something completely different here. She offers a fictionalized account of the famous French novelist George Sand, reimagining her decidedly unconventional […]

Dickey, Dilloway, Macomber, & More | Big Commercial Fiction Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 1

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Brackston, Paula. The Silver Witch. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250028792. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250028808. HISTORICAL/PARANORMAL In another witchy historical from the New York Times best-selling Brackston (after The Winter Witch), ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells mournfully moves into the little Welsh cottage she was to have shared with husband Mat before his […]

Essential Biographies of Abraham Lincoln, James Merrill, Isamu Noguchi, Joseph Mitchell, & Billy Martin | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 1

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Blumenthal, Sidney. A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1854. S. & S. Apr. 2015. 608p. ISBN 9781476777252. $32.50. BIOGRAPHY A veteran reporter, former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Blumenthal offers the first of a three-volume study of President Abraham Lincoln as a […]

Visualizing Books: Video Interviews with Alan Cumming & Katy Simpson Smith, Online Fun with Garth Stein’s A Sudden Light & Eric Kaplan’s Does Santa Exist?

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Given my job, of course I think a book is worth a thousand pictures, but sometimes visuals do help. In the last months, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing celebrated actor Alan Cumming, whose Not My Father’s Son, a wrenching memoir of rediscovering family, is a LibraryReads pick for October, and debut novelist Katy Simpson […]

Saul Bellow, Scott Ellsworth, Caryl Phillips, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4

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Bellow, Saul. There Is Simply Too Much To Think About: Collected Nonfiction. Viking. Mar. 2015. 608p. ed. by Benjamin Taylor. ISBN 9780670016693. $35. LITERATURE Issued in time for the centenary of Bellow’s birth and the tenth anniversary of his death, this work collects the Nobel laureate’s nonfiction, including criticism, interviews, speeches, and other pieces ranging […]

Howard Jacobson, Elif Shafak, Yan Lianke, & More | Key Literary Fiction Previews, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4

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Hunter, Aislinn. The World Before Us. Hogarth: Crown. Mar. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9780553418521. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780553418538. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY In a wooded area near a crumbling estate and a Victorian asylum, a little girl named Lily vanishes, leaving her family and 15-year-old babysitter Jane Standen devastated. Two decades later, as an archivist at […]

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