Short Fiction to Debut Novel | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2018

MacArthur, Robin. Heart Spring Mountain. Ecco. Jan. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062444424. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062444455. LITERARY Winner of the PEN New England Book Award for Fiction, MacArthur’s Half Wild offered stories both complex and polished about women from the backwoods who want up and out. Her debut novel draws on the same milieu, featuring New […]

From Lampedusa to Black Lives Matter | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jan. 2018

Bartolo, Pietro & Lidia Tilotta. Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story. Norton. Jan. 2018. 224p. tr. from Italian by Chenxin Jiang. ISBN 9780393651287. $25.95. MEMOIR Born into a family of fishermen, Bartolo has run the only medical clinic on the Italian island of Lampedusa for 25 years, tending to his fellow islanders while also helping […]

United for Libraries Author Panels | ALA Annual 2017

As always, the 2017 American Library Association (ALA) annual conference featured well-attended author panels sponsored by United for Libraries, the ALA division representing library trustees, advocates, and friends groups. This year’s panels were distinguished by the ready exchange they engendered between authors and audience and among audience members as well. “Out and Proud: LGBTQ Literature” […]

Cortés vs. Montezuma, Erasmus vs. Luther, & More | History Previews, Jan. 2018

Baatz, Simon. The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jan. 2018. ISBN 9780316396653. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780316396677. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316510677. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORY/TRUE CRIME The rape of 16-year-old chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit by womanizing architect Stanford White and White’s subsequent […]

Top Historicals, Horror from Koontz, Fashionable Steel, & More | Pop Fiction Previews, Jan. 2018

Bracht, Mary Lynn. White Chrysanthemum. Putnam. Jan. 2018. 320p. ISBN 9780735214439. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735214453. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL Of Korean heritage, Bracht boldly faces one of the ugly facts of World War II: the Japanese military forced 200,000 women into sexual slavery when it annexed Korea. In 1943, Hana, one of the […]

Bradley, Benjamin, Finn, Johnson, Joyce | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2018

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists. Putnam. Jan. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780735213180. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735213197. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION Having won the Edna Ferber Prize for The Anatomy of Dreams, Benjamin came up with a second novel that caught fire at BookExpo—it was, in fact, a BE Buzz Book—and has already been bought by the […]

Worldwide Mystery | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2018

Camilleri, Andrea. The Pyramid of Mud. Penguin. Jan. 2018. 272p. tr. from Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. ISBN 9780143128083. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698195882. MYSTERY When storms flood a construction site, a man shot in the back is found in one of the huge pipes, effectively a tunnel, that forms part of the site’s water supply […]

From Cuba to Good Eating | Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2017

Guerriero, Leila, ed. Cuba on the Verge: 12 Writers on Continuity and Change in Havana and Across the Country. Ecco. Dec. 2017. 304p. ISBN 9780062661067. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062661081. ESSAYS Conceived before the Trump administration’s reversal of President Obama’s refreshed U.S. policy regarding Cuba, this collection of essays is now all the more relevant. Key […]

Going Pop | Fiction Previews, Dec. 2017

Chiaverini, Jennifer. Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace. Dutton. Dec. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781101985205. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101985229. HISTORICAL Leave it to Chiaverini, the New York Times best-selling author of numerous effective portrayals of historically significant women, to take on the redoubtable Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, Lord Byron’s only legitimate child. […]

Diski, Shafak, Laura Lee Smith, Yan Lianke | Literary Fiction Previews

Diski, Jenny. The Vanishing Princess: Stories. Ecco. Dec. 2017. 208p. ISBN 9780062685711. pap. $15.99. SHORT STORIES British author Diski may not be a household name, but she has a following among the cognoscenti owing to her ten novels, short fiction, and five books of travel and memoir, and she’s highly regarded for her the incisive […]