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 […]

Great Book Club Books from Kate Alcott, Tom McCarthy, Tatjana Soli, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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Alcott, Kate. A Touch of Stardust. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385539043. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780385539050. CD: Random Audio. HISTORICAL How fun is this? Alcott, author of the New York Times best-selling The Dressmaker, has written a big, sprawling novel about the filming of Gone with the Wind, with a side trip to the boiling-over […]

History (David O. Stewart), Politics (David Axelrod), Self-Help (Ron Lieber), & More | Social Science Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 4

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Axelrod, David. Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. Penguin Pr. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9781594205873. $29.95. CD: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After eight years as a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Axelrod switched lanes to become a political consultant, strategizing for over 150 local, state, and national campaigns. His clients have included Barack Obama, […]

Jussi Adler-Olsen, Daniel Handler, Jonathan Lethem, Laura Lippman, Thomas Keneally | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Adler-Olsen, Jussi. The Alphabet House. Dutton. Feb. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9780525954897. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. SUSPENSE The author of the Department Q series (e.g., The Purity of Vengeance), Denmark’s top crime writer offers a surprising departure with this stand-alone. Shot down on a special photo-reconnaissance mission over World War II Germany, British pilots James Teasdale […]

Our Vietnam, Legal Advice for Women, Langston Hughes, Andrew Cuomo, Fashion Giants | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Appy, Christian G. American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity. Viking. Feb. 2015. 416p. ISBN 9780670025398. $28.95. HISTORY A professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Appy is noted for two big books on the Vietnam War, Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides, an oral history, and Working-Class War: […]

Ten Big Breakout Authors | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Bradford, Arthur. Turtleface and Beyond: Stories. Farrar. Feb. 2015. 208p. ISBN 9780802123190. $25; ebk.ISBN 9780374712846. SHORT STORIES An O. Henry Award–winning writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose work has appeared in places like Esquire and McSweeny’s, Bradford has good connections that are making this book buzz. The stories are funny in a dark and wicked sort […]

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