On China, Criticism, & Constance Fenimore Woolson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Huang, Eddie. Back to the Mothership: In Search of Love, Happiness, and China. Spiegel & Grau. Feb. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780812995466. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995473. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. Proprietor of the popular New York City restaurant Baohaus, then author of the best-selling memoir Fresh Off the Boat (FOB), then executive producer and off-camera narrator of […]

Fetishes, Time Travel, & Disappearing Authors | Debut Fiction, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Boyce, Trudy Nan. Out of the Blues. Putnam. Feb. 2016. 351p. ISBN 9780399167263. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698140707. THRILLER Following more than 30 years with the Atlanta PD as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator, and lieutenant, Boyce leaps into writing with this story of brand-new homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt, assigned a cold […]

Mind, Brain, & Enlightenment | Science Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Gelernter, David. The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness. Liveright: Norton. Feb. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780871403803. $26.95. SCIENCE Yes, he’s a Yale computer scientist and AI expert, but Gelernter powerfully discounts the notion that we can artificially replicate the thought patterns of the human mind. To understand how we think and, more deeply, […]

Promoting Patrick Modiano & More

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Last week was one of those fun weeks clarifying why I put up with late nights and relentless deadlines at Library Journal. Not only did I get to rush out a review of four books by Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano (embracing six novels altogether, with one volume representing “The Occupation Trilogy”), but I also […]

Denby’s Great Books in High School, Grushin’s New Dream of a Novel, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Blaedel, Sara. The Killing Forest. Grand Central. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781455581542. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455581535. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455591862. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER An internationally best-selling author voted Denmark’s most popular novelist for the fourth time in 2014, Blaedel has been getting good attention here for relentlessly bleak and edgy books like The Forgotten […]

From Jeffrey Archer to Minette Walters | 22 Thriller & Mystery Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Archer, Jeffrey. Cometh the Hour. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9781250061621. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867505. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER Billed as a thriller but as much a family saga, this sixth in Archer’s New York Times best-selling “Clifton Chronicles” (after last year’s Mightier Than the Sword) opens with a suicide note and ends up […]

A Nina Simone Biography, Actors’ Memoirs, and Viertel on the American Musical Theater | Performing Arts Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist. Blue Rider. Feb. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399173592. $24.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking, here’s another memoir from the erstwhile Princess Leia, just in time for the release of the latest Star Wars sequel. Not a full-length narrative arc but interconnected autobiographical essays; note […]

Bacigalupi, Crais, Kenyon, Sandford, & More Chiller Authors | Fiction Previews, May 2015, Pt. 4

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Atkins, Ace. Robert B. Parker’s Kickback. Putnam. May 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780399170843. $26.95. THRILLER When 17-year-old Dillon Yates is sentenced to a lockdown juvenile facility for a minor prank, his mother asks Spenser to investigate why so many youngsters from their town have received similar sentencing from the local get-tough judge. The ugly answer has […]

Four Books by Patrick Modiano | LJ Reviews

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Modiano, Patrick. The Occupation Trilogy: La Place de L’Étoile; The Night Watch; Ring Roads. Bloomsbury USA. Sept. 2015. 208p. tr. from French by Caroline Hillier & others. ISBN 9781632863720. pap. $18. F Until he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014, Modiano was not widely known here, but American readers can now start […]

Notes on the Assemblage by Juan Felipe Herrera | LJ Review

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Herrera, Juan Felipe. Notes on the Assemblage. City Lights. Sept. 2015. 168p.  ISBN 9780872866973. pap. $16.95. POETRY As he assumes his post as the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate—the first to be Latino—Herrera is releasing a visually acute, punch-in-the-gut collection that shows off both his craft and his heart. Wound even more tightly than his previous […]