Last of the April 2017 Nonfiction | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

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Drezner, Daniel. The Ideas Industry. Oxford Univ. Apr. 2017. 344p. ISBN 9780190264604. $27.95. SOCIAL SCIENCE Professor of International Politics at Tufts University and author of such books as The System Worked, Drezner examines the uncomfortable evolution of the public intellectual, once someone who debated issues in an open forum and now more likely someone with […]

Short List Announced for Andrew Carnegie Medals

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The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the six books short-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction, which are given for the previous year’s best adult fiction and nonfiction books published in the United States. The two medal winners will be revealed at the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) […]

Obituary: Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today Book Critic

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It’s not every nationally known book critic that serves on the board of his local public library, but then Bob Minzesheimer, who died on October 15 after a battle with brain cancer, wasn’t just any book critic. USA Today‘s longtime book reviewer and writer, who was only 66 when he died, Bob earned a master’s […]

Key Poetry Jan.–Apr. 2017

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Bidart, Frank. Half-light: Collected Poems 1965–2017. Farrar. Apr. 2017. 624p. ISBN 9780374125950. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780374715182. POETRY Multi-award-winning Bidart (e.g., the Bollingen Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award) represents a high point in contemporary America poetry, with dramatic, focused writing exploring our darkest psychic corners and greatest needs. Including a new collection, Thirst; originally […]

Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3

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El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]

15 Key Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3

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Armstrong, Ross. The Watcher. Mira: Harlequin. Apr. 2017. 302p. ISBN 9780778330721. $26.99. THRILLER Noted actor Armstrong (he’s appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in Hamlet on Broadway) launches his writing career with psychological suspense that Harlequin UK is dubbing a lead breakout title. When an elderly neighbor turns up dead shortly after birdwatcher Lily […]

Cooks, Rebel Mothers, & Media Stars | Memoir Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3

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Andreas, Peter. Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution. S. & S. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781501124396. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501124457. MEMOIR In the Sixties, conventional housewife Carol Andreas morphed into a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary, running through numerous husbands and lovers as she sought for and fought for important causes. She took her […]

War, Islam, & Evangelicals | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2

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Bellaigue, Christopher de. The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2017. 560p. ISBN 9780871403735. $35. HISTORY Many Westerners see Islam as behind the times, having failed to experience Europe’s Enlightenment. But Bellaigue, an authority on Islam and the Middle East who speaks Turkish, Persian, and Arabic […]

Nadeem Aslam, Elizabeth Kostova, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2

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Aslam, Nadeem. The Golden Legend. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493781. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493798.LITERARY Winner of the Kiriyama and Windham-Campbell Literature prizes, Aslam has also been short-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and twice long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, honors that don’t begin to sum up the power of his nuanced, […]

Cleeves, Hillerman, & More | Mystery Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2

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Albert, Susan Wittig. The Last Chance Olive Ranch: A China Bayles Mystery. Berkley. Apr. 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780425280034. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698190283. MYSTERY In the 25th mystery starring China Bayles, a high-profile Houston attorney who threw it all away to become an herbalist, China grudgingly agrees when her onetime policeman husband insists that she keep […]