Dangerous Reading, Dangerous Writing


Israeli author Dorit Rabinyan’s half-dozen literary honors range from the Wiener Award to the Bernstein Prize, given to her latest novel, All the Rivers (Random. Mar. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9780375508295. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781588361868. Downloadable: Random Audio). It was highly praised when it was first published in Israel, but when a group of teachers asked […]

Elif Batuman, Mohsin Hamid, Chris Hayes, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1


Batuman, Elif. The Idiot. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781594205613. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101622513. lrg. prnt. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION As evidenced by her National Book Critics Circle finalist, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, Batuman is a refreshingly different breed of critic, offering intriguingly personal and […]

Hot-Button Issues | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2017, Pt. 1


Alter, Adam. Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9781594206641. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698402638. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIAL MEDIA The newest addiction? It’s not to a substance but to a behavior, argues New York University professor Alter, author of the New York Times […]

Historical Echoes | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4


Hunter, Georgia. We Were the Lucky Ones. Viking. Feb. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9780399563089. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780399563102. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL Hunter, who did not know that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors until she was 15, draws on this revelatory history to tell the story of three generations of the Kurc family, […]

Nobel Prize Winner Coetzee & Civil War as Concept | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4


Armitage, David. Civil Wars: A History in Ideas. Knopf. Feb. 2017. 368p. ISBN 9780307271136. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353090. PHILOSOPHY/HISTORY The Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, Armitage considers civil war not as an aggregation of battles but as an idea dating back to republican Rome. That idea really matters, for whether or […]

Building Better Bodies, Protecting Data, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4


Buting, Jerome F. Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System. Harper. Feb. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780062569318. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062569332. TRUE CRIME The criminal defense lawyer for Steven Avery in the Teresa Halbach murder trial, chronicled in the headlines-making Netflix original documentary series, Making a Murderer, Buting uses that case and […]

17 Key Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4


Billingham, Mark. Rush of Blood. Atlantic Monthly. Feb. 2017. 480p. ISBN 9780802125910. $25. THRILLER Never before available here in a standard print edition despite its 2012 publication in the UK, this thriller is Billingham’s only novel set partly in America—Florida, to be specific, where the author has a home. Three British couples bond when they […]

Sam Shepard’s Spring


Sam Shepard is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of more than 55 plays and three story collections and is an Academy Award–nominated actor who has appeared in more than 60 films, having also worked as a screenwriter and director. What’s left to do? Write a novel, of course, and he seems to have found the time. […]

Laird Hunt, Yiyun Lee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3


Dennett, Daniel C. From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds. Norton. Feb. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780393242072. $28.95. PHILOSOPHY/MIND & BODY Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University and winner of the Erasmus Prize, Dennett knows how to talk to lay readers; he’s published numerous books, not just with academic presses […]

Harrison, Kadrey, Kenyon, & More | SF/Fantasy Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3


Carey, Jacqueline. Miranda and Caliban. Tor. Feb. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780765386793. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780765386809. FANTASY Carey, who knows fantasy—she’s author of the New York Times best-selling “Kushiel’s Legacy” series—here reimagines the greatest fantasy of them all, Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Taking a different angle, she depicts Miranda as lonely and longing for friendship with the […]