From Politics (Dionne, Dyson, & Frank) to the Israeli-Palestinian Life (Kashua) to Raising a Transgender Child | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Dionne, E.J. Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism—From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond. S. & S. Feb. 2016. 560p. ISBN 9780062250568. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781476763811. POLITICAL SCIENCE A syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner for Why Americans Hate Politics, also a […]

Ginsberg, Macdonald, Seidel, Young | Barbara’s Poetry Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Ginsberg, Allen. Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems. Grove. Feb. 2016. 464p. ed. by Bill Morgan. ISBN 9780802124531. $22. POETRY “Rainy night on Union Square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I’m dead.” So proclaimed Allen Ginsberg at 3:30 in the morning on August 8, 1990. And now, nearly 20 years after his death, in […]

Six Award-Winning Novelists, from Peter Behrens to John Wray| Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Behrens, Peter. Carry Me. Pantheon. Feb. 2016. 464p. ISBN 9781101870495. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870518. LITERARY/HISTORICAL The author of The Law of Dreams, which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2006, and 2012’s The O’Briens, ravishingly reviewed here, returns with another significant historical saga. Set in Europe between the world wars, it is […]

Thrillerfest X: What’s Trending in 2015


Held July 7–11 in New York City and sponsored by International Thriller Writers (ITW), this year’s Thrillerfest—the tenth annual event—really was somewhat more international in flavor than previous years. Authors present included Sara Blaedel, creator of the internationally best-selling series starring Det. Louise Rick and in 2014 voted Denmark’s most popular novelist for the fourth […]

Copper Canyon Announces a New Volume of Pablo Neruda Poems for April 2016


In June 2014, researchers at the Pablo Neruda Foundation in Santiago, Chile, discovered 20 previously unknown poems by the widely admired poet-diplomat. Poetry lovers here have been waiting impatiently, but finally we have word that Washington State–based Copper Canyon Press has acquired the U.S. rights to the manuscript. We still have to wait some–the book […]

Prize-Worthy Aboulela, Screen-Worthy Cornwell & Endo, Thatcher’s Continuing Biography, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4


Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies. Grove. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802124487. $26. LITERARY FICTION Sudanese-born, Scotland-based, and relentlessly prize-worthy, Aboulela grabbed the Caine Prize for African Writing with a story from the collection Coloured Lights and the Scottish Book Award for her most recent novel, Lyrics Alley; that novel and her two others, The […]

A Cain Kickback, Patterson in Paris, & the Art of the Thriller | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 4


Abbott, Jeff. The First Order. Grand Central. Jan. 2016. 480p. ISBN 9780316268424. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455558407. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455591855. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Three-time Edgar Award nominee Abbott returns with the fifth in his high-octane, newly formatted Sam Capra series. No word on plot yet, but this book is being positioned as a breakout; […]

From Tama Janowitz to Amy Winehouse’s Mom | Memoir Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4,


Hazzard, Kevin. A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back. Scribner. Jan. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9781501110832. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781501110870. MEMOIR Looking for a way to test himself, Hazzard became a paramedic in 2004 and held the job for nearly a decade, working in some of the toughest parts of Atlanta. […]

Why You Should Read Go Set a Watchman


Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman brings down an American icon, and some people aren’t taking that very well, though apparently I’m not alone in believing that Atticus Finch needed another good, hard look. (Here’s my full review.) Others have grumbled that the writing is not altogether prize-worthy, but what were they expecting? Kickback against […]

Benjamin Black, Mark Bowden, Janice Lee, & an Afghan Romeo and Juliet | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3


Black, Benjamin. Even the Dead: A Quirke Novel. Holt. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781627790666. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627790673. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY In this seventh in a series from Black, the alter ego of Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, Dublin-based pathologist Quirke gets quite a workout. Even as he’s worried that the blackouts and […]