Barbara's Picks

Geraldine Brooks, J.M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, & the Return of Lisbeth Salander | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 3

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Brooks, Geraldine. The Secret Chord. Viking. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780670025770. $27.95. CD: Penguin Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Brooks, who wins both prizes (e.g., the Pulitzer for March) and audiences (there are two million copies of her books out there), has always triumphed with historical subjects, and she’s back at it with this novel about King […]

Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Lauren Groff, Anthony Horowitz | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2

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Atwood, Margaret. The Heart Goes Last. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Sept. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780385540353. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385540360. lrg prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN Sounds like classic Atwood. In her first stand-alone novel since the Man Booker Prize–winning The Blind Assassin, published in 2000, the Canadian author draws on the same almost-here dystopia as […]

Mary Karr, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joyce Carol Oates | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2015. Pt. 2

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Karr, Mary. The Art of Memoir. Harper. Sept. 2015. 272p. ISBN 9780062223067. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062223081. WRITING Karr is a Pushcart Prize–winning poet and essayist, but she’s perhaps best known for her New York Times best-selling The Liars’ Club, a National Book Critics Circle finalist and PEN Nonfiction Award nominee that effectively launched the current […]

Bill Clegg, Richard Dawkins, Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Erica Jong | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2015, Pt. 1

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Clegg, Bill. Did You Ever Have a Family. Scout: Gallery. Sept. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9781476798172. $26. LITERARY FICTION Clegg is a leading literary agent and the author of two well-regarded memoirs, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days, which detail how he fell into crack addiction and stays sober now. So […]

Alaa Al Aswany, Adi Alsaid, Belinda Bauer, Jack Canfield, Susan Casey, Amitav Ghosh, Eli Gottlieb, Mary Kubica | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4

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Al Aswany, Alaa. The Automobile Club of Egypt. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780373211548. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781460379370. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Published here in 2004, Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building was a best seller in the Arab world for five years and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2006; the Times (London) recently […]

Haruki Murakami, Ian Rankin, Two New York Times Reporters as Debut Novelists, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 2

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Buck, Rinker. The Oregon Trail: An American Journey. S. & S. Aug. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9781451659160. $28. HISTORY In the years 1845–1860, 400,000 pioneers traveled west along the Oregon Trail, moving 2,000 miles from Missouri to the Pacific in what has come to be regarded as the largest land migration in history. Buck, an award-winning […]

Julianna Baggott, Alice Hoffman, Adam Johnson, John Scalzi, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2015, Pt. 1

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Baggott, Julianna. Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders. Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780316375108. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316375092. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316337694. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION Author of the “Pure” trilogy, a bleak and gorgeously rendered dystopian tale, Baggott here does something arrestingly different. Reclusive author Harriet Wolf is long dead, but rumors […]

Fredrik Backman, C.J. Box, Shirley Jackson, & The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

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Backman, Fredrik. My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. Atria. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9781501115066. $25. LITERARY FICTION An international best seller published in more than 25 languages worldwide, Backman’s first novel, A Man Called Ove, got lovely reviews here that almost always used the word charming. That word (though perhaps with more […]

Roger Hobbs, Kevin P. Keating, Jeff Lindsay, James Neff, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, & Jane Urquhart | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3

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Hobbs, Roger. Vanishing Games. Knopf. Jul. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385352642. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352659. CD: Random Audio. SUSPENSE The darling of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hobbs’s Ghostman was a stand-out debut, with rights sold to 25 countries, a film option snatched by Warner Bros., and 70,000 copies sold across formats in the United States. It […]

Gaiman, Klaussmann, Kumin, Scottoline/Serritella, Wascom, & Karjel’s Hot New Swedish Thriller | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Edition. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062371058. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780061793059. FANTASY You know Neverwhere, Gaiman’s first book, the career launcher that told the story of perfectly pleasant London businessman Richard Mayhew’s sudden drop through a crack in reality to the Neverwhere, a shadowy place under siege by some […]

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