Barbara's Picks

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

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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 […]

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

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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 […]

Pierce Brown, Sebastian Faulks, Elizabeth McKenzie, Lawrence Osborne | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 2

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Brown, Pierce. Morning Star: The Red Rising Trilogy, Bk. 3. Del Rey. Jan. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780345539847. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345539854. SF Brown’s Red Rising, the start of a dystopian trilogy set on Mars, where a rigidly hierarchical society keeps Reds slaving beneath the soil under the pretense that they are building for a future […]

World War Marriage, Hunter S. Thompson, a Nazi Diary, & Women Changing the Arab World | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 2

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Buruma, Ian. Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War. Penguin Pr. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781594204388. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698410183. HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College and one of our leading public intellectuals (as he was twice voted by the Foreign Policy/Prospect magazines in recent years), Buruma […]

From Occupy Art to Romantic Suspense | Barbara’s Picks, Prepub Alert, Dec. 2015, Pt. 1

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Crabapple, Molly. Drawing Blood. Harper. Dec. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781476772080. $25.99. MEMOIR Crabapple traveled through Europe and the Near East after high school, then settled in New York and worked at the nightclub The Box. She also witnessed the 9/11 attack. Eventually, the emerging Occupy movement compelled her to artistic talents to serve a new […]

Christopher Buckley, James Lee Burke, Paolo Giordano, & Ruth Rendell | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2015, Pt. 1

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Buckley, Christopher. The Relic Master. S. & S. Dec. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9781501125751. $26.95. HISTORICAL Buckley, who’s been called “the funniest writer in the English language” by Tom Wolfe and has a Thurber Prize for American Humor to prove it, offers a boisterous tale of 16th-century relic hunting that should have broad appeal. It’s 1517, […]

From Kevin Barry to Mary Gaitskill to Stephen King | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Nov. 2015, Pt. 3

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Barry, Kevin. Beatlebone. Doubleday. Nov. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780385540292. $24.95. LITERARY FICTION Barry broke out big with his darkly brilliant debut, City of Bohane, winner of the International Dublin IMPAC Literary Award, and has since published two show-stopping collections. Here, after appearing with foresightful Graywolf, he’s getting his first big-house publication in the United States, […]

Mary Beard’s Ancient Rome, Edmund de Waal’s Porcelain, Jon Meacham’s Next Presidential Study, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Nov. 2015, Pt. 3

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Beard, Mary. S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome.. Liveright: Norton. Nov. 2015.  512p. ISBN 9780871404237. $35. HISTORY Cambridge classics professor Beard couldn’t be more modern in how she shares her ideas, serving as a television presenter and authoring the popular blog “A Don’s Life” while dealing firmly but genially with trollers who just can’t seem […]

Fairy Tales from Cunningham, Murder from Eco, an American Qur’an, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2015, Pt . 2

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Alarcón, Daniel (text) & Sheila Alvarado (illus.). City of Clowns. Riverhead. Nov. 2015. 144p. ISBN 9781594633331. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698168688. GRAPHIC NOVEL Fans (like me) of Alarcón, a New Yorker “20 Under 40” author whose Lost City Radio won the 2009 International Literature Award, will be intrigued to learn about this graphic-novel version of a […]

The Last of Hijuelos, New Fiction by Albom & Allende, & Major History by Beevor, Kershaw, & Sebestyen | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2015, Pt. 1

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Albom, Mitch. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. Harper. Nov. 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780062294418. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062294425. CD: HarperAudio. POP FICTION Albom writes spiritually engaged work, from Tuesdays with Morrie, said to be the world’s best-selling memoir ever, to The First Phone Call from Heaven, his latest No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel. […]