Barbara's Picks

War, Immigration, & Top-Flight Fiction | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2018

Abouzeid, Rania. No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria. Norton. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780393609493. $26.95. CURRENT EVENTS/MIDDLE EAST For her in-depth coverage of the Middle East, Beirut-based Abouzeid has earned numerous honors, from the George Polk Award to the European Commission’s Anna Lindh Journalist Foundation Award. Here she gives a history […]

From Hannah to Vargas Llosa | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2018

Hannah, Kristin. The Great Alone. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2018. 448p. ISBN 9780312577230. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250165619. CD. Macmillan Audio. POP FICTION In 1974, what could be harder for 13-year-old Leni Allbright than having a dangerously unsettled Vietnam vet dad? Having him lose yet another job and decide to move the family to the Alaskan wilderness, […]

Politics, Memoir, Essays | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2018

Amis, Martin. The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1986–2017. Knopf. Feb. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9781400044535. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780525520252. LITERARY ESSAYS Smartly acidulous in his nonfiction as in his fiction, celebrated British author Amis (now based in Brooklyn) collects 30 years’ worth of essays ranging from Trump and terrorism […]

Banville, Mamet, Zadie Smith, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2018

Banville, John. Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir. Knopf. Feb. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781524732837. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732844. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/TRAVEL Not just a memoir, this new work by Man Booker Prize winner Banville recounts his relationship with Dublin, a significant force in his life if not in his fiction until the Quirke mystery series […]

Winter with Knausgaard & Ali Smith, Cornwell Revisits Shakespeare, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2018

Benjamin, Melanie. The Girls in the Picture. Delacorte. Jan. 2018. 448p. ISBN 9781101886809. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101886816. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Mary Pickford was full of the firsts: the first to have her name above the marquee, to win Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie, and to place her hand- and footprints […]

Short Fiction to Debut Novel | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2018

MacArthur, Robin. Heart Spring Mountain. Ecco. Jan. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062444424. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062444455. LITERARY Winner of the PEN New England Book Award for Fiction, MacArthur’s Half Wild offered stories both complex and polished about women from the backwoods who want up and out. Her debut novel draws on the same milieu, featuring New […]

From Lampedusa to Black Lives Matter | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jan. 2018

Bartolo, Pietro & Lidia Tilotta. Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story. Norton. Jan. 2018. 224p. tr. from Italian by Chenxin Jiang. ISBN 9780393651287. $25.95. MEMOIR Born into a family of fishermen, Bartolo has run the only medical clinic on the Italian island of Lampedusa for 25 years, tending to his fellow islanders while also helping […]

Bradley, Benjamin, Finn, Johnson, Joyce | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2018

Benjamin, Chloe. The Immortalists. Putnam. Jan. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780735213180. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780735213197. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY FICTION Having won the Edna Ferber Prize for The Anatomy of Dreams, Benjamin came up with a second novel that caught fire at BookExpo—it was, in fact, a BE Buzz Book—and has already been bought by the […]

Katherine Arden, Ursula Le Guin, Andy Weir | Barbara’s Picks, Nov./Dec. 2017

Arden, Katherine. The Girl in the Tower. Del Rey: Ballantine. Dec. 2017, 384p. ISBN 9781101885963. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101885970. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/FANTASY Following her absorbingly vibrant and highly praised debut, the LibraryReads pick The Bear and the Nightingale, Arden returns with a sequel that continues the story of the brave and impetuous Vasya in […]

Technology, Literature, & Dan Rather | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Nov. 2017

Berlin, Leslie. Troublemakers: The Story of Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age. S. & S. Nov. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9781451651508. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781451651522. TECHNOLOGY Five of the world’s six most valuable companies are high-tech firms, and they were helped to the top by the six innovators profiled here, who broke ground in 1970s and early […]