From Attenberg to Lesser to Schlink | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 4

attenberg

Attenberg, Jami. All Grown Up. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2017. 208p. ISBN 9780544824249. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780544824263. LITERARY FICTION Author of the New York Times best-selling and Los Angeles Times Book Prize short-listed The Middlesteins and, more recently, of the well-received Saint Mazie, Attenberg again lays bare the soul of a woman. Her heroine here is […]

Kunzru, See, Russian Revolution, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 3

dunant

Dunant, Sarah. In the Name of the Family. Random. Mar. 2017. 448p. ISBN 9780812996975. $28. ebk. ISBN 9780812996982. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORICAL FICTION Renowned for her bright and disciplined way with Renaissance Italy, New York Times best-selling novelist Dunant again visits the Borgias, to whom she recently paid court in Blood and Beauty. Pope Alexander […]

Four Rising-Star Novelists | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2017, Pt. 2

butlern

Butler, Nickolas. The Hearts of Men. Ecco. Mar. 2017. 400p. ISBN 9780062469687. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062469700. LITERARY Butler, who debuted with the heartfelt Shotgun Lovesongs, which won honors ranging from the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award to France’s Prix Page/America, returns after the story collection Beneath the Bonfire with another look at male bonding. At Camp […]

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

batuman

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 […]

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

armitage

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 […]

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

dennett

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 […]

Looted Books, Librarian Heroes

scally

Published in spring 2016, Joshua Hammer’s The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu celebrated the librarians who recently rescued hundreds of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts when militants invaded their city. Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe’s Libraries and the Race To Return a Literary Inheritance (Viking. Feb. 2017. 384p. tr. […]

Jamison, Oates, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2107, Pt. 2

DARNIELLE

Darnielle, John. Universal Harvester. Farrar. Feb. 2017. 224p. ISBN 9780374282103. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374714024. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Mountain Goats composer/performer Darnielle launched his writing career in a big way with 2014’s Wolf in White Van, a New York Times best seller that was long-listed for the National Book Award, a finalist for the […]

Drabble, Nguyen, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2017, Pt. 1

drabble

Drabble, Margaret. The Dark Flood Rises. Farrar. Feb. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780374134952. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374715762. LITERARY FICTION A durable author of contemporary English-language literature named a Dame of the British Empire in 2008, Drabble has plenty of life experience to bring to her portrait of graying if relentlessly busy Francesca Stubbs. Even as she […]

Debuting Arden, Award Winner Krivák, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 4

arden

Arden, Katherine. The Bear and the Nightingale. Del Rey. Jan. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781101885932. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781101885949. Downloadable: Random Audio. FANTASY/LITERARY A darkly magical fairy tale for adults, this promising debut takes us to the edge of Russia’s immense wilderness, where Vasilisa loves hearing her nurse’s old-time stories, especially about the blue-eyed winter demon […]