Richard Fortey & Val McDermid | Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2016, Pt. 2

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Fortey, Richard. The Wood for the Trees: One Man’s Long View of Nature. Knopf. Dec. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781101875759. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101875766. SCIENCE As evidenced by a stack of awards, including the 2002 Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science, Fortey can make science sing, and his books always sell well. His new work […]

Günter Grass’s Last Work, the Nabokov-Wilson Feud, & More | Barbara’s Picks, December 2016, Pt. 1

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Beam, Alex. The Feud: Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship. Pantheon. Dec. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781101870228. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870235. LITERATURE/biogr In 1940, leading man of American letters Edmund Wilson helped asylum-seeker Vladimir Nabokov get settled in this country, introducing him to editors and assigning him book reviews for the […]

Benjamin Black, Elena Ferrante, Pulitzer Prize Winner Lowery, George Mitchell | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 3

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Black, Benjamin. Golden Lane. Holt. Nov. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781627795173. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781627795180. CD: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL John Banville writes impeccable literary works like the Man Booker Prize–winning The Sea, while as Benjamin Black he writes impeccable crime novels starring Dublin-based pathologist Quirke. Here he assumes his Black persona but travels back to 1599 […]

P.D. James, Javier Marias, the Gelbs on O’Neill, & Pulitzer Prize Winner Wood | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 2

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Gelb, Arthur & Barbara Gelb. By Women Possessed: A Life of Eugene O’Neill. Marian Wood: Putnam. Nov. 2016. 896p. ISBN 9780399159114. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780698170681. LITERATURE The Gelbs are already the authors of O’Neill (1962) and O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo (2000), so they were building on a solid base when they crafted this final […]

Michael Chabon, Alice Hoffman, Zadie Smith, John Edgar Wideman | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1

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Chabon, Michael. Moonglow. Harper. Nov. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780062225559. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062225573. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION Framed as a man’s deathbed confession to his grandson, capturing the seesawing intensity of the American century, ranging from South Philadelphia’s Jewish slums and the invasion of Germany to New York’s Wallkill Prison and a Florida […]

Alameddine, Picoult, & Ali Smith Helping Public Libraries | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Alameddine, Rabih. The Angel of History. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802125767. $26. LITERARY FICTION Named a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and PEN Open Book Award finalist and a best book by over half a dozen venues, Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman features an older Beiruti woman whose life is refracted […]

Atwood, Hajdu, Semple, & Zink | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed. Hogarth: Crown. (Hogarth Shakespeare.) Oct. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780804141291. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804141307. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION Now that Jeanette Winterson, Howard Jacobson, and Anne Tyler have all had a go at contemporizing Shakespeare via the “Hogarth Shakespeare” series (purveyed by Penguin Random House companies in eight countries, with rights sold […]

H.W. Brands, Fannie Flagg, Jonathan Lethem, Francine Prose | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 2

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Brands, H.W. The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War. Doubleday. Oct. 2016. 448p. 9780385540575. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385540582. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY Twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist and Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin, Brands illuminates the relationship […]

T.C. Boyle, Ha Jin, & the Conclusion of a Big Biography on Eleanor Roosevelt | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 1

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Boyle, T.C. The Terranauts. Ecco. Oct. 2016. 528p. ISBN 9780062349408. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062349460. LITERARY FICTION Winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for his entire oeuvre at last year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Boyle returns quickly after the New York Times best-selling The Harder They Come. In this eco-relevant work, set in 1994, […]

From Peter Ho Davies to Rose Tremain | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4

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Davies, Peter Ho. Tell It Slant. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780544263703. $27. LITERARY The son of a Welsh father and a Chinese mother, Davies won multiple awards for his first story collection and was proclaimed among the Best Young British Novelists by Granta. His first novel, The Welsh Girl, was a Los Angeles […]