Butler, Danielewski, Enright, Hemon, Pearl, & Perkins-Valdez | Barbara’s All-Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 2

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Butler, Nickolas. Beneath the Bonfire: Stories. St. Martin’s. May 2015. 272p. ISBN 9781250039835. $23.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466875531. CD: Macmillan Audio. SHORT STORIES After receiving some powerful reviews when it appeared last spring (the New York Times called it “an impressively original debut”), Butler’s Wisconsin-set, warmly small-town, big-friendship Shotgun Lovesongs went on to become a national […]

Atkinson, Dubow, Palahniuk, & Shepard | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 1

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Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins. Little, Brown. May 2015. 400p. ISBN 9780316176538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316341554. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316341530. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. LITERARY Even without its Costa Award and numerous Best Book nods, Atkinson’s remarkably shape-shifting Life After Life would have legions of fans, and they’ll be excited to learn that her next […]

Bloom, Ellis, Shipler, & the Freakonomics Duo | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2015, Pt. 1

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Bloom, Harold. The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime. Spiegel & Grau. May 2015. 528p. ISBN 9780812997828. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780812997835. LITERATURE A Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard, and MacArthur Fellow, Bloom at 84 remains one of our best-known and most influential critics. Though he’s […]

Donna Leon, Christopher McDougall, Two Big First Novels, & Shakespeare’s Women | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 4

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Freeman, Anna. The Fair Fight. Riverhead. Apr. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9781594633294. $27.95. HISTORICAL Having had great advance notice, including rave reviews upon its publication in the U.K., this debut novel lands with a punch—quite literally, since its subject is female pugilism in late 18th-century England. Brothel-born Ruth won’t triumph in the demimonde, lacking the beauty […]

David Baldacci, Larry Kramer, Steven Millhauser, Mary Morris, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 3

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Baldacci, David. Memory Man. Grand Central. Apr. 2015. 432p. ISBN 9781455559824. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455586387. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455559794. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Important bulletin to all your thriller fans: mega-best-selling author Baldacci hits a milestone with his 30th adult novel and he launches a new series. His hero is Amos Decker, who has hyperthymesia—no, […]

Brian Doyle, Bruce Holsinger, Ann Packer, & Three Essential World War II Titles | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. Martin Marten. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250045201. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466843691. LITERARY Published by an academic press, the luminously written Mink River was a dead giveaway that Doyle had a big literary future ahead of him, and he proved himself nicely with last year’s The Plover. His new novel […]

Fiction from Elizabeth Berg, Alexander McCall Smith, Kimberly McCreight, Per Petterson, & Amanda Quick; Memoirs from Philip Glass & Judith Miller | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2015, Pt. 1

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Berg, Elizabeth. The Dream Lover. Random. Apr. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780812993158. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780679644705. HISTORICAL Berg, a library favorite—her Durable Goods and Joy School were both selected as ALA Best Books of the Year—does something completely different here. She offers a fictionalized account of the famous French novelist George Sand, reimagining her decidedly unconventional […]

Saul Bellow, Scott Ellsworth, Caryl Phillips, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 4

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Bellow, Saul. There Is Simply Too Much To Think About: Collected Nonfiction. Viking. Mar. 2015. 608p. ed. by Benjamin Taylor. ISBN 9780670016693. $35. LITERATURE Issued in time for the centenary of Bellow’s birth and the tenth anniversary of his death, this work collects the Nobel laureate’s nonfiction, including criticism, interviews, speeches, and other pieces ranging […]

ISIS: The State of Terror, plus T.C. Boyle, Abigail Thomas, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 3

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Stern, Jessica & J.M. Berger. Isis: The State of Terror. Ecco. Jan. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9780062395542. $25.99. CURRENT EVENTS Our head-on engagement with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) requires some fast and furious background reading, and here it is: Ecco has just announced that on January 27, 2015, it will release a […]

Ian Caldwell, Hanif Kureishi, Thomas McGuane, Mario Vargas Llosa | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Caldwell, Ian. The Fifth Gospel. S. & S. Mar. 2015. 448p. ISBN 9781451694147. $25.99. LITERARY THRILLER Written with Dustin Thomason, Caldwell’s The Rule of Four spent nearly a year on the New York Times best sellers list. It’s been a ten-year wait for the follow-up, but here it is. In 2004, the curator of a […]

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