Performing Arts Essentials: Books by Cumming, Dunham, Lear, & Poehler | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Cumming, Alan. Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir. Dey: HarperCollins. Oct. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062225061. $26.99. MEMOIR A star of stage and screen who broke our hearts with his Tony Award–winning portrayal of the Emcee in 1998’s Cabaret—and is doing so again on Broadway now—Cumming here offers a totally unexpected memoir. At the time he […]

Fashion Essentials: Chanel, Saint Laurent, Schiaparelli | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Garelick, Rhonda. Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History. Random. Oct. 2014. 576p. ISBN 9781400069521. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780679604266. BIOGRAPHY Drawing on the Chanel archives, extensive interviews, and her own background as an author with a Yale PhD in French and comparative literature who covers fashion, performance, art, and cultural politics, Garelick offers more […]

Michel Faber, Ron Rash, Anne Rice, Garth Stein | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 2

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Faber, Michel. The Book of Strange New Things. Hogarth: Crown. Oct. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9780553418842; ebk. ISBN 9780553418859. $28. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY Published in 2002, Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White has since sold more than a half million copies; I’ve been a fan since reading his exquisitely rendered collection, The Courage Consort. […]

Hot-Button Issues from Gun Control to Abortion | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 2

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Biskupic, Joan. Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Oct. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780374298746. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374712419. BIOGRAPHY Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer having released a memoir just last year, what can Biskupic bring to the table? Aside from her experience as a 20-year veteran of […]

Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling  preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]

Biography from Joan of Arc & George Marshall to Stalin & Goebbels | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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Auricchio, Laura. The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780307267559. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353243. BIOGRAPHY Americans know the Marquis de Lafayette as the French hero of the American Revolution who at age 19 volunteered to fight under George Washington and subsequently negotiated increased French support that went a long way toward winning the […]

Laird Hunt, Laila Lalami, Ben Lerner, Joseph O’Neill, Christos Tsiolkas | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Hunt, Laird. Neverhome. Little, Brown. Sept. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780316370134. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316370127. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316370158. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his previous novel, Kind One, and a two-time finalist for the PEN Center USA Award, Hunt is a real writer’s writer poised for breakout with this […]

Wendy Davis, Dana Goldstein, Steven Pinker, Terry Pratchett, Tavis Smiley | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Davis, Wendy. Untitled Memoir. Blue Rider. Sept. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780399170577. $27.95. MEMOIR/POLITICS A women’s rights heroine for her nearly 11-hour filibuster to block a bill that aimed to close all but five abortion clinics in Texas, Texas state senator Wendy Davis is equally famed for being a single mom who eventually got herself into […]

Margaret Atwood, Robert Bennett Jackson, Tana French, Emily St. John Mandel, T. Jefferson Parker, Merritt Tierce | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept 2014, Pt. 4

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Atwood, Margaret. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. Doubleday. Sept. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780385539128. $25.95. SHORT STORIES Of the nine stories featured in Atwood’s first collection since 2006’s Moral Disorder, only three have been previously published. The feel is generally witty and somewhat outré; a woman with a genetic abnormality is assumed to be a vampire, a […]

Richard Blanco, Charles M. Blow, John Lahr, Brian Turner, Sheila Weller | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 4

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Blanco, Richard. Untitled Memoir. Ecco. Sept. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062313768. $25.99. MEMOIR Blanco has won Agnes Starrett, Tom Gunn, Patterson, and PEN/American Beyond Margins honors for his poetry. What’s more, he was appointed the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay poet to receive that […]

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