Shirley Jackson, 9/11 Hero Welles Crowther, John le Carré, Riad Sattouf, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4

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Bergner, Daniel. Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family. Lee Boudreaux: Little, Brown. Sept. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780316300674. $28. BIOGRAPHY Growing up in low-income housing in Virginia, Ryan Speedo Green was placed in a special classroom for unmanageable children and by age 12 was in juvenile detention after threatening to kill […]

FDR’s Last Months, African American Women Mathematicians, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 3

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Lelyveld, Joseph. His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt. Knopf. Sept. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9780385350792. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385350808. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY A former executive editor of the New York Times and author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Move Your Shadow, Lelyveld doesn’t give us overarching biography but an incisive slice of life […]

Sophie Hannah, Eimear McBride, Ron Rash & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2016. , Pt. 3

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Hannah, Sophie/Agatha Christie. Closed Casket: The New Hercule Poirot Novel. Morrow. Sept. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062458827. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062458841. CD: HarperAudio. MYSTERY With The Monogram Murders, Hannah gutsily took on the task of bringing back Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, and though some fans sniped, it was a New York Times best seller that got […]

Alan Bradley, Robert Olen Butler, Emma Donoghue, James Gleick, Robert Gottlieb | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 2

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Bradley, Alan. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780345539960. $26. CD: Random Audio. MYSTERY Wickedly smart young Flavia de Luce launched her investigative career with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which proved its worth by winning the Agatha, Macavity, Barry, Dilys, Arthur […]

Jonathan Safran Foer, Ann Patchett, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Colson Whitehead | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 1

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Foer, Jonathan Safran. Here I Am. Farrar. Sept. 2016. 592p. ISBN 9780374280024. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374280024. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Foer offers his first novel in 11 years, and not unexpectedly he’s thinking big, referencing the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac to clarify how unbearably demanding life can be. Abraham answered “Here I […]

From the Rise of Modern Philosophy to the Rise of ISIS | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2016, Pt. 3

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Cole, Teju. Known and Strange Things: Essays. Random House Trade Paperbacks. Aug. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9780812989786. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780812989793. POLITICAL SCIENCE After two genre-redefining works of fiction—Open City, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Every Day Is for the Thief, named one […]

Nadia Hashimi, Ann Hood, Tom Wolfe, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2016, Pt. 2

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Agee, Jonis. The Bones of Paradise. Morrow. Aug. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780062413475. $25.99. LITERARY FICTION Ten years after the tragedy at Wounded Knee, where the 7th Calvary slaughtered more than 200 Lakota men, women, and children, white rancher J.B. Bennett and young Native American Star are found murdered on a remote stretch of Bennett’s land. […]

Jay McInerney, Eowyn Ivey, Jesmyn Ward, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Donohoe, Kathleen. Ashes of Fiery Weather. Houghton Harcourt. Aug. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9780544464056. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544526693. LITERARY FICTION Ranging across six generations, from famine-stalked Ireland to post–9/11 New York, Donohoe’s ambitious debut offers portraits of women in the Keegan/O’Reilly clan, bound together by fire and ash. For a family of firefighters, life is fraught […]

Delia Ephron, Laura McHugh, Cynthia Ozick, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3

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Bennett, Claire-Louise. Pond. Riverhead. Jul. 2016. 208p. ISBN 9780399575891. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399575914. SHORT STORIES Originally published by the Dublin press Stinging Fly, which has given us the likes of Kevin Barry and Colin Barrett, Bennett’s story collection attracted enough attention to get a book deal in Britain, where the Guardian called it “stunning.” This […]

Jesse Ball, Jules Feiffer, Ruth Ware, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2016, Pt. 2

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Ball, Jesse. How To Set a Fire and Why. Pantheon. Jul. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101870570. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870587. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION If you didn’t know Ball’s off-kilter, engagingly experimental writing by the time 2014’s Silence Once Begun became a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Los Angeles Times Book […]