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

Kotkin.Stalin

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 […]

Great Women’s Fiction from Chan, Dodd, Karon, & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 3

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Chan, Darcie. The Mill River Redemption. Ballantine. Sept. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780345538239. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345541567. CD/downloadable: Penguin Random Audio. WOMEN’S FICTION As a self-published ebook, Chan’s The Mill River Recluse sold more than 700,000 copies and was picked up for print publication by Ballantine, which will release it in June. In this follow-up […]

Ackerman, Carr, Darnton, Fukuyama, Kissinger | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 3

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Ackerman, Diane. The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us. Norton. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780393240740. $27.95. SCIENCE Humans now dominate 75 percent of the landmass, and our technological prowess allows us to gift orangutans with iPads and collect DNA samples even as species are killed off. As distinguished naturalist and poet Ackerman notes, “Our […]

Ann Hood, Jonathan & Jesse Kellerman, Hilary Mantel, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 3

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Hood, Ann. An Italian Wife. Norton. Sept. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780393241662. $25.95. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Winner of the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction and the Best American Spiritual Writing Award, among other honors, Hood seems primed to write a multigenerational saga with a quest at its heart. At the turn of the 20th century, Josephine Rimaldi […]

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