Makos on Korean War Heroism, Moynahan on the Siege of Leningrad, Panetta on Government, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Prepub Alert, Oct. 2014, Pt. 5

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Kaplan, Eric. Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation. Dutton. Oct. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780525954392. $20. PHILOSOPHY Candidate for a PhD in philosophy at Berkeley, as well as co-executive producer of and writer for the hit TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Kaplan has the tools to make accessible some big philosophical questions: how are our […]

James Bradley, Atul Gawande, Paolo Giordano, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 4

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Anderson, Gillian & Jeff Rovin. Vision of Fire. 451: S. & S. Oct. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476776521. $25. SF/ADVENTURE Noted actor Anderson (e.g., Lady Dedlock in the BBC’s Bleak House, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in NBC’s new series Hannibal) must be drawing on her important role as Special Agent Dana Scully in the celebrated sf […]

John Grisham, Joseph Kanon, Val McDermid, Chuck Palahniuk, Jodi Picoult | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Grisham, John. Untitled Thriller. Doubleday. Oct. 2014. NAp. ISBN 9780385537148. $28.95 CD: Random  Audio. SUSPENSE After Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, so did a number of related law firms and businesses. Here, third-year law associate Samantha Kofer loses her job at the big Manhattan firm Scully & Pershing—and with it goes all her dreams. She […]

Jill Lepore, Azar Nafisi, Simon Schama, Edward O. Wilson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780385354042. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354059. HISTORY A Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer who’s a Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist, Lepore offers some surprising history here. She tells the story of the creation of Wonder Woman, […]

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 […]

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