Richard Bausch, Malcolm Brooks, Jules Feiffer, Richard Flanagan, Elizabeth Green, Daniel J. Levitin| Barbara’s Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 1

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Bausch, Richard. Before, During, After. Knopf. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780307266262. $26.95. LITERARY FICTION Winner of everything from a PEN/Malamud Award to the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Bausch offers a 20th work of fiction that blends private and public trauma to devastating effect. Disaffected Congressional aide Natasha and faith-challenged […]

From Samuel Beckett to James Carroll to Jacqueline Winspear in Historical Fiction Mode | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beckett, Samuel. Echo’s Bones. Grove. Jul. 2014. 128p. ISBN 9780802120458. $24; ebk. ISBN 9780802194077. LITERARY FICTION In 1933, Chatto & Windus agreed to issue Beckett’s first published work of fiction, a collection of ten linked stories called More Pricks Than Kicks. The editor asked Beckett to write a final piece, which was then rejected as […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2014, Pt. 1: Chris Bohjalian, Deborah Harkness, Sam Kean, Liane Moriarty, & More

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Bohjalian, Chris. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. Doubleday. Jul. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780385534833. $25.95. CD: Penguin Random Audio. POP FICTION Emily Shepard is hiding out in a shelter made of ice and trash bags after a nightmarish meltdown at a nuclear plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom that left her parents dead. Since the meltdown might […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

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Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a […]

Damien Echols, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, Lisa See, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Allen, Danielle. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780871406903. $27.95. HISTORY A political philosopher who looms large in the scholarly community (she is a professor of social science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton and on the board of the […]

Joseph Boyden, Rivka Galchen, Tom Rachman, Phyllis Rose, Colson Whitehead | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 5

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Boyden, Joseph. The Orenda. Knopf. May 2014. 448p. ISBN 9780385350730. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385350747. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Canadian Boyden has a shelf full of awards for his first two novels, and from what I’ve seen of this arrestingly written new work, soon he’ll have more. When his guides flee the rampaging Iroquois, Jesuit missionary Christophe finds […]

Kai Bird, Courtney Collins, Stacey D’Erasmo, Timothy Geithner, Ruth Reichl | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 4

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Bird, Kai. The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. Crown. May 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307889751. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780307889775. CD: Random Penguin Audio. BIOGRAPHY Given continuing tensions in the Middle East—and how much they have escalated in the last decades—we should pay attention to Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer Bird’s account of CIA agent […]

Sebastian Barry, James Bowen, Joshua Ferris, Val McDermid, James Oakes | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 3

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Barry, Sebastian. The Temporary Gentleman. Viking. May. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780670025879. $26.95.LITERARY FICTION The popular Barry (On Canann’s Side), a Costa Award winner who has been twice shortlisted for a Booker, turns in the story of Irishman Jack McNulty, a “temporary gentleman” because his commission in the British Army during World War II wasn’t made […]

Cunningham, Doerr, Hemmings, Kendal, Levitt/Dubner, McCullough Jr. | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 2

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Cunningham, Michael. The Snow Queen. Farrar. May 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780374266325. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374710347. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Lovelorn yet again, Barrett Meeks looks to the sky as he wanders through New York’s Central Park and is transfixed by a luminous white light that beams down on him angelically, inducing a religious conversion […]

Galloway, Heller, Jonasson, Prose; Doll, Dyer, Petit, Todd | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 1

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FICTION Galloway, Steven. The Confabulist. Riverhead. May 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781594631962. $27.95. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Galloway’s poignant, sharp-eyed The Cellist of Sarajevo was both a commercial and a critical success, having sold over 100,000 copies, won multiple awards (e.g., the Evergreen Award), been nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and Scotiabank Giller Prize, been featured by […]

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