Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 204, Pt. 1: Sarah Addison Allen, Isabel Allende, Wiley Cash, Joyce Carol Oates

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Allen, Sarah Addison. Lost Lake. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250019806. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250019813. POP FICTION Allen offers her own brand of magic in books like Garden Spells and The Peach Keepers and always gets on the New York Times best sellers list. Here she sends newly widowed Kate to Lost Lake Cottages […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2014, Pt. 1: Four Essential Literature Titles, Including Susan Cheever on e.e. cummings

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Cheever, Susan. E.E. Cummings: A Life. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307379979. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307908674. LITERATURE Though Edmund Wilson called his poetry hideous, Malcolm Cowley proclaimed e.e. cummings unsurpassed in his field, and when he died in 1962, he was the most read poet in this country after Robert Frost. There’s still plenty of […]

Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: Chiavareni, Cornwell, Johnson, Jungersen, & Sansom, plus Poetry of Witness

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Chiaverini, Jennifer. Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival. Dutton. Jan. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780525954286. $26.95. HISTORICAL Having demonstrated her talent for revivifying real-life women from the Civil War era with Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and The Spymistress, Chiaverini introduces us to Kate Chase Sprague, who helped her much-widowed father get established as secretary of the Treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: Dow, Grandin, Moore, & More

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Brewster, Joe & Michèle Stephenson. American Promise: Raising Black Boys To Succeed in School and in Life. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9780812994483. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780812994490. EDUCATION The black male achievement gap is a real problem even for successful parents like Harvard-trained psychiatrist Brewster and Columbia Law School graduate Stephenson, who became […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: Elisabeth de Waal, Alan Lightman, Gary Shteyngart, & More

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  de Waal, Elisabeth. The Exiles Return. Picador. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781250045782. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250045799. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Like Irène Némirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling The Hare with Amber Eyes, their Jewish banking family’s possessions were appropriated […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 3: Tiffany Baker, Rachel Joyce, Carville/Matalin, & More

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  Baker, Tiffany. Mercy Snow. Grand Central. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781455512737. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781455512744; lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455551675. LITERARY FICTION Baker launched her career smashingly with The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, a New York Times best-selling tale of some originality and spunk; its follow-up, The Gilly Salt Sisters, wasn’t as big a […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 2: From Ishmael Beah to Richard Powers

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Beah, Ishmael. Radiance of Tomorrow. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Jan. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780374246020. $25. ebk. ISBN 9780374709433. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION In 2007, Beah woke us from our slumbers with A Long Way Gone, a lacerating first-person account of civil war in Sierra Leone and the child soldiers forced into battle. Here, in his […]

January 2014 Sneak Preview: Four Major Novels by Doctorow, Grimes, Horan, & Chang-rae Lee

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Doctorow, E.L. Andrew’s Brain. Random. Jan.  2014. 224p. ISBN 9781400068814. $26; ekb. ISBN 9780812995046. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION We’re used to thinking of Ragtime’s towering author as painting a big, broad canvas for us, but his latest novel works a little differently. It focuses in tightly, giving us the conversation of a protagonist named […]

Barbara’s Picks, Dec. 2013, Pt. 2: Data Mining, Gold, Suspense, Fiction in Translation, & a Big Debut Novel

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Aiden, Erez & Jean-Baptiste Michel. Uncharted: Big Data and an Emerging Science of Human History. Riverhead: Penguin Group (USA). Dec. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781594487453. $27.95. SCIENCE/HISTORY Harvard Society Fellow Aiden and Harvard University scientist Michel, a 2012 TED Fellow recently named one of Forbes’s “30 under 30,” here address a hot (indeed, controversial) topic: mining […]

First Novels: Hot Debuts for Summer | June 1, 2013

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A list of 61 new exciting fiction titles.

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