DiSclafani, Erdrich, Haddon, Joe Hill, & Fargo’s Hawley | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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DiSclafani, Anton. The After Party. Riverhead. May 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781594633164. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780698161238. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY DiSclafani’s daring debut, the much proclaimed and New York Times best-selling The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, was a coming-of-age story set in the 1930s South. Her new work, set in oil-rich 1950s Texas, features a […]

Sean Carroll, Janine di Giovanni, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Nathaniel Philbrick | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Carroll, Sean. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780525954828. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698409767. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SCIENCE A theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, Carroll won the Royal Society Winton Prize for The Particle at the End of the Universe, his […]

O’Nan in Jerusalem, a Newly Discovered Tolkien, Abu-Jaber’s New Memoir, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abu-Jaber, Diana. Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Norton. Apr. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780393249095. $26.95. MEMOIR Abu-Jaber, a fiction writer known for sparkling award winners like Crescent, has also given us the luscious memoir The Language of Baklava. Here she continues wrapping her discussion of love and identity in the sweet […]

New Novels from Divakaruni & Graham Swift, McBride on James Brown, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 2

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Blum, Howard. The Last Goodnight: A World War II Story of Espionage, Adventure, and Betrayal. Harper. Apr. 2016. 544p. ISBN 9780062307675. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062307798. HISTORY A contributing editor at Vanity Fair and the author of the Edgar Award-winning American Lightning and the New York Times best seller Dark Invasion (hey, Bradley Cooper has optioned […]

Daring Librarians, Hamilton as Musical, Quindlen’s New Novel, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 1

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Doerries, Bryan. The Odyssey of Sergeant Jack Brennan. Pantheon. Apr. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9780375715167. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870990. GRAPHIC NOVEL/CLASSICS Doerries is the founder of Theater of War, which aims to help service members, veterans, and their families cope with the damage of war, both physical and emotional, by presenting readings of ancient Greek […]

Jane Eyre Reimagined, Novellas from Jim Harrison, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 4

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Carter, M.J. The Infidel Stain. Putnam. Mar. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780399171680. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698168749. MYSTERY Carter’s first work of fiction, The Strangler Vine, brought together soldier William Avery and secret agent Jeremiah Blake in late 1830s India with triumphant results; it was long-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize and a finalist for the CWA […]

An Irish Rebel, John Elder Robison’s Brain Change, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 4

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Egan, Timothy. The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2016. 448p. ISBN 9780544272880. HISTORY Even if you don’t know Egan as a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, the National Book Award–winning author of The Worst Hard Time, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt […]

Irish Writers Baume & Binchy, Man Booker Short-lister Sahota, Adam Hochschild, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 3

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Baume, Sara. Spill Simmer Falter Wither. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780544716193. $23; ebk. ISBN 9780544716223. LITERARY FICTION A lonely man and a one-eyed dog form a bond, and the man takes his furry friend into his home. Before, they were treated like outcasts by the villagers, but now they are feared as a […]

From Mischa Berlinski & Helen Simonson to Augusten Burroughs | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 2

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Barker, Pat. Noonday. Doubleday. Mar. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780385537728. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385537735. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Barker’s celebrated “Regeneration Trilogy” boldly took on World War I, as did her recent novels Life Class and Toby’s Room, about Elinor Brooke, Kit Neville, and Paul Tarrant, students at the Slade School of Art when war intervenes. This work wraps […]

Chevalier, Fishman, O’Brien, Oyeyemi, & Spiotta | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 1

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Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard. Viking. Mar. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780525953005. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698404199. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Chevalier is the New York Times best-selling author of numerous audience favorites, notably Girl with a Pearl Earring, and with this book, as a way to introduce her to new readers, her new publisher […]