All Kinds of Upsets | Wyatt’s World

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Popular novels of psychological suspense, such as Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, are just one example of the creepy, discomforting yet pleasurable experience of stories situated on the crossroads of horror, thriller, gothic , and historical genres. Here are five new works from across this range of literary styles.

Bicycle Thieves, L’Inhumaine, Paulette, the Tavianis, & Ulee’s Gold | Fast Scans: Top Foreign & Indie Picks, May 15, 2016

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The restored masterwork Bicycle Thieves is an essential holding; L’Inhumaine should pique the interest of serious film buffs; from the neorealistic to the magical, The Taviani Brothers give off a folk tale aura; a lovely, low-key Ulee’s Gold

We Love Paris | LJ Video Reviews, May 15, 2016

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Maison Close is recommended for those who like period dramas with a psychological edge; Thérèse Raquin presents an absorbing tale that will appeal to those who favor melodrama.

Editors’ Picks Panel | Day of Dialog 2016

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At the Editors’ Picks panel at this year’s Day of Dialog, moderator Stephanie Anderson, Darien Library, CT, brought up the Amy Einhorn Books Perpetual Challenge, a program born on Twitter that promotes the reading of all books published by the redoubtable editor of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Einhorn was at Day of Dialog in her […]

Thomas Friedman, Robert Littell, Amos Oz | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Friedman, Thomas L. Thank You for Being Late: Finding a Job, Running a Country, and Keeping Your Head in an Age of Accelerations. Farrar. Nov. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780374273538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374715144. CD: Macmillan Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE Our world is accelerating in exciting and dangerous ways, with technology allowing for self-driving cars and Wifi-enhanced […]

From Archer to Steel | Fiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Archer, Jeffrey. This Was a Man. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2016. 416p. ISBN 9781250061638. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867512. $28.99. SAGA A lot of stuff happens in this seventh and final volume of Archer’s New York Times best-selling “Clifton Chronicles,” starting with a gunshot—but who fires and who’s targeted is anyone’s guess. As Giles Barrington discovers unsettling […]

Queen Victoria, Pixar, Space Travel, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Alvarez, Walter. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton. Nov. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780393292695. $26.95. SCIENCE/COSMOLOGY If you’re familiar with the “Impact Theory,” which blames dinosaur extinction on a crash-landed asteroid, then you’re familiar with Berkeley geologist Alvarez; he originated the idea. Here he argues that Big History, which […]

Self-Help Across Subjects | Wyatt’s World

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The desire to live a more fulfilling life is a perennially favorite subject of many authors, no matter where their books fall on the Dewey decimal range. Below are current examples that illustrate the breadth of the topic—from cookbooks and craft guides to memoirs and scientific studies.

From Anomalisa to La chienne to the Valley of Love | Trailers: What’s Coming on DVD/Blu-ray

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An Oscar-nominated animated gem from Johnson & Charlie Kaufman, Renoir’s La chienne, Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Huppert & Depardieu, together again in The Valley of Love

James Patterson’s New BookShots Line

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Short fiction can be a tough sell these days, which is surprising in our lightning-fast times when a quick read should appeal. And, alas, some people have stopped reading altogether in favor of various device-driven entertainments. Mega-best-selling author Patterson aims to buck those trends with his new BookShots line, which offers brief, reasonably priced books […]

Benjamin Black, Elena Ferrante, Pulitzer Prize Winner Lowery, George Mitchell | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 3

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Black, Benjamin. Golden Lane. Holt. Nov. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781627795173. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781627795180. CD: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY/HISTORICAL John Banville writes impeccable literary works like the Man Booker Prize–winning The Sea, while as Benjamin Black he writes impeccable crime novels starring Dublin-based pathologist Quirke. Here he assumes his Black persona but travels back to 1599 […]

Baldacci, Child, Cornwell, Maitland, & More | Chiller Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 3

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Baldacci, David. No Man’s Land. Grand Central. Nov. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9781455586516. $29; ebk. ISBN 9781455586493. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455586523. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER In his fourth outing (after The Escape), military investigator John Puller must revisit his mother’s disappearance 30 years ago for the worst of reasons. Someone has alleged that his father, now […]

Megyn Kelly, Trevor Noah, Chait on Obama, & More | Current Interest Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 3

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Chait, Jonathan. The Long Game: The Greatness of the Obama Presidency. Custom House: HarperCollins. Nov. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780062426970. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062426994. POLITICAL SCIENCE Author of New York magazine’s “The National Interest” column, which is read by 1.8 million readers weekly, Chait cites President Obama’s record on major policy fronts, from economics to health […]

Reflecting on Animals: Five Timely Titles | Wyatt’s World

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It seems that books on the nature, intellect, and soul of animals are on the rise, with several new titles joining hits such as Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus and Virginia Morell’s Animal Wise Here are five suggestions for already published and forthcoming works.

P.D. James, Javier Marias, the Gelbs on O’Neill, & Pulitzer Prize Winner Wood | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 2

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Gelb, Arthur & Barbara Gelb. By Women Possessed: A Life of Eugene O’Neill. Marian Wood: Putnam. Nov. 2016. 896p. ISBN 9780399159114. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780698170681. LITERATURE The Gelbs are already the authors of O’Neill (1962) and O’Neill: Life with Monte Cristo (2000), so they were building on a solid base when they crafted this final […]

Last of the Christmas Novels 2016 | Fiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 2

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Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition. Norton. Nov. 2016. 160p. ISBN 9780393608649. $21.95. FICTION/CLASSICS Each holiday season, Manhattan’s famed Morgan Library & Museum displays one of its most important documents: the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, with corrections, deletions, and insertions all in Dickens’s own hand. Since I can […]

Introducing Syrian Music | Music Matters, May 1, 2016

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With the ongoing, tragic events in Syria and the plight of its displaced refugees, I opted to dedicate one of my Listen to This programs to learning about Syrian culture through music (my slides and speaking notes are available at ow.ly/10Cqml).

BEA Prep | Day of Dialog, the Galley Guide, & More

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Books to buy, books to recommend, trends to follow, programs to plan, and a better understanding of the state of publishing today: these are the annual takeaways from LJ’s Day of Dialog, held in conjunction with BookExpo America and going strong for nearly two decades. I’ve been there every year, and the range and quality […]

Michael Chabon, Alice Hoffman, Zadie Smith, John Edgar Wideman | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1

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Chabon, Michael. Moonglow. Harper. Nov. 2016. 432p. ISBN 9780062225559. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062225573. CD: HarperAudio. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION Framed as a man’s deathbed confession to his grandson, capturing the seesawing intensity of the American century, ranging from South Philadelphia’s Jewish slums and the invasion of Germany to New York’s Wallkill Prison and a Florida […]

Ninth-Century England, Belle Epoque Paris, Ireland in Rebellion, & More | Historical Fiction, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1

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Benedict, Marie. The Other Einstein. Sourcebooks Landmark. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781492637257. $25.99. HISTORICAL A brilliant student and the only woman in her class at Zurich Polytechnic in the late 1800s, Mileva Marić fell in love with fellow classmate Albert Einstein and eventually bore him three children, one out of wedlock. She is now suspected […]