January Wrap-Up: NBCC Awards & a Final Midwinter Reminder

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The National Book Critics Circle did something different when it chose its 30 finalists in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction, and poetry—for the best books of 2014. For the first time ever, one book, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf), was nominated in two categories: poetry and criticism. What’s especially exciting is that Rankine’s […]

Roger Hobbs, Kevin P. Keating, Jeff Lindsay, James Neff, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, & Jane Urquhart | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3

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Hobbs, Roger. Vanishing Games. Knopf. Jul. 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780385352642. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385352659. CD: Random Audio. SUSPENSE The darling of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Hobbs’s Ghostman was a stand-out debut, with rights sold to 25 countries, a film option snatched by Warner Bros., and 70,000 copies sold across formats in the United States. It […]

Literary (Couto, Gladstone), Historical (Forsyth, Iggulden), & Women’s (Harbison, Hopkins) | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3

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Couto, Mia. Confession of the Lioness. Farrar. Jul. 2015. 208p. tr. from Portuguese by David Brookshaw. ISBN 9780374129231. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374710958. LITERARY Winner of the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, among other awards, and one of the major writers of Portuguese-speaking Africa, Couto sets this dark and mysterious tale in the isolated village […]

Kate Braestrup, Sen. Claire McCaskill, New Yorker Staffers Finnegan & Marx, & More | Memoir Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 3

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Braestrup, Kate. Anchor and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service. Little, Brown. Jul. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780316373784. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316259330. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316373760. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR Braestrup came crashingly to our attention with Here If You Need Me, a heart shaker about her pursuing a career as chaplain to the […]

Short Stories Collections | Wyatt’s World

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Gaiman gets under the skin with Trigger Warning; Heiny garners praise for Single, Carefree, Mellow; Link returns with Get in Trouble; debut collections from Pelecanos, Pierce.

Fightin’ Words | African American Fiction (And More!)

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Urban fiction tales continue to be flush with serious insults that put rivals in their place. This month’s selections feature characters dispensing verbal beat downs with razor sharp tongues.

National Book Critics Circle Announces Its 2014 Awards Finalists

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The National Book Critics Circle did something different when it chose its 30 finalists in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, general nonfiction, and poetry—for the best books of 2014. For the first time ever, one book was nominated in two categories: Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf), a daring prose poem reminding us that the […]

Books Most Borrowed, January 2015 | Best Sellers

Grisham climbs to the top with Gray Mountain. Poehler is Please-d to be No. 1

Midwinter Galley Preview

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As usual, attendees at ALA Midwinter (Chicago, January 30–February 3) will mix running to meetings and author presentations with stalking the show floor for goodies. While this year it wasn’t feasible for LJ to do a full-scale galley guide, I’ve compiled a list of selected titles I’d recommend seeking out, arranged by publisher’s booth number. […]

Gaiman, Klaussmann, Kumin, Scottoline/Serritella, Wascom, & Karjel’s Hot New Swedish Thriller | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Gaiman, Neil. Neverwhere: The Author’s Preferred Edition. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780062371058. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780061793059. FANTASY You know Neverwhere, Gaiman’s first book, the career launcher that told the story of perfectly pleasant London businessman Richard Mayhew’s sudden drop through a crack in reality to the Neverwhere, a shadowy place under siege by some […]

Five Don’t-Miss Fiction Debuts | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Kirman, Robin. Bradstreet Gate. Crown. Jul. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780804139311. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780804139328. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. PSYCHOLOGICAL Kirman may have a BA in philosophy from Yale College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, but she sets her first novel at Harvard, where a senior’s murder profoundly affects Georgia, Charlie, and Alice—three students […]

Best-Selling Suspense from Higgins Clark, J.A. Jance, Brad Taylor, & More | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Brown, Holly. A Necessary End. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780062356376. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062356376. SUSPENSE Soon-to-be-40 Adrienne is so desperate for a baby that she allows a pregnant teenager whose child she will adopt to move into her and husband Gabe’s California home for the year after the baby’s birth. Does this sound like […]

Bukowski, Dylan, von Furstenberg, Robots, & the New American Generation | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Bukowski, Charles. On Writing. Ecco. Jul. 2015. 112p. ISBN 9780062396006. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062395986.LITERATURE/LETTERS The great cultural iconoclast Bukowski hasn’t been with us for two decades, but you can still hire him on as a writing teacher by reading this collection of his correspondence with publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers. Lots of insights into […]

Crematory Dispatches, Help with Habits, and a Much-Buzzed-About Debut Novel | Mar. 2015 Audio in Advance | Stephanie’s Picks

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Five highly anticipated audiobooks coming out in March 2015

Midwinter Reminders & Last-Minute Spring Finds from Blume, Gruen, & More

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In just a few weeks, many of us will be blowing into cold Chicago for another action-packed ALA Midwinter. If you’re going, don’t miss two fun events: 2015’s Best in Debut Authors, sponsored by LibraryReads and the Association of American Publishers and taking place Saturday, January 31, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. at McCormick Place […]

Carolina De Robertis, Paula McLain, Adam Mansbach, William Vollmann | Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2015, Pt. 1

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De Robertis, Carolina. The Gods of Tango. Knopf. Jul. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9781101874493. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101874509. LITERARY/HISTORICAL De Robertis, whose The Invisible Mountain was an international best seller with a lot of best book shout-outs in this country, echoes what she did in that novel and her following, much-praised Perla: she explores the fate […]

From Deb Caletti to Rebecca Makkai to Lidia Yuknavitch | Six Essential Women Fiction Writers, Jul. 2015, Pt. 1

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Caletti, Deb. The Secrets She Keeps. Bantam. Jul. 2015. 352p. ISBN 9780345548108. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345548115. WOMEN’S FICTION A National Book Award finalist for her YA fiction whose first adult novel was 2013’s bone-rattling He’s Gone, Caletti returns with another adult work featuring three women who gather at their aunt’s now crumbling Nevada “divorce […]

From Spain’s Golden Age to the Billion-Dollar Spy | History Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 1

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Dickey, Christopher. Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South. Crown. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780307887276. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780307887290. HISTORY As the Civil War commenced, the Confederacy desperately wanted recognition from Great Britain. But that country opposed the slave trade, which the Southern states needed reopened to maintain their economy. […]

Rwanda’s Ingoma Nshya, Secrets & Scandal in Higher Ed, Photographers Lange, Weber, plus Fast Scans | Video Reviews, January 2015

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A powerful portrait of a committed group of people changing their world; Happy Valley succeeds spectacularly; an informative, even-handed documentary of Lange; a gritty, jazzy look at NYC through Weber’s lens.

Fiction RA Picks 2014: A Sampling | Wyatt’s World

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These five titles are likely to satisfy readers endlessly and can serve as long-term RA standards.

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