Visiting with Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fang Lizhi, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 5

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Bell-Scott, Patricia. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship; Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. Knopf. Feb. 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780679446521. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101946923. HISTORY This work from Bell-Scott, professor emerita of women’s studies and family science at the University of Georgia and co-founding editor of SAGE: […]

Good Vibrations | Music Matters, September 1, 2015

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The theremin is a futuristic instrument literally played by waving your arms in the air. Sound like fun? You can now borrow one from the University of Denver’s (UD) Music Library.

Yann Martel, Iain Pears, & Jacobson’s Shakespeare Retelling | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Gallagher, Matt. Youngblood. Atria. Feb. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9781501105746. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501105760. LITERARY Never have more veterans expressed the full depth of their war experience by turning to writing, as evidenced by recent stellar fiction from authors like Elliot Ackerman, Michael Pitre, and the National Book Award–winning Phil Klay, who calls this current example […]

Love, History, Language, Tragedy | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Buckley, Gail Lumet. The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family. Atlantic Monthly. Feb. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9780802124548. $26. BIOGRAPHY/CULTURAL HERITAGE The daughter of actress Lena Horne, Buckley traces her roots back to great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave given that rare chance to obtain an education who […]

Last of the February 2016 Pop Fiction | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Bjørk, Samuel. I’m Traveling Alone. Viking. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525428961. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698193802. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Already a well-known novelist, playwright, and singer/songwriter in his native Norway (under the name Frode Sander Øien), Bjørk leaps into the Scandinavian crime fiction game with this story of a special homicide unit in Oslo investigating […]

Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Business | Social Science Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Bates, Laura. Everyday Sexism. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781250067937. $25. 99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876668. SOCIAL SCIENCE/FEMINISM On April 16, 2015, Bates’s blog, The Everyday Sexism Project, enjoyed its third anniversary and scored big as the No. 1 trending topic that day on Twitter. Bates started the blog in 2012 after she […]

Jo Nesbø Above the Arctic Circle, Irvine Welsh in Edinburgh, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Kang, Han. The Vegetarian. Hogarth: Crown. Feb. 2016. 192p. ISBN 9780553448184. $21; ebk. ISBN 9780553448191. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY Highly regarded internationally, an award winner in her native South Korea, and a former student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kang is breaking out with this tale of surprising subversion. Haunted by images from a terrible […]

On China, Criticism, & Constance Fenimore Woolson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Huang, Eddie. Back to the Mothership: In Search of Love, Happiness, and China. Spiegel & Grau. Feb. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780812995466. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995473. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. Proprietor of the popular New York City restaurant Baohaus, then author of the best-selling memoir Fresh Off the Boat (FOB), then executive producer and off-camera narrator of […]

Fetishes, Time Travel, & Disappearing Authors | Debut Fiction, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Boyce, Trudy Nan. Out of the Blues. Putnam. Feb. 2016. 351p. ISBN 9780399167263. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698140707. THRILLER Following more than 30 years with the Atlanta PD as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator, and lieutenant, Boyce leaps into writing with this story of brand-new homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt, assigned a cold […]

Mind, Brain, & Enlightenment | Science Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Gelernter, David. The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness. Liveright: Norton. Feb. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780871403803. $26.95. SCIENCE Yes, he’s a Yale computer scientist and AI expert, but Gelernter powerfully discounts the notion that we can artificially replicate the thought patterns of the human mind. To understand how we think and, more deeply, […]

Denby’s Great Books in High School, Grushin’s New Dream of a Novel, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Blaedel, Sara. The Killing Forest. Grand Central. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781455581542. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455581535. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455591862. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER An internationally best-selling author voted Denmark’s most popular novelist for the fourth time in 2014, Blaedel has been getting good attention here for relentlessly bleak and edgy books like The Forgotten […]

From Jeffrey Archer to Minette Walters | 22 Thriller & Mystery Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Archer, Jeffrey. Cometh the Hour. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9781250061621. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867505. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER Billed as a thriller but as much a family saga, this sixth in Archer’s New York Times best-selling “Clifton Chronicles” (after last year’s Mightier Than the Sword) opens with a suicide note and ends up […]

A Nina Simone Biography, Actors’ Memoirs, and Viertel on the American Musical Theater | Performing Arts Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist. Blue Rider. Feb. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399173592. $24.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking, here’s another memoir from the erstwhile Princess Leia, just in time for the release of the latest Star Wars sequel. Not a full-length narrative arc but interconnected autobiographical essays; note […]

Bacigalupi, Crais, Kenyon, Sandford, & More Chiller Authors | Fiction Previews, May 2015, Pt. 4

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Atkins, Ace. Robert B. Parker’s Kickback. Putnam. May 2015. 304p. ISBN 9780399170843. $26.95. THRILLER When 17-year-old Dillon Yates is sentenced to a lockdown juvenile facility for a minor prank, his mother asks Spenser to investigate why so many youngsters from their town have received similar sentencing from the local get-tough judge. The ugly answer has […]

LAPL Launches Indie California, powered by SELF-e

“I’m just as excited about people submitting their life stories, and the library having a role as a memory-keeper for L.A’s history, diversity and communities.” John Szabo, City Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library

Four Books by Patrick Modiano | LJ Reviews

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Modiano, Patrick. The Occupation Trilogy: La Place de L’Étoile; The Night Watch; Ring Roads. Bloomsbury USA. Sept. 2015. 208p. tr. from French by Caroline Hillier & others. ISBN 9781632863720. pap. $18. F Until he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014, Modiano was not widely known here, but American readers can now start […]

Notes on the Assemblage by Juan Felipe Herrera | LJ Review

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Herrera, Juan Felipe. Notes on the Assemblage. City Lights. Sept. 2015. 168p.  ISBN 9780872866973. pap. $16.95. POETRY As he assumes his post as the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate—the first to be Latino—Herrera is releasing a visually acute, punch-in-the-gut collection that shows off both his craft and his heart. Wound even more tightly than his previous […]

Early Warning by Jane Smiley | LJ Review

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Smiley, Jane. Early Warning. (Last Hundred Years Trilogy, Bk. 2). 15 CDs. 18:12 hrs. Books on Tape. Knopf. 2015. ISBN 9781101889077. $50. digital download. F Convening in 1953 for father and grandfather Walter’s funeral, the Iowa Langdon family notes another recent passing—Joseph Stalin. The Cold War escalates; weapons and the fortunes of Walter’s descendants (mostly) […]

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson | LJ Review

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Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins. 14 CDs. 16:30 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2015. ISBN 9781478932635. $35. Playaway digital, digital download. F The best novels reward readers at every level of engagement, from the casual listener seeking an engrossing audiobook with great characters to others in pursuit of a more intellectual study of structure and craft. […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]