Reviews of Morag Joss’s Our Picnics in the Sun, Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, Brad Stone’s The Everything Store, Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers, Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, and a list of titles from the April 1 issue.
Literary Suspense from Joss, Kolbert on Extinctions, The Age of Amazon According to Stone | Audiobook Reviews
A public fascination with the plague and disease in general has resulted in some fine science writing; the six titles gathered here demonstrate the impact these diseases have had on humanity, but they also highlight the key developments in science and public health that have driven down the rates of infection. From the April 1 issue.
Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1
James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]
Biography from Joan of Arc & George Marshall to Stalin & Goebbels | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1
Auricchio, Laura. The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780307267559. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353243. BIOGRAPHY Americans know the Marquis de Lafayette as the French hero of the American Revolution who at age 19 volunteered to fight under George Washington and subsequently negotiated increased French support that went a long way toward winning the […]
Streaming video is well established in the consumer market (YouTube has been around since 2005 and Netflix since 2007) but is still gaining momentum in the library market. It’s not yet a huge category—LJ’s Materials Survey included downloadable/streaming movies as a category for the first time in 2013, finding that the responding libraries spent 0.6 percent of their materials budget on downloadable movies, which represented 0.9 percent of their total circulation—but it’s certainly on the rise.
Dallas, Sandra. A Quilt for Christmas. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781250045942. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466846081. HISTORICAL/CHRISTMAS Home alone tending family and farm once husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Confederates, Eliza Spooner works on a quilt to keep Will warm during those long winter months in uniform. Then she […]
Dreazen, Yochi. The Invisible Front: Love and Loss in an Era of Endless War. Crown. Oct. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780385347839. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780385347846. MILITARY A decorated two-star officer, Maj. Gen. Mark Graham is all too familiar with the suicide epidemic among soldiers—and how it’s shoved under the rug by the military. He and his […]
Tantorious is a monthly podcast series featuring interviews with well-known authors, hosted by Allan Hoving and presented by Tantor Audio. Lewis Dartnell is regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation. Working in the field of astrobiology and the search for microbial life on Mars, he has won several awards for his science […]
The coincidence couldn’t be more telling. Just as I was writing up Laird Hunt’s eye-opening new novel, Neverhome, as one of my Fiction Picks, I got wind of this year’s winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Hunt’s Kind One was an Anisfield-Wolf fiction winner last year, and one suspects that the award helped move this […]
Laird Hunt, Laila Lalami, Ben Lerner, Joseph O’Neill, Christos Tsiolkas | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5
Hunt, Laird. Neverhome. Little, Brown. Sept. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780316370134. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316370127. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316370158. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his previous novel, Kind One, and a two-time finalist for the PEN Center USA Award, Hunt is a real writer’s writer poised for breakout with this […]
Wendy Davis, Dana Goldstein, Steven Pinker, Terry Pratchett, Tavis Smiley | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5
Davis, Wendy. Untitled Memoir. Blue Rider. Sept. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780399170577. $27.95. MEMOIR/POLITICS A women’s rights heroine for her nearly 11-hour filibuster to block a bill that aimed to close all but five abortion clinics in Texas, Texas state senator Wendy Davis is equally famed for being a single mom who eventually got herself into […]
Literary Gems (e.g., Nancy Huston, Brian Morton) and Some Major Debuts | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5
Adcock, Siobhan. The Barter. Dutton. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780525954224. $26.95. LITERARY In present-day Texas, Bridget feels a certain emptiness after giving up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter—and a certain anxiousness because she alone senses that an alien presence has entered the house. A century before, a bride from the city […]
Brewster, Todd. Lincoln’s Gamble: How the Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of the Civil War. Scribner. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781451693867. $27. HISTORY Don E. Ackerman Director of Oral History at the United States Military Academy, West Point, Brewster chronicles the six months from July 12, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln first asserted that he would […]
Jean-Marc Vallee’s expressionistic meditation on obsessive love; Martin Scorsese’s restored versions of seldom seen but important films; the second of Michaelangelo Antonioni’s “alienation trilogy”; Stuart Blumberg proves adept behind the lens; an escape from the slums of Havana in Lucy Mulloy’s feature-film debut