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 […]

Europe 1815–1914, the Pacific War, & More | History Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 1

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Evans, Richard J. The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815–1914. Viking. Nov. 2016. 928p. ISBN 9780670024575. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780735221215. HISTORY Winner of Wolfson and Fraenkel honors and twice nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, Evans here sweeps through surging British imperialism, upheaval in Spain, the unification of both Germany and Italy, the decline […]

A Single Step: SELF-e Journeys | SELF-esteem

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The personal journey is often reflected in the miles a character must travel through the course of a story. Whether it be to create greater opportunities or leave behind a comfortable home, the reason for a sudden change in setting may set up a protagonist for important inner growth. The pilgrimages embarked upon by the […]

Day of Dialog, the BEA Galley Guide, & an Online Course in Collection Development

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Here are some important items for your to-do list. Going to BookExpo America? To see authors from Jay McInerney to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, plus a panel of publishing’s top editors and a slate of audio narrators, register here for this year’s Day of Dialog. Eager to tour the show floor with a guide in hand? […]

Alameddine, Picoult, & Ali Smith Helping Public Libraries | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Alameddine, Rabih. The Angel of History. Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802125767. $26. LITERARY FICTION Named a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and PEN Open Book Award finalist and a best book by over half a dozen venues, Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman features an older Beiruti woman whose life is refracted […]

Pop Fiction from Kelley Armstrong to Stuart Woods | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Armstrong, Kelley. Otherworld Chills. Plume. Oct. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780062410337. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780698173569.  FANTASY Armstrong drums up the last of three anthologies featuring short stories and novellas about characters from her mega-best-selling “Otherworld” series. While the first anthology featured romance and the second mystery, this all-new collection puts Nick, Hope, Karl, and the […]

Anguished Daughters & YouTube Stars | Memoir Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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Anderson, Sulome. The Hostage’s Daughter. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Oct. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780062385499. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062385512. MEMOIR The daughter of Terry Anderson, the AP Middle East bureau chief kidnapped in Beirut and held for more than six years by Shiite Muslims, Anderson recalls life with the father she finally met at age seven, after […]