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 […]

Pearl Harbor, Stalin’s Last American Spy, & More | History Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 3

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Clark, Lloyd. Blitzkrieg: Myth, Reality, and Hitler’s Lightning War: France 1940. Atlantic Monthly. Sept. 2016. 384p. ISBN 978-0802125132. $27. HISTORY British historian Clark (The Battle of the Tanks: Kursk, 1943) examines the German army’s swift toppling of France and the Low Countries in spring 1940, arguing that it was not inevitable—the Germans needed the element […]

Alan Bradley, Robert Olen Butler, Emma Donoghue, James Gleick, Robert Gottlieb | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 2

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Bradley, Alan. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780345539960. $26. CD: Random Audio. MYSTERY Wickedly smart young Flavia de Luce launched her investigative career with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which proved its worth by winning the Agatha, Macavity, Barry, Dilys, Arthur […]

Socially Significant Works on Resegregation, ADHD, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 2

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Ajayi, Luvvie. I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. Holt Paperbacks. Sept. 2016. 224p. ISBN 9781627796064. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9781627796071. HUMOR/ESSAYS In her much-read blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com, Ajayi addresses popular culture with sharpened wit. Yet as her 500,000 monthly readers can attest, she’s not just reporting on popular television shows or Facebook gaffes but acting as […]

From Commissario Guido Brunetti to Intrepid Maisie Dobbs | Barbara’s Suspense Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Leon, Donna. Waters of Eternal Youth. Atlantic, Mar. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780802124807. $26. MYSTERY Commissario Guido Brunetti’s 25th case has a little twist; there’s no dead body and possibly no crime. Late one night, a teenager splashed into the bottle-green waters of a Venice canal, and the stumbling drunk who pulled her out—not before she […]

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 […]

Ginsberg, Macdonald, Seidel, Young | Barbara’s Poetry Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Ginsberg, Allen. Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems. Grove. Feb. 2016. 464p. ed. by Bill Morgan. ISBN 9780802124531. $22. POETRY “Rainy night on Union Square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I’m dead.” So proclaimed Allen Ginsberg at 3:30 in the morning on August 8, 1990. And now, nearly 20 years after his death, in […]

Benjamin Black, Mark Bowden, Janice Lee, & an Afghan Romeo and Juliet | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3

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Black, Benjamin. Even the Dead: A Quirke Novel. Holt. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781627790666. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781627790673. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. MYSTERY In this seventh in a series from Black, the alter ego of Man Booker Prize winner John Banville, Dublin-based pathologist Quirke gets quite a workout. Even as he’s worried that the blackouts and […]

From the Armenian Genocide to the Holocaust to the Dadaab Refugee Camp | History Previews, Jan. 2016, Pt. 3

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Loridan-Ivens, Marceline. But You Did Not Come Back. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2016. 112p. ISBN 978080212450. $22. HISTORY When she was only 15, Loridan-Ivens was sent by the Vichy militia to the Drancy transit camp with her father, who told her that he would not survive the ordeal they were about to face. In fact, he  […]