Lives, Loves, Losses: Books for Black History Month and Beyond

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Stunning memoir, fiction, poetry; thought-provoking history, political science, sociology; and fun mystery, romance, erotica to satisfy and stir readers all year round.

Volcanoes, Dame Maggie Smith, & Life in the Andes | Audio in Advance December 2015 | Nonfiction

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Barr, Niall. Eisenhower’s Armies: The American-British Alliance During World War II. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781682620687. Reader TBA. The Anglo-American relationship from 1941-1945 proved to be the most effective military alliance in history. Yet there were also constant tensions and disagreements that threatened to pull the alliance apart. This book highlights why the unprecedented level of cooperation […]

From Annie Dillard & Edward O. Wilson to Charlotte Brontë’s Fiery Heart | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 1

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Dillard, Annie. The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New. Ecco. Mar. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780062432971. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062433015. ESSAYS On September 10, President Barack Obama awarded Dillard the National Humanities Medal “for her profound reflections on human life and nature,” as the White House citation said. “In poetry and prose, Ms. Dillard has invited […]

Bill Nye, Carly Simon, & a Biography of Joan Didion | Audio in Advance November 2015 | Nonfiction

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Bingham, Emily. Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham. Tantor. ISBN 9781494567972. Read by Christina Delaine. Raised like a princess in one of the most powerful families in the American South, Henrietta Bingham was offered the helm of a publishing empire. Instead, she ripped through the Jazz Age like an F. Scott Fitzgerald character: […]

Diana Nyad, Notorious RBG, & Luc Sante’s Paris | Audio in Advance October 2015 | Nonfiction

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Barrymore, Drew. Wildflower. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780147520715. Read by the author. Barrymore’s memoir, the first book she’s written about her life since the age of 14, includes tales of living on her own at 14 (and how laundry may have saved her life), getting stuck in a gas station overhang on a cross-country road trip, […]

Prize-Worthy Aboulela, Screen-Worthy Cornwell & Endo, Thatcher’s Continuing Biography, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2015, Pt. 4

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Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies. Grove. Jan. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780802124487. $26. LITERARY FICTION Sudanese-born, Scotland-based, and relentlessly prize-worthy, Aboulela grabbed the Caine Prize for African Writing with a story from the collection Coloured Lights and the Scottish Book Award for her most recent novel, Lyrics Alley; that novel and her two others, The […]

McLain’s Circling the Sun Soars | RA Crossroads

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Welcome to RA Crossroads, where books, movies, music, and other media converge, and whole-collection readers’ advisory (RA) service goes where it may. In this column, Beryl Markham leads me down a winding path.

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  […]

Elizabeth Gilbert, Mary Karr, & Chrissie Hynde | Audio in Advance September 2015 | Nonfiction

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Armstrong, Karen. St. Paul: The Apostle We Love To Hate. Brilliance. ISBN 9781501247804. Reader TBA. St. Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament. But as Armstrong (Fields of Blood) demonstrates, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the […]