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


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 […]

Last of the September Pop Fiction, from Paula Daly to Kim Harrison & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4


Block, Sandra. The Girl Without a Name. Grand Central. Sept. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9781455583775. pap. $15. THRILLER Block scored a hit with her debut, Little Black Lies, featuring energized psychiatrist Zoe Goldman. Now the good doctor is back, dealing with an African American girl whose identity is unknown. She’s suffering from amnesia, and evidently wants […]

From Sisters in Law O’Connor & Ginsburg to Expanding Children’s Brains | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 4,


Ananthaswamy, Anil. The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self. Dutton. Aug.  2015. 320p. ISBN 9780525954194. $26.95. MEDICAL If you like Oliver Sacks, you’ll love this new work by Ananthaswamy, an award-winning science journalist and former deputy news editor and current consultant for New Scientist. His smart approach to […]

Essential Memoirs from Margo Jefferson, Wendell Pierce, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2015, Pt. 2


Jefferson, Margo. Negroland. Pantheon. Sept. 2015. 240p. ISBN 9780307378453. $25. MEMOIR Former New York Times theater critic Jefferson defines Negroland as “a small region of Negro America where residents are sheltered by privilege and plenty,” and in 1947 she was born into it. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the […]

Final Summer Sweep: Louis de Bernières, Ernest Cline, & More


This newsletter opens coverage of September titles, before you even have a chance to shimmy into your bathing suit and head to the pool, and it’s the last chance to cite a few big summer titles that have come to my attention late. Note, for instance, Louis de Bernières’s The Dust That Falls from Dreams […]

Linda Fairstein, Sophie Hannah, Michael Koryta, & More | Essential Thriller Titles, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4


Burdett, John. The Asset. Knopf. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780307272683. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353205. POLICE PROCEDURAL Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a Buddhist detective with the Royal Thai Police Force, returns after Vulture Peak for some seriously techy trouble. With female inspector Krom, as capable socially and technologically as he’s not, Sonchai peers through a raging typhoon at […]

Five Key Memoirs from Felicia Day, Smokejumper Jason Ramos, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Aug. 2015, Pt. 4


Badkhen, Anna. Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Riverhead. Aug. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781594632488. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698142718. MEMOIR Award-winning reporter Badkhen often reports on war, and even when she’s not she goes to the edge in interesting ways; 2013’s The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan […]

Best-Selling Suspense from Higgins Clark, J.A. Jance, Brad Taylor, & More | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2


Brown, Holly. A Necessary End. Morrow. Jul. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9780062356376. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062356376. SUSPENSE Soon-to-be-40 Adrienne is so desperate for a baby that she allows a pregnant teenager whose child she will adopt to move into her and husband Gabe’s California home for the year after the baby’s birth. Does this sound like […]

Six Essential Debuts, from Quan Barry to M.O. Walsh | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1


Barry, Quan. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780307911773. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307911780. LITERARY Barry writes quietly fervent poetry that’s been honored with an AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize, which bodes well for her first foray into fiction. Heroine Rabbit is born along the Song Ma River as the Vietnam […]

History/Biography from Thomas Cromwell to the Great Society to the Death of Tin Pan Alley | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 3


Borman, Tracy. Thomas Cromwell. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2015. 336p.ISBN 9780802123176. $30. BIOGRAPHY Here’s a nonfiction account of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s invaluable adviser, to go with the fictional account that Hilary Mantel has provided in the Man Booker Award winners Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies. Borman has special insight (and an audience-pleasing touch) […]