Yann Martel, Iain Pears, & Jacobson’s Shakespeare Retelling | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Gallagher, Matt. Youngblood. Atria. Feb. 2016. 336p. ISBN 9781501105746. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501105760. LITERARY Never have more veterans expressed the full depth of their war experience by turning to writing, as evidenced by recent stellar fiction from authors like Elliot Ackerman, Michael Pitre, and the National Book Award–winning Phil Klay, who calls this current example […]

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 […]

Last of the February 2016 Pop Fiction | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4

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Bjørk, Samuel. I’m Traveling Alone. Viking. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525428961. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698193802. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Already a well-known novelist, playwright, and singer/songwriter in his native Norway (under the name Frode Sander Øien), Bjørk leaps into the Scandinavian crime fiction game with this story of a special homicide unit in Oslo investigating […]

A Genre Takes Flight | Genre Spotlight: Science Fiction

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SF/fantasy is enjoying a pop cuilture moment. Leading trends include epics, dark and light alike; secondary world urban fantasies; comebacks for hard, military, and near future sf, and aerial adventure.

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 […]

Best-Selling Bohjalian, First Novelists Betancourt & Yapa, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2016, Pt. 1

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Bales, Kevin. Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, Ecocide, and the Secret to Saving the World. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780812995763. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780812995770. SOCIAL SCIENCE Cofounder and past president of Free the Slaves whose crusading has led to his speaking before organizations from the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates to the […]

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

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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 […]

Quantum Biology, the Neuroscience of Anxiety, & Nobel Prize Winner Wilczek on Beauty | Science Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 4

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LeDoux, Joseph. Anxious: Using the Brain To Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety. Viking. Jul. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780670015337. $27.95. PSYCHOLOGY Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University, where he is a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology, LeDoux is on the cutting edge in the […]

Five Don’t-Miss Fiction Debuts | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 2

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Kirman, Robin. Bradstreet Gate. Crown. Jul. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780804139311. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780804139328. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. PSYCHOLOGICAL Kirman may have a BA in philosophy from Yale College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, but she sets her first novel at Harvard, where a senior’s murder profoundly affects Georgia, Charlie, and Alice—three students […]

From Spain’s Golden Age to the Billion-Dollar Spy | History Previews, Jul. 2015, Pt. 1

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Dickey, Christopher. Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South. Crown. Jul. 2015. 368p. ISBN 9780307887276. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780307887290. HISTORY As the Civil War commenced, the Confederacy desperately wanted recognition from Great Britain. But that country opposed the slave trade, which the Southern states needed reopened to maintain their economy. […]