War, Immigration, & Top-Flight Fiction | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2018

Abouzeid, Rania. No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria. Norton. Mar. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780393609493. $26.95. CURRENT EVENTS/MIDDLE EAST For her in-depth coverage of the Middle East, Beirut-based Abouzeid has earned numerous honors, from the George Polk Award to the European Commission’s Anna Lindh Journalist Foundation Award. Here she gives a history […]

Paris to Palestine to America | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2017, Pt. 4

Begley, Adam. The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera. Tim Duggan: Hogarth. Jul. 2017. 256p. ISBN 9781101902608. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781101902615. HISTORY Former books editor of the New York Observer, Begley offers the portrait of an artist as both celebrity and entrepreneur. Nadar was famed for iconic photographs of folks like Manet and Sarah […]

Librarians, the West Bank, Anxiety, Segregated America | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2017, Pt. 4

Cassidy, Kyle & Ronald Rice, ed. This Is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information. Black Dog and Leventhal: Hachette. May 2017. 240p. ISBN 9780316393980. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316393997. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316464260. LIBRARY & INFORMATION SCIENCE In 2014, author/photographer Cassidy published a photo essay on Slate called […]

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

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 Vietnam War to LGBT Rights | History & Current Events Previews, Apr. 2015, Pt. 2

Blehm, Eric. Legend: A Harrowing Story from the Vietnam War of One Green Beret’s Heroic Mission to Rescue a Special Forces Team Caught Behind Enemy Lines. Crown. Apr. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780804139519. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780804139526. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. BIOGRAPHY/MILITARY In 2012’s Fearless, Blehm chronicled SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown’s moment of supreme sacrifice […]

ISIS: The State of Terror, plus T.C. Boyle, Abigail Thomas, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Mar. 2015, Pt. 3

Stern, Jessica & J.M. Berger. Isis: The State of Terror. Ecco. Jan. 2015. NAp. ISBN 9780062395542. $25.99. CURRENT EVENTS Our head-on engagement with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) requires some fast and furious background reading, and here it is: Ecco has just announced that on January 27, 2015, it will release a […]

Leon & Shipstead in Fiction, Caldwell & Ehrenreich in Nonfiction | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

Caldwell, Gail. New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir. Random. Apr. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9781400069545. $22; ebk. ISBN 9780679604426. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR Highly regarded when she served as chief book critic for the Boston Globe—she won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism—Caldwell has since made her mark with the thoughtful and beautifully wrought memoirs Let’s Take […]

American Fun, SAT Prep, & the Financial Divide | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

Beckman, John. American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307908179. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307908186. SOCIAL HISTORY Author of the debut novel The Winter Zoo, a New York Times Notable Book, Beckman challenges our understanding of American Puritanism by showing that we’ve been an essentially prankish, fun-loving nation. Colonists reveled wildly, […]

Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2013, Pt. 4: Capturing the Kommandant of Auschwitz and Playing Chopin During the Revolution

Bacon, John U. Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football. S. & S. Sept. 2013. 336p. ISBN 9781476706436. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476706443. SPORTS College football is currently beset with scandal and sanctions, so one can be forgiven for expecting this report from Bacon to be a downer. And, indeed, drawing on […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jul. 2013, Pt. 4: Bass, Bohjalian, Dunant, Housh, Mankell, Rakoff, Sapienza

Bass, Rick. All the Land to Hold Us. Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780547687124. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780547687438. LITERARY FICTION It’s not surprising that exemplary nature writer Bass’s fourth novel, set in Texas, features salt miners and oil and gas wildcatters. But you’ll also meet Baptists, high school football players, a local beauty, a […]