Mendelsohn’s Odyssey, Ward/Burns on Vietnam, & More | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2017

Blum, Ben. Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime. Doubleday. Sept. 2017. 432p. ISBN 9780385538435. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538442. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR Why would an upright young man, determined to become a U.S. Army Ranger, join with two fellow soldiers and two strangers the day before his deployment to Iraq […]

Biography, Freud, & Flood | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Aug. 2017

Atlas, James. The Shadow in the Garden: A Biographer’s Tale. Pantheon. Aug. 2017. 416p. ISBN 9781101871690. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101871706. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/LITERARY Atlas is a publishing-world fixture, having founded Atlas Books and the “Lipper/Viking Penguin Lives” series and been a staff writer, contributor, or editor for publications from Time to the New York […]

Kenyon, Wilson, & a War of the Worlds Sequel | Pop Fiction Previews, Aug. 2017

Baxter, Stephen. The Massacre of Mankind. Crown. Aug. 2017. 480p. ISBN 9781524760120. $27. SF Winner of the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, Baxter does something daring: he offers a sequel to H.G. Wells’s iconic The War of the Worlds, featuring Wells’s narrator, Walter Jenkins. Fourteen years after the last invasion, humans complacently […]

Top Debut Novels | Fiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 2

Alyan, Hala. Salt Houses. Houghton Harcourt. May 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780544912588. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780544912380. LITERARY/SAGA This embracing and salt-sharp tale by Palestinian American poet and clinical psychologist Alyan magnifies the problem of displacement in the Middle East by chronicling the fate of one family continually uprooted after the Six-Day War of 1967. After her […]

War, Islam, & Evangelicals | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 2

Bellaigue, Christopher de. The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 to Modern Times. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2017. 560p. ISBN 9780871403735. $35. HISTORY Many Westerners see Islam as behind the times, having failed to experience Europe’s Enlightenment. But Bellaigue, an authority on Islam and the Middle East who speaks Turkish, Persian, and Arabic […]

Building Better Bodies, Protecting Data, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 4

Buting, Jerome F. Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System. Harper. Feb. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9780062569318. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062569332. TRUE CRIME The criminal defense lawyer for Steven Avery in the Teresa Halbach murder trial, chronicled in the headlines-making Netflix original documentary series, Making a Murderer, Buting uses that case and […]

Inkblots, Depression, Relationships, & More | Psychology Previews, Feb. 2017, Pt. 3

Bennett, Michael, M.D. F*ck Love: One Shrink’s Sensible Advice for Finding a Lasting Relationship. Touchstone. Feb. 2017. 384p. ISBN 9781501140563. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501140570. INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS A board-certified psychiatrist educated at Harvard Medical School, Bennett had a New York Times best-selling hit with his first book, the cheerfully in-your-face F*ck Feelings. Here he recommends ditching […]

From Aciman to Coretta Scott King | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

Aciman, André. Enigma Variations. Farrar. Jan. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780374148430. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374714772. LITERARY FICTION Aciman made his name with the memoir Out of Egypt and came forth as a novelist with 2007’s Let Me Call Your Name, a New York Times Notable Book that won numerous other honors; 2013’s Harvard Square got raves. […]

Pop Fiction from Kelley Armstrong to Stuart Woods | Fiction Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 4

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 […]

From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]