Fiction Previews, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: 12 Crucial Titles, from Hot International Fiction (Drndic, Yu Hua) to Works by American Prize Winners (Greenway, Martin) to Upscale Thrillers (Billingham, Dolan)

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  Billingham, Mark. From the Dead. Atlantic Monthly. Jan. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780802122131. $25. THRILLER A top-selling UK crime writer (and, surprisingly, a former stand-up comic who proved how funny he can still be at Grove Atlantic’s ALA dinner), Billingham is making a name for himself here—with the help of his publisher, which has signed […]

Fiction Previews, December 2013, Pt. 1: Big Commercial Fiction from Connelly to Weldon

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Connelly, Michael. The Gods of Guilt. Little, Brown. Dec. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780316069519. $28. CD: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Defense attorney Mickey Haller is back with a new case—the murder of a prostitute whom he thought he had saved from a life on the streets. Now he learns that he may have instead endangered her and […]

Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2013, Pt. 5: Wrapping Up a Huge Month with Malcolm Gladwell, Malala Yousafzai, & More

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Chen Guangcheng. Untitled Memoir. Times: Holt. Oct. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9780805098051. $28. MEMOIR Chen has been named a 2012 Brave Thinker, 2012 Rebel of the Year, and 2012 Global Thinker by the Atlantic, GQ, and Foreign Policy, respectively. And no wonder. Blinded by illness in infancy and illiterate until his teens, Chen taught himself law […]

Fiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 5: Lots of Action from Lisa Scottoline, Anne Hillerman, & More

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Abrams, JJ & Doug Dorst. The Secret JJ Abrams Project. Mulholland: Little, Brown. Oct. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780316201643. $35. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. THRILLER Abrams has created, produced, written, and directed multiple Emmy– and Golden Globe Award–winning television series and films (yes, he’s helming the next Star Wars film), so it’s no surprise that he can […]

Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 4: English History, World War I, World War II, and a Thatcher Biography

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Ackroyd, Peter. Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin’s. Oct. 2013. 512p. ISBN 9781250003621. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781250037596. HISTORY Ackroyd, who is responsible for books like London: The Biography, offers the second in his “History of England” series. His skills as a novelist will doubtless come […]

Nonfiction Previews, Sept. 2013, the Last Roundup: From Mary Beard to Eileen Rockefeller

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Beard, Mary. Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations. Liveright: Norton. Sept. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780871407160. $28.95. HISTORY Described by the New York Times as “the closest thing, if it exists, to a celebrity classics professor” in a story about her having stood up to some naysayers who abused her on the Internet, Cambridge scholar […]

Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2013, Pt. 4: Atwood, Berg, Brook, Gurganus, Lethem, Rush, Shacochis, Vann

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Atwood, Margaret. Maddaddam. Doubleday. Sept. 2013. 416. ISBN 9780385528788. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385537834. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. DYSTOPIAN FICTION In this wrap-up to the magisterial trilogy begun with Oryx & Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood, the waterless flood has indeed descended, wiping out most of humanity. Ren and Toby have rescued poor […]

Fiction Previews, Sept. 2013, Pt. 4: Four Commercial Blockbusters from Brown, Gruber, Lindsay, & Sparks

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Brown, Sandra. Deadline. Grand Central. Sept. 2013. 300p. ISBN 9781455501519. $28. CD: Hachette Audio. SUSPENSE War-weary journalist Dawson Scott needs the distraction of the case dropped into his lap by an FBI contact; former U.S. Marine Jeremy Wesson, son of terrorists who have been on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for decades, is missing and […]

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

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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 […]

Fiction Previews, Jul. 2013, Pt. 4: Susan Choi, Matt Haig, Karin Slaughter, & More

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Adler, Elizabeth. Please Don’t Tell. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jul. 2013. 384p. ISBN 9781250019899. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250019905. WOMEN’S FICTION One stormy night on the California coast, elegant 58-year-old Fenny Dexter opens her door to a blood-soaked man claiming to have been in an accident. He departs after a cozy night (they feel a spark), and […]

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