Queen Victoria, Pixar, Space Travel, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Alvarez, Walter. A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves. Norton. Nov. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780393292695. $26.95. SCIENCE/COSMOLOGY If you’re familiar with the “Impact Theory,” which blames dinosaur extinction on a crash-landed asteroid, then you’re familiar with Berkeley geologist Alvarez; he originated the idea. Here he argues that Big History, which […]

Harlan Coben, James Patterson, Anne Perry, & More | Pop Fiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 4

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Coben, Harlan. Home. Dutton. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780525955108. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698411449. THRILLER Two boys from golden-glazed families are kidnapped and never heard from again—until ten years later, when Myron Bolitar and friend Win apparently find one of them. What can the rescued teenager say about the intervening years and the fate of his […]

Anderson/Rovin, Jennifer Chiaverini, J.A. Jance, Karin Slaughter | Essential Pop Fiction, Sept. 2016, Pt. 1

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Anderson, Gillian & Jeff Rovin. The Sound of Seas. (The EarthEnd Saga, Bk. 3). Simon451: S. & S. 320p. ISBN 9781476776590. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476776613. SF Having proven herself as a writer with her well-received “EarthEnd Saga” series, written with New York Times best-selling author Rovin, award-winning actress Anderson wraps up the series with some […]

A Celebrity Friendship, a Musician as Healer, & More | Biography/Memoir Previews, Aug. 2016, Pt. 1

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Achon, Julius & John Brant. The Boy Who Runs: The Odyssey of Julius Achon. Ballantine. Aug. 2016. 272p. ISBN 9780553392159. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780553392166. Downloadable: Random Audio.  BIOGRAPHY Born into poverty in Uganda, Achon was forced into the horrific Lord’s Resistance Army at age 12 but escaped to become a gifted local runner. He was […]

The Idiot Brain, Fashion Photography, the Microbiome, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jul. 2016, Pt. 3

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Burnett, Dean. Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To. Norton. Jul. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780393253788. $26.95. COGNITIVE SCIENCE Ever popular, books about the brain typically extol its wonders, but Burnett lets us in on all the weird things it does, ranging from blackouts to insomnia, and all the mistakes we’ve made in trying […]

Sean Carroll, Janine di Giovanni, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Nathaniel Philbrick | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Carroll, Sean. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780525954828. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698409767. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SCIENCE A theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, Carroll won the Royal Society Winton Prize for The Particle at the End of the Universe, his […]

America at War, from the 1800s to Afghanistan | Nonfiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Borneman, Walter R. MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific. Little, Brown. May 2016. 608p. ISBN 9780316405324. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316405317. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316405300. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORY A best-selling author of books like The Admirals, which has over 75,000 copies in print, Borneman does not offer a biography of Gen. Douglas […]

Five Essential Thrillers | Fiction Previews, Dec. 2015, Pt. 2

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Greaney, Mark. Tom Clancy Commander-in-Chief. Putnam. Dec. 2015. 688p. ISBN 9780399176760. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698410619. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. SUSPENSE Coauthor of three No. 1 best sellers with Tom Clancy and sole author of the No. 1 best seller Tom Clancy Full Force and Effect, Greaney gives Jack Ryan more headaches in this latest thriller. Actually, […]

Editors’ Picks | Day of Dialog 2015

City on Fire

From a double biography of two of the 20th century’s most famous women (Karin Wieland’s Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives, Liveright: Norton, Oct.) to an ambitious 900-page debut novel set in 1970s New York City (Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire, Knopf, Oct.), many of the key forthcoming fall […]

Eight Essential Memoirs from Barrymore, Cisneros, Fraser, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2015, Pt. 4

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Barrymore, Drew. Wildflower. Dutton. Oct. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781101983799. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101983805. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR While 1990’s Little Girl Lost details Barrymore’s drug and alcohol abuse as a very young actress, this book covers the durable actress’s life since age 14, when she found herself living on her own. How it’s all come […]