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

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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, […]

Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: Chiavareni, Cornwell, Johnson, Jungersen, & Sansom, plus Poetry of Witness

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Chiaverini, Jennifer. Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival. Dutton. Jan. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780525954286. $26.95. HISTORICAL Having demonstrated her talent for revivifying real-life women from the Civil War era with Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and The Spymistress, Chiaverini introduces us to Kate Chase Sprague, who helped her much-widowed father get established as secretary of the Treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s […]

Nonfiction, Nov. 2013, Pt. 3: A Dozen Arts Titles, from Mozart to Norman Rockwell to the Spider-man Musical

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Berger, Glen. The Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History. S. & S. Nov. 2013. NAp. ISBN 9781451684568. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451684582. MUSICALS Chosen by Julie Taymor to collaborate on the book of the Spider-man musical, Emmy Award–winning television and theater writer Berger saw the entire musical unfold […]

Fiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 3: The Supernatural; Donaldson Says Good-Bye to Thomas Covenant

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Dalglish, David. A Dance of Cloaks. Orbit: Hachette. Oct. 2013. 480p. ISBN 9780316242394. pap. $16. FANTASY The self-published Dalglish, who’s made a mint as author of four series set in the world of Dezrel, leaps to big-time traditional publishing with this dark and moody work, part of the “Shadowdance” trilogy. Son and heir apparent of […]

Fiction Previews, Oct. 2013, Pt. 2: Top Commercial Fiction, Including Christmas Stories from Andrews, Macomber, & Thayer

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Andrews, Mary Kay. Christmas Bliss. St. Martin’s. Oct. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781250019721. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250019738. CD: Macmillan Audio. CHRISTMAS FICTION New York Times best-selling author Andrews draws characters from her three popular Savannah novels—Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze, and Blue Christmas—to craft a blissful Christmas novella. As the holidays loom, so does antiques dealer Weezie […]

Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2013, Pt. 2: Fiction from Kelley Armstrong to Paul Yoon

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Armstrong, Kelley. Omens: A Cainsville Novel. Dutton. Aug. 2013. 416p. ISBN 9780525953043. $26.95. FANTASY In this launch of a new series from the author of the hugely popular “Otherworld” books, wealthy, 24-year-old Ivy Leaguer Olivia Taylor Jones is happily engaged when she discovers that she is adopted—and that her biological parents are serial killers imprisoned […]

Fiction Previews, Feb. 2013, Pt. 2: Top Commercial Fiction from Cain, Garwood, and More

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Billingham, Mark. The Dying Hours. Mysterious Pr: Grove Atlantic. Aug. 2013. 400p. ISBN 9780802121486. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780802193285. THRILLER Tom Thorne, no longer a detective but back in uniform owing to his headstrong ways, doubts that several deaths among London’s elderly are suicides, as they have been classified. As he investigates, he must go it […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2013, Pt. 1: Caputo, Koppel, Mead, Meyer, Robinson

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Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to Deadhorse. Holt. Jun. 2013. 520p. ISBN 9780805094466. $28; eISBN 9780805096965. MEMOIR What connects the mainly Inupiat children on snow-swept Barter Island off Alaska’s Arctic coast and the children of Cuban immigrants on Key West? As Caputo realized while visiting Barter Island […]

Nonfiction Previews, May 2013, Pt. 1: Two Big Books on Fox News

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Muto, Joe. An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal’s Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media. Dutton. May 2013. 336p. ISBN 9780525953951. $26.95. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. JOURNALISM Muto calls himself a godless, bleeding-heart liberal, but, hey, he needed a job, so he signed on at Fox, the biggest cable news channel in America […]

Fiction Previews, May 2013, Pt. 1: 17 Thrillers, from Adler-Olsen to Trussoni

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Adler-Olsen, Jussi. A Conspiracy of Faith: A Department Q Novel. Dutton. May 2013. 384p. ISBN 9780525954002. $26.95. CD/Downloadable: Penguin Audio. THRILLER Denmark’s top crime writer and the author of several New York Times best sellers, Adler-Olsen gives the message-in-a-bottle plot a new twist. This message, written in blood by two young brothers imprisoned in a […]

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