Jill Lepore, Azar Nafisi, Simon Schama, Edward O. Wilson | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 3

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Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Knopf. Oct. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9780385354042. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385354059. HISTORY A Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer who’s a Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist, Lepore offers some surprising history here. She tells the story of the creation of Wonder Woman, […]

Richard Blanco, Charles M. Blow, John Lahr, Brian Turner, Sheila Weller | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 4

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Blanco, Richard. Untitled Memoir. Ecco. Sept. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780062313768. $25.99. MEMOIR Blanco has won Agnes Starrett, Tom Gunn, Patterson, and PEN/American Beyond Margins honors for his poetry. What’s more, he was appointed the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and openly gay poet to receive that […]

Sophie Hannah Does Agatha Christie, Gail Sheehy Revisits Her Own Passages, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 1

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Hannah, Sophie. The New Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Mystery. Morrow. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780062297211. $25.99. CD: HarperAudio. MYSTERY Because only Shakespeare and the Bible outsell Agatha Christie, internationally best-selling  author Hannah must have been thrilled when the Christie estate authorized her writing a new Christie mystery—the first time it has ever done so. Given […]

Key Summer Titles | Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers

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It may be snowing in New York City as I write, but the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program is already announcing its top summer picks. Pay attention, because this program is excellent at spotting worthy and big-breaking books. The titles most likely to make tracks, maybe to some best sellers lists, include […]

The ALA Midwinter Galley Chase | The Final Analysis

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In galley or book form, hundreds of titles were there for the taking on the floor of the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference, and tracking what went fastest says a lot about what people are interested in reading today. The escapist pleasures of a good thriller still attract, and the hottest hotcakes of the genre […]

Damien Echols, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, Lisa See, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 1

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Allen, Danielle. Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Liveright: Norton. Jun. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780871406903. $27.95. HISTORY A political philosopher who looms large in the scholarly community (she is a professor of social science at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton and on the board of the […]

Debuts with Buzz, from British Playwright Paull, 5 Under 35 Honoree Johnston, & More | Fiction Previews, May 2014, Pt. 4

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Gay, Roxane. An Untamed State. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. May 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780802122513. pap. $16. LITERARY A multiple Pushcart nominee with work in Best American Short Stories 2012, Gay has a built-in readership anticipating this work. Mireille Duval Johnson, youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest men, lives contentedly with her husband and son […]

Cunningham, Doerr, Hemmings, Kendal, Levitt/Dubner, McCullough Jr. | Barbara’s Picks, May 2014, Pt. 2

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Cunningham, Michael. The Snow Queen. Farrar. May 2014. 272p. ISBN 9780374266325. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374710347. CD: Macmillan Audio. LITERARY FICTION Lovelorn yet again, Barrett Meeks looks to the sky as he wanders through New York’s Central Park and is transfixed by a luminous white light that beams down on him angelically, inducing a religious conversion […]

History, from America’s First War Correspondents to the Trial of a Khmer Rouge Prison Officer | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 1

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Brown, Frederick. The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914–1940. Knopf. Apr. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780307595157. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351638. HISTORY Ah, France, home of the Enlightenment, where art, reason, and humanist tradition reign. In fact, Brown, a distinguished cultural historian (e.g., Flaubert, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist) here shows how these ideals collapsed in […]

Histories of Paris & World War II, Biographies of Begin & Chavez | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2014, Pt. 1

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DeJean, Joan. How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City. Bloomsbury USA. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781608195916. $28. HISTORY Everyone thinks of Paris as being remade in the 19th century under the direction of Baron Haussmann, but DeJean argues that its real rebirth occurred as it emerged from the medieval past in the […]

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