Ball, Forna, Frazier, Mayes, & Nesbø | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Mar./Apr. 2018

Ball, Jesse. Census. Ecco. Mar. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780062676139. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062676153. LITERARY A Granta Best of Young American Novelists, NYPL Young Lion, and Plimpton Prize winner whose A Cure for Suicide was long-listed for the National Book Award, Ball gets a chance to break out with this affecting story, already getting in-house raves. […]

Banville, Mamet, Zadie Smith, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Feb. 2018

Banville, John. Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir. Knopf. Feb. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9781524732837. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732844. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/TRAVEL Not just a memoir, this new work by Man Booker Prize winner Banville recounts his relationship with Dublin, a significant force in his life if not in his fiction until the Quirke mystery series […]

Short Fiction to Debut Novel | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Jan. 2018

MacArthur, Robin. Heart Spring Mountain. Ecco. Jan. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780062444424. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062444455. LITERARY Winner of the PEN New England Book Award for Fiction, MacArthur’s Half Wild offered stories both complex and polished about women from the backwoods who want up and out. Her debut novel draws on the same milieu, featuring New […]

The Second Time Around | Day of Dialog 2017

Five authors discuss the ups and downs of writing a second novel.

Allende, Keneally, Sontag, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Nov. 2017

Allende, Isabel. In the Midst of Winter. Atria. Nov. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9781501178139. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781501178153. CD: S. & S. Audio. LITERARY When the personal shades into the political, Allende is there. Her latest novel features 60-year-old human rights scholar Richard Bowmaster, who feels he’s hit the end of the road—and one snow-blown Brooklyn […]

Ford, Murakami, Shreve, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2017, Pt. 2

Bouman, Tom. Darling Cory: A Henry Farrell Novel. Norton. May 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780393249644. $NA. MYSTERY Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, as well as LibraryReads honors and a John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, Bouman’s Dry Bones in the Valley featured a rural […]

Four Essential Thrillers | Fiction Previews, May 2017, Pt. 1

Crichton, Michael. Dragon Teeth. Harper. May 2017. 320p. ISBN 9780062473356. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062473370. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio. THRILLER Set in 1876, at the height of the Bone Wars—the frantic competition by paleontologists to find the very best preserved dinosaur fossils—this newly discovered novel should cheer up fans of Crichton, who died in 2008. To […]

Literature, Music, TV | Arts Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

Bloom, Harold. Falstaff: Give Me Life. Scribner. Apr. 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781501164132. $22; ebk. ISBN 9781501164156. LITERATURE Distinguished critic Bloom, known especially for his Shakespeare scholarship, shows us why Falstaff—central to the three Henry plays—is considered Shakespeare’s greatest comic character. As Bloom explains, readers experience Falstaff differently as they move through life, which clarifies how […]

Last of the April 2017 Nonfiction | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2017, Pt. 4

Drezner, Daniel. The Ideas Industry. Oxford Univ. Apr. 2017. 344p. ISBN 9780190264604. $27.95. SOCIAL SCIENCE Professor of International Politics at Tufts University and author of such books as The System Worked, Drezner examines the uncomfortable evolution of the public intellectual, once someone who debated issues in an open forum and now more likely someone with […]

Two Big Fiction Debuts, Gaitskill, Lamott, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2017, Pt. 3

El Akkad, Omar. American War. Knopf. Apr. 2017. 336p. ISBN 9780451493583. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780451493590. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/DYSTOPIAN FICTION Having reported on key issues from the war in Afghanistan to the Black Lives Matter movement, Egyptian-born, Canadian-based journalist El Akkad not surprisingly offers a debut novel shaped by current events while pointing […]