From Aciman to Coretta Scott King | Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2017, Pt. 3

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Aciman, André. Enigma Variations. Farrar. Jan. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9780374148430. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374714772. LITERARY FICTION Aciman made his name with the memoir Out of Egypt and came forth as a novelist with 2007’s Let Me Call Your Name, a New York Times Notable Book that won numerous other honors; 2013’s Harvard Square got raves. […]

Octopuses, Evolution, and the Roosevelts | Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2016, Pt. 3

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Godfrey-Smith, Peter. Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness. Farrar. Dec. 2016. 288p. ISBN 9780374227760. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374712808. SCIENCE A professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and of history and the philosophy of science at the University of Sydney, Godfrey-Smith is also a […]

Thomas Friedman, Robert Littell, Amos Oz | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2016, Pt. 4

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Friedman, Thomas L. Thank You for Being Late: Finding a Job, Running a Country, and Keeping Your Head in an Age of Accelerations. Farrar. Nov. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780374273538. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374715144. CD: Macmillan Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE Our world is accelerating in exciting and dangerous ways, with technology allowing for self-driving cars and Wifi-enhanced […]

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 […]

Atwood, Hajdu, Semple, & Zink | Barbara’s Picks, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Atwood, Margaret. Hag-Seed. Hogarth: Crown. (Hogarth Shakespeare.) Oct. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780804141291. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780804141307. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY FICTION Now that Jeanette Winterson, Howard Jacobson, and Anne Tyler have all had a go at contemporizing Shakespeare via the “Hogarth Shakespeare” series (purveyed by Penguin Random House companies in eight countries, with rights sold […]

From De Quincey to Abramovic to the Beatles | Arts Previews, Oct. 2016, Pt. 3

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Abramovic, Marina. Walk Through Walls: Becoming Marina Abramovic. Crown Archetype. Oct. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101905043. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781101905050. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. ART/MEMOIR Preeminent performance artist Abramovic has been stripped, burned, and cut and has sat with a loaded gun to her head or simply sat for hours—all in the name of an art that […]

Literary Glitter from Kleeman, Livesey, Towles, & More | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2016, Pt. 3

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Altrad, Mohed. Badawi. Black Cat: Grove Atlantic. Sept. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780802125798. pap. $16. LITERARY Drawing on his own life to craft this first novel, Syrian-born French billionaire Altrad relates the story of Maïouf, a Bedouin boy who resists familial pressure to become a shepherd after his mother dies, abandoned and repudiated. Instead, he sneaks […]

Alan Bradley, Robert Olen Butler, Emma Donoghue, James Gleick, Robert Gottlieb | Barbara’s Picks, Sept. 2016, Pt. 2

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Bradley, Alan. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Delacorte. Sept. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780345539960. $26. CD: Random Audio. MYSTERY Wickedly smart young Flavia de Luce launched her investigative career with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which proved its worth by winning the Agatha, Macavity, Barry, Dilys, Arthur […]

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

idiotbrain

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 […]

From Palestine to the Supreme Court to Diane Arbus | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Jun. 2016, Pt. 4

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Ehrenreich, Ben. The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. Penguin Pr. Jun. 2016. 448p. ISBN 9781594205903. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698148192. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. POLITICAL SCIENCE A National Magazine Award winner, Ehrenreich spent time over the last three years living with several Palestinian families in the West Bank; his reporting on what he […]