Ten Big Breakout Authors | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 3

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Bradford, Arthur. Turtleface and Beyond: Stories. Farrar. Feb. 2015. 208p. ISBN 9780802123190. $25; ebk.ISBN 9780374712846. SHORT STORIES An O. Henry Award–winning writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker whose work has appeared in places like Esquire and McSweeny’s, Bradford has good connections that are making this book buzz. The stories are funny in a dark and wicked sort […]

Six Essential Debuts, from Quan Barry to M.O. Walsh | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2015, Pt. 1

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Barry, Quan. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born. Pantheon. Feb. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9780307911773. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307911780. LITERARY Barry writes quietly fervent poetry that’s been honored with an AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize, which bodes well for her first foray into fiction. Heroine Rabbit is born along the Song Ma River as the Vietnam […]

Award-Winning Novelists from Rachel Cusk to Yu Hua | Fiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 3

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Crummey, Michael. Sweetland. Liveright: Norton. Jan. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780871407900. $24.95. LITERARY Winner of the Commonwealth Prize for Canada for his most recent work, Galore, Crummey sets his new work on an isolated Canadian island—so isolated, in fact, that the government has offered to resettle folks from the island’s one town, the ever-diminishing Sweetland, provided […]

Memoirs from Jessie Close, Gail Godwin, Jay Williams, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2015, Pt. 1

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Close, Jessie with Peter Earley. Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness. Grand Central. Jan. 2015. 288p. ISBN 9781455548828. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781455548811. lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455579495. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR Sister of the celebrated actress Glenn Close, who offers running commentary and an epilog, Close suffers from severe bipolar disorder—an illness running […]

Karen Armstrong, Richard Ford, Ha Jin, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2014, Pt. 1

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Armstrong, Karen. Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence. Knopf. Nov. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9780307957047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780385353106. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. HISTORY A best-selling author of insightful books on religion and winner of the 2008 TED Prize, which facilitated her work with TED on the Charter for Compassion, Armstrong here goes beyond […]

Makos on Korean War Heroism, Moynahan on the Siege of Leningrad, Panetta on Government, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Prepub Alert, Oct. 2014, Pt. 5

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Kaplan, Eric. Does Santa Exist?: A Philosophical Investigation. Dutton. Oct. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780525954392. $20. PHILOSOPHY Candidate for a PhD in philosophy at Berkeley, as well as co-executive producer of and writer for the hit TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Kaplan has the tools to make accessible some big philosophical questions: how are our […]

Controversy with Emmanuel Carrère’s Limonov & Linda Tirado’s Hand to Mouth | Nonfiction Previews, Oct. 2014, Pt. 4

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Carrère, Emmanuel. Limonov: The Outrageous Adventures of the Radical Soviet Poet Who Became a Bum in New York, a Sensation in France, and a Political Antihero in Russia. Farrar. Oct. 2014. 352p. tr. from French by John Lambert. ISBN 9780374192013. $28. BIOGRAPHY Controversial politician and writer on the edge, Limonov produced attention-getting poetry in the […]

Marlon James, Marilynne Robinson, Jane Smiley, Colm Tóibín | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Oct. 2014, Pt. 1

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James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings. Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 560p. ISBN 9781594486005. $28.95. LITERARY In his novels, Jamaican-born James centers on his homeland while giving larger scope to the African diaspora in caustically beautiful language. John Crow’s Devil, featuring two battling  preachers, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Art […]

Literary Gems (e.g., Nancy Huston, Brian Morton) and Some Major Debuts | Fiction Previews, Sept. 2014, Pt. 5

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Adcock, Siobhan. The Barter. Dutton. Sept. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780525954224. $26.95. LITERARY In present-day Texas, Bridget feels a certain emptiness after giving up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter—and a certain anxiousness because she alone senses that an alien presence has entered the house. A century before, a bride from the city […]

Ackerman, Carr, Darnton, Fukuyama, Kissinger | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Sept. 2014, Pt. 3

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Ackerman, Diane. The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us. Norton. Sept. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9780393240740. $27.95. SCIENCE Humans now dominate 75 percent of the landmass, and our technological prowess allows us to gift orangutans with iPads and collect DNA samples even as species are killed off. As distinguished naturalist and poet Ackerman notes, “Our […]

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