The Middle East | Nonfiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 2


Hamid, Shadi. Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the Middle East. St. Martin’s. May 2016. 256p. ISBN 9781250061010. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466866720. POLITICAL SCIENCE The caliphate has always been Islam’s dominant form of governance, and since the Ottoman Caliphate was abolished in 1924, there has been a continuing struggle for some kind […]

Jo Baker, Haigh, Montefiore, Mukherjee, & More | Barbara’s Picks, May 2016, Pt. 2


Baker, Jo. A Country Road, a Tree. Knopf. May 2016. 304p. ISBN 9781101947180. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101947197. lrg. prnt. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Having taken us downstairs with the Bennet family servants in Longbourn, both a LibraryReads and a Discover Great New Writers pick and a New York Times Notable Book, Baker reimagines the […]

O’Nan in Jerusalem, a Newly Discovered Tolkien, Abu-Jaber’s New Memoir, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3


Abu-Jaber, Diana. Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family. Norton. Apr. 2016. 256p. ISBN 9780393249095. $26.95. MEMOIR Abu-Jaber, a fiction writer known for sparkling award winners like Crescent, has also given us the luscious memoir The Language of Baklava. Here she continues wrapping her discussion of love and identity in the sweet […]

Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Business | Social Science Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 4


Bates, Laura. Everyday Sexism. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 384p. ISBN 9781250067937. $25. 99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876668. SOCIAL SCIENCE/FEMINISM On April 16, 2015, Bates’s blog, The Everyday Sexism Project, enjoyed its third anniversary and scored big as the No. 1 trending topic that day on Twitter. Bates started the blog in 2012 after she […]

A Nina Simone Biography, Actors’ Memoirs, and Viertel on the American Musical Theater | Performing Arts Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2


Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist. Blue Rider. Feb. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399173592. $24.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking, here’s another memoir from the erstwhile Princess Leia, just in time for the release of the latest Star Wars sequel. Not a full-length narrative arc but interconnected autobiographical essays; note […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]

Ginsberg, Macdonald, Seidel, Young | Barbara’s Poetry Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Ginsberg, Allen. Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems. Grove. Feb. 2016. 464p. ed. by Bill Morgan. ISBN 9780802124531. $22. POETRY “Rainy night on Union Square, full moon. Want more poems? Wait till I’m dead.” So proclaimed Allen Ginsberg at 3:30 in the morning on August 8, 1990. And now, nearly 20 years after his death, in […]

Six Award-Winning Novelists, from Peter Behrens to John Wray| Fiction Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1


Behrens, Peter. Carry Me. Pantheon. Feb. 2016. 464p. ISBN 9781101870495. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101870518. LITERARY/HISTORICAL The author of The Law of Dreams, which received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2006, and 2012’s The O’Briens, ravishingly reviewed here, returns with another significant historical saga. Set in Europe between the world wars, it is […]

Editors’ Picks | Day of Dialog 2015

City on Fire

From a double biography of two of the 20th century’s most famous women (Karin Wieland’s Dietrich & Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives, Liveright: Norton, Oct.) to an ambitious 900-page debut novel set in 1970s New York City (Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire, Knopf, Oct.), many of the key forthcoming fall […]

Key Poets To Discover and Rediscover, Including Juan Felipe Herrera | Poetry Previews, Fall 2015


Equi, Elaine. Sentences and Rain. Coffee House. Oct. 2015. 100p. ISBN 9781566894210. pap. $16.95. POETRY Sharp-eyed, witty, and ever able to nail the mood or idea in distilled language—“A slight implies/ if not an insult/ (real or imagined)/ at least something/ unpleasant—/a slight cold,/ a slight headache”—Equi here ranges across the contemporary landscape, from clones […]