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 […]

Hampton Sides on Arctic Catastrophe, Paul Ryan on His Political Vision, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Aug. 2014, Pt. 3

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Dolnick, Edward. The Rush: America’s Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848–1855. Little, Brown. Aug. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780316175685. $28. Downloadable: Hachette Audio. HISTORY As the Edgar Award–winning author of The Rescue Artist and a former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, Dolnick has intriguing credentials for writing this study of the Gold Rush, which tracks […]

Andrew Cuomo, the Mona Lisa, & Fashion Kings Alexander McQueen & John Galliano | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Aug. 2014, Pt. 2

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Cuomo, Andrew. All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life. Harper. Aug. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780062300089. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062300096. POD: Harper Audio. MEMOIR Cuomo isn’t just the 56th governor of New York, as well as a former New York attorney general and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He’s also the […]

From Sally Beauman & Robert Hellenga to Jude Deveraux & Danielle Steel | Fiction Previews, Jul. 2014, Pt. 2

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Beauman, Sally. The Visitors. Harper. Jul. 2014. 544p. ISBN 9780062302687. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062302717. LITERARY/HISTORICAL This isn’t simply the story of the friendship between delicate Lucy, sent from England to recover from typhus in sun-glazed Egypt, and a girl she meets there, the daughter of an American archaeologist. It’s also the story of the hunt […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jun. 2014, Pt. 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Alan Furst, Sue Miller, & More

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Betts, Dwayne. The Circumference of a Prison: Youth, Race, and the Failures of the American Justice System. Avery. Jun. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781583334751. $27. LAW A distinguished poet, Yale law student, and NAACP Image award winner, Betts received a Soros Justice Fellowship to support the writing of this book, which addresses the inequities of a […]

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