Doyle, Figes, McCracken, Simpson, Vaill, Wilson | Barbara’s Picks, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Doyle, Brian. The Plover. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781250034779. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250034786. LITERARY FICTION Editor of Portland Magazine, Doyle has written 13 books of fiction, poetry, and essays but came to my attention only with the original and wittily lyrical 2010 novel Mink River—which actually caught the attention of plenty […]

Top Literary Fiction from Tomorrow’s Household Names | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 2

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Bacharach, Jacob. The Bend of the World. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780871406828. $25.95. LITERARY No quite 30 and drifting amiably along in Pittsburgh, Peter Morrison suddenly finds himself drawn to the somewhat ominous couple Mark and Helen while also tolerating addicted friend Johnny’s obsession with conspiracy theories—except that people really are spotting UFOs. […]

Carla Buckley, Sophie Hannah, Mai Jia, B.J. Novak, & More | Fiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 4

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Adrian, Lara. Crave the Night: A Midnight Breed Novel. Delacorte. Feb. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9780345532633. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780345532640. Downloadable: Random Audio. PARANORMAL ROMANCE Edge of Dawn, latest in a hugely popular series that broke into hardcover last year, pushed up Adrian’s Midnight Breed story by 20 years. Continuing in that time frame, this volume […]

History from Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte to Kennan’s Diaries | Nonfiction Previews, Feb. 2014, Pt. 3

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Berkin, Carol. Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte. Knopf. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307592781. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385351621. BIOGRAPHY How many readers know that Napoleon’s youngest brother, Jerome, married a Baltimore beauty named Elizabeth Patterson, which so angered Napoleon that he insisted Jerome renounce her or lose all his powers? As […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Feb. 2014, Pt. 1: Four Essential Literature Titles, Including Susan Cheever on e.e. cummings

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Cheever, Susan. E.E. Cummings: A Life. Pantheon. Feb. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780307379979. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307908674. LITERATURE Though Edmund Wilson called his poetry hideous, Malcolm Cowley proclaimed e.e. cummings unsurpassed in his field, and when he died in 1962, he was the most read poet in this country after Robert Frost. There’s still plenty of […]

Nonfiction Previews, Jan. 2014, Pt. 5: History from the Tudors to Ariel Sharon

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Chappell, David L. Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr. Random. Jan. 2014. 400p. ISBN 9781400065462. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812994667. SOCIAL SCIENCE/AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, this revisionist work has […]

Barbara’s Picks, Jan. 2014, Pt. 4: Elisabeth de Waal, Alan Lightman, Gary Shteyngart, & More

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  de Waal, Elisabeth. The Exiles Return. Picador. Jan. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9781250045782. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250045799. LITERARY/HISTORICAL FICTION Like Irène Némirovsky and Hans Keilson, de Waal bore witness to the tragedy of World War II; as her grandson recounts in his best-selling The Hare with Amber Eyes, their Jewish banking family’s possessions were appropriated […]

Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2013, Pt. 3: Fiction from Albom, Baldacci, Banks, Child/Preston, Griffith, Hammett, Lynch, Miles, & Smith

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Albom, Mitch. The First Phone Call from Heaven. Harper: HarperCollins. Nov. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780062294371. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062294395. lrg. prnt. CD: HarperAudio. POP FICTION Phones are ringing off the hook in little Coldwater, MI, but the callers are all deceased, stirring emotions from joyous relief to uncertain fear as they report being happy in […]

Nonfiction, Nov. 2013, Pt. 3: A Dozen Arts Titles, from Mozart to Norman Rockwell to the Spider-man Musical

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Berger, Glen. The Song of Spider-Man: The Inside Story of the Most Controversial Musical in Broadway History. S. & S. Nov. 2013. NAp. ISBN 9781451684568. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451684582. MUSICALS Chosen by Julie Taymor to collaborate on the book of the Spider-man musical, Emmy Award–winning television and theater writer Berger saw the entire musical unfold […]

Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, Nov. 2013, Pt. 2: Jung Chang, Nora Ephron, Wil S. Hylton, Richard Kurin, Ann Patchett, Claudia Roth Pierpont

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Chang, Jung. Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China. Knopf. Nov. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780307271600. $30. BIOGRAPHY First a Red Guard, then the recipient of a doctoral degree in linguistics from England’s Bristol University, then the hugely best-selling author of Wild Swans and Mao, Jung Chang has a remarkable life story. And the […]

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